At one time picked by People Magazine as one of their 50 most beautiful people, Roland Gift came dramatically to attention with the release of the first Fine Young Cannibals album. His high, soaring voice was immediately recognizable, his style being based both in classic soul singers and in modern techniques that provided him an edge. It was with the second FYC album four years later, however, that the band began to break internationally, with "She Drives Me Crazy" being heard everywhere, in movies, on television, on the radio.
Gift spent the earlier part of his life in Birmingham then Hull. He entered music first as a saxophonist with punk band Blue Kitchen, moving on from there to the Acrylic Victims, eventually joining Andy Cox and David Steel after the disintegration of the (English) Beat sent them in search of a vocalist.