PJ Harvey – Singer-Songwriter

PJ Harvey is a British singer-songwriter widely considered one of the premier female rock musicians of her generation. Known for her mythically tuned, fanatically furious records and thrilling live performances, she is best known for her sultry, mysterious music which blends both softness and poetic grandeur into one sublime package. A versatile multi-instrumentalist and composer who plays guitar, piano, violin, autoharp harmonica drums and keys; she is also an established visual artist, sculptor and writer.

Born into countercultural parents in rural England, PJ Harvey appears to have grown up understanding rock as just another elemental force within her landscape. Her performances display an intriguing theatricality; often alluding to mythological characters as archetypes (for instance “Sheela-na-gig,” refers to female exhibitionist carvings with gaping genitals found both there and in Ireland), along with her powerful voice creating an unnerving yet seductive aura of haunted allurement.

Harvey achieved her initial breakthrough with her 1992 album Dry. This produced an unexpected modern rock radio hit in the US called “Down by the Water,” while also garnering critical and commercial success.

Rid of Me was met with equally positive reception, while Harvey and Parish reunited after an absence during the late ’90s to record A Woman a Man Walked By and White Chalk respectively. She also made appearances in several movies such as The Book of Life (1998; based on Mary Magdalene) and Hal Hartley’s A Bunny Girl’s Tale of Sarah Miles (2001).

Harvey collaborated with Parish to record Let England Shake, winning her fifth Mercury Prize that year. Her albums often explore themes of political and social injustice; for example, she has performed concerts in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Washington D.C. and parts of Washington. D.C. She even composed the soundtrack for Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove’s 2019 London stage adaptation of All About Eve!

Harvey collaborated with producer Flood and John Parish on her most recent studio album, I Inside the Old Year Dying, to produce songs written in Dorset, Paris and New York City; Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke even sang lead vocals on three tracks including on her single, “This Mess We’re In”.

PJ Harvey is known for her incredible live shows that switch between vulnerable softness and her signature demonic intensity – her live shows can often involve physical contact between performer and audience, and their performances often leave audiences gasping in wonder! In addition to an impressive array of instruments, she uses large backdrops with umbrellas or various props as part of an unforgettable performance experience. Her ability to draw audiences in makes her highly intelligent and articulate as an artist; many musicians and critics respect her, with her iconic performances earning the respect of many musicians as well. She is widely respected by audiences alike – one could say she is one of today’s most influential female artists!