Since her career began in 1991, PJ Harvey has transported us into her world, which is imbued with a huge range of influences, from rock to blues via classical music and folk melodies from the four corners of the earth. The singer also drew inspiration from painting, sculpture and film. This profile describes some of her sources of inspiration.
PJ Harvey in a few words
PJ Harvey, real name Polly Jean, was born in 1969 in Yeovil (UK) and grew up in Dorset, in the English countryside. Her parents were big rock and blues fans, and she was immersed in music from a very young age.
After choosing a musical path (learning saxophone for eight years), she studied sculpture at university. Music then became her main activity. After playing with the band Automatic Dlamini (with English musiciansJohn Parish and Rob Ellis, her friends and future musical partners), PJ founded her own band, PJ Harvey, and recorded her first album,Dry, on the Too Pure label. Soon afterwards, she signed - solo - withIsland Records. Since then she has produced a highly prolific and varied discography, ranging from powerful rock to velvety sounds, including Rid of me (1993), To Bring You My Love (1995), Dance Hall at Louse Point (1996, with John Parish), Is This Desire (1998), Stories From The Cities, Stories From The Sea (2000), Uh Uh Her (2003),White Chalk (2007) and A Woman A Man Walked By (2009, again with Parish). A player of saxophone, guitar and piano, PJ Harvey has worked with a wide variety of musicians, including Nick Cave, Thom Yorke and Björk.
Let England Shake, her latest album, was released in 2011. In this work, recorded in a 19th century Dorset church, PJ Harvey tackles the'political' subject of war for the first time. The album took a long time to research and combines particular instruments such as the auto harp. It includes the songs "The Last Living Rose" and "The Words That Maketh Murder".