PJ Harvey

Born 9 October 1969.
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PJ Harvey on 9/11 attacks "I saw the Pentagon burning"

PJ Harvey told our entertainment reporter, Colin Paterson about the moment she found out she'd won the Mercury Music Prize for the first time on 9/11.

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Polly Jean Harvey MBE (born 9 October 1969) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, writer, poet, composer and occasional artist. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments including piano, organ, bass, saxophone, harmonica, and most recently, the autoharp.

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 six 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, six 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.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Let England Shake

    Let England Shake 2011

    Reviewed by Martin Aston
    God bless unique, unfathomable, great Queen Polly.
  2. Review of White Chalk

    White Chalk 2007

    Reviewed by Chris Long
    Polly Jean returns with a new piano-based direction. Lovely and disturbing in equal...
  3. Review of Uh Huh Her

    Uh Huh Her 2004

    Reviewed by Kate Lawrence
    It's sad to say it, but Polly's (frankly awe-inspiring) musical ability does seem to...
  4. Review of Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea

    Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea 2000

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    It won her a far greater audience without compromising her artistic credentials.
  5. Review of Rid of Me

    Rid of Me 1993

    Reviewed by Mike Diver
    A tough listen, even at its comparative prettiest, but an essential one.
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