Polly Jean Harvey MBE (born 9 October 1969) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, writer, artist, poet and composer. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments.
Harvey began her career in 1988 when she joined local band Automatic Dlamini as a vocalist, guitarist and saxophone player. The band’s frontman, John Parish, would become her long-term collaborator. In 1991, she formed an eponymous trio and subsequently began her professional career. The trio released two studio albums, Dry (1992) and Rid of Me (1993) before disbanding, after which Harvey continued as a solo artist. Since 1995, she has released a further nine studio albums with collaborations from various musicians including John Parish, former bandmate Rob Ellis, Mick Harvey and Eric Drew Feldman and has also worked extensively with record producer Flood.
Among the accolades she has received are the 2001 and 2011 Mercury Prize for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000) and Let England Shake (2011), respectively—the only artist to have been awarded the prize twice—eight Brit Award nominations, seven Grammy Award nominations and two further Mercury Prize nominations. Rolling Stone awarded her 1992’s Best New Artist and Best Singer Songwriter and 1995’s Artist of the Year, and listed Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love (1995) and Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. In 2011, she was awarded for Outstanding Contribution To Music at the NME Awards. In June 2013, she was awarded an MBE for services to music.
2015–present: The Hope Six Demolition Project
On 16 January 2015, PJ Harvey began recording her 9th studio album in front of a live audience. A custom built recording studio was made in London’s Somerset House. Uncut magazine noted that much like her previous album Let England Shake, many of the lyrics were politically charged, but this time it was more globally focused. While recording she was shown to be using saxophones and an autoharp. Flood was confirmed to be the producer of the album. On 18 December 2015, Harvey released a 20-second teaser for the album, which contained a release date of spring 2016.
On 21 January 2016, the debut single, “The Wheel”, and the name of the album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, were announced on Steve Lamacq’s show on BBC Radio 6 Music. The album’s release date was also revealed to be 15 April. A new video, “The Orange Monkey”, was shared on 2 June 2016. Directed by Irish filmmaker Seamus Murphy, it was made from footage of Murphy’s and Harvey’s trips to Afghanistan.
The album reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Alternative Music Album category. Harvey spent much of 2016 and 2017 touring the world with her nine-piece band, taking her critically lauded live show around North America, South America, Europe and Australasia.