Born in Birmingham, England, Toyah Willcox began her career in acting. Her whimsical personality landed her early roles, such as Emma in Tales from the Vienna Woods in 1977. During her time on stage, she was inspired to form her band, Toyah. She was introduced to Joel Bogen (guitar), and they were later joined by Mark Henry (bass), Steve Bray (drums), and Pete Bush (keyboard).
Willcox primarily focused on her acting career, starring in noticeable roles as Sharon in Sugar and Spice and Miranda in The Tempest. She continued to take part in both live and recorded roles, starring in Trafford Tanzi, Cabaret, and Three Men and a Horse. In the 1990s, Toyah began a new career as a TV presenter. She began making regular appearances on First Night, Time Off, and This Morning. She continued to dip her toe in other roles as a newspaper reviewer and voice actor. Throughout the years, she has made her way onto radio drama series, reality TV, and talk shows.
She often found tension between her music and acting career, feeling as though at the time, her music wasn’t being taken as seriously as her acting. It wasn’t until Toyah signed to their first record label that they released their first single, “Victims of the Riddle,” landing them on the UK Indie Charts. Toyah released their first EP, Sheep Farming in Barnet, in 1979, which was later followed by their second record, The Blue Meaning.
After they had gone through band member transitions, the group put out the EP Four From Toyah, and a third LP, Anthem, in 1981. After their fourth album, The Changeling, was released, Willcox began working on Love Is The Law which was released in 1983. Not long after, Willcox disbanded the group and began working on her solo music career along with forming a new band, Sunday All Over The World, with her husband, Robert Fripp.
Her most notable solo release was Prostitute, released in 1988. The concept album detailed her struggle between the tension of being invisible and being an all-powerful woman, receiving mixed reactions across the globe. She earned a spot on GQ’s 100 Greatest Women in Music list and continued to tour with her band, putting out more music and collaborating with musicians such as Bill Rieflin and Simon Darlow.
Amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, Toyah started a broadcast series from her home where she answered fan questions and shared archived performances. Her husband, Robert Fripp co-hosted the series, leading to her Sunday Lunch series, which has accrued millions of views on YouTube.