Updated: Nov 23, 2021
Elliot John Gleave (born 20 June 1982), better known by his stage name Example, is an English musician, singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. His name arose due to his initials being E.G., which is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase exempli gratia ("for example").
Example first found success with the release of his second studio album, Won't Go Quietly, which peaked at number four on the UK Albums Chart and peaked at number one on the UK Dance Chart.and followed his debut album "What We Made" which was heavily hip-hop influenced due to Example only knowing a hip-hop record producer at the time.
The album had two top 10 singles, "Won't Go Quietly" and "Kickstarts". His third album Playing in the Shadows was released on 4 September 2011. The album topped the charts with two number one singles, "Changed the Way You Kiss Me" (produced by Michael Woods) and "Stay Awake" (produced by electronic duo Nero). His fourth album, The Evolution of Man was released on 19 November 2012 and peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart and also peaked at number one on the UK Dance Chart. Since The Evolution of Man, Example has released the lead single from his next album, entitled "All the Wrong Places", which was produced by Alfie Bamford and co-produced by Example and Steve Hill. It was the first song to be released through Epic Records and did so on 8 September 2013 peaking at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. Then, "Kids Again", was released on 16 March 2014 and hit number 13 in the UK Single's charts. The fifth album, Live Life Living, was released on 7 July 2014. As of 2014 he was the third most downloaded artist in the Dance Music category, after Cascada.
Elliot John Gleave was born on 20 June 1982 at West London Hospital in Hammersmith to Elaine (Johnston) and Michael Gleave. In a 2012 interview with The Guardian, he was stated to have Asperger syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. He said "I was diagnosed with Asperger's when I was younger. I was amazing with numbers, I had a photographic memory, and I hated reading fiction, preferring books on nature and history. All symptoms of mild autism."He referenced this in the opening track to his fourth album The Evolution of Man, “Come Taste the Rainbow”.
He has a younger sister, named Elise. He later went on to attend ADT College (now Ashcroft Technology Academy) in Putney. Example has claimed in interviews that the main reason he started rapping was due to his introduction to hip-hop through albums by Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg – the latter's album purchased primarily for "the cool cover art", and to the fact that he was not particularly good at any sports, so started rapping to fit in socially. His first experience of rapping was through a rap battle at a house party in Shepherd's Bush in 1994, when he was 12 years old. In that battle, he, in his own words, "completely destroyed a useless wanker and a fight broke out so (he) sprinted home".
Gleave went on to study BA Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, graduating in 2003. It was during this period that he met Joseph Gardner, AKA Rusher, the producer whom he would go on to work with during his time releasing tracks independently through his All The Chats imprint, and later on Mike Skinner's label The Beats. Gleave and Gardner made a concept album in the audio booth of the University film department; this concept album contained the track which would go on to be Example's first white-label vinyl release, "A Pointless Song." He returned to the UK and became a voiceover artist and editor for the Paramount Comedy Channel (now Comedy Central), also working as an editor at MTV Networks.
2004–2008: Record deal and What We Made:
After releasing three singles through his own label "All The Chats", including the original 7" version of "I Don't Want To" in January 2006, Example received attention from Pete Tong, Zane Lowe and others at Radio 1. After signing a deal in April 2006 with The Beats, Example put out a response to Lily Allen's number one hit "Smile" entitled "Vile" and received Radio 1 airplay from Zane Lowe, Jo Whiley and Chris Moyles. His first 'proper' release on The Beats was "What We Made" in November 2006, the video for which was filmed in Chernobyl, Ukraine (see below). Example's second official Beats single entitled "You Can't Rap" was released in March 2007, followed by a re-release of "I Don't Want To" on 11 June 2007. "I Don't Want To" was followed by the single "So Many Roads" (famously sampling The Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun") which eventually turned out to be the opening track on Example's full-length studio debut. After the demise of The Beats label at the end of 2007 Example self-released his next single "Me + Mandy" on 10 March 2008 through his original imprint All The Chats. The video for "Me + Mandy" was shot over four days and nights in London, in over 30 locations with over 40 extras. This was done at a cost of just £1000. It was directed by Example's friend Henry Scholfield who also made the promos for "Who Needs Sunshine?", "Vile", "You Can't Rap" and "I Don't Want To".
In February 2008 Example also tried his hand at stand-up comedy as part of BBC2's The Culture Show. Mentored by English comic Richard Herring, Example spent six weeks writing and practising his own stand-up routine which culminated in his first ever stand-up show in front of 60 paying customers in a Covent Garden pub. A week later he appeared on the bill under Richard Herring, Phill Jupitus and Harry Hill at the Lyric Hammersmith – Example had performed in the same venue ten years earlier whilst a student at ADT College