He was a techno-classical genius loved by pop stars from U2 to Britney. Then he was sectioned in his 60s after a drug-induced breakdown. The superproducer explains how he came back around

There was a point in the early 00s when William Orbit was poised to go interstellar. He was one of the great pop architects of the Y2K era, the Mark Ronson or Jack Antonoff of his day. He produced Madonna’s Grammy-sweeping Ray of Light, with its magnetic techno-lite, in 1998; Blur’s 13 a year later; and made hits for some of the biggest films around the new millennium: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, The Next Best Thing and The Beach.

The latter’s lead track, Pure Shores, recorded by the British pop group All Saints, was the second most successful UK single of 2000. Echoes of its breathy acoustica and bleepy-bloopy electronica can still be heard in the charts; it was recently championed by Lorde, who said the song was an inspiration for this year’s much anticipated album Solar Power.

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