Polly Jean Harvey, born October 9, 1969 in Weymouth, Dorset is a British singer and songwriter. She has recorded as a solo artist under the name P. J. Harvey, but she began her career as part of a trio (with Rob Ellis and Steve Vaughn) also named P. J. Harvey. She has cultivated a reputation for eccentricity to match her music. (She purportedly lives on a diet of potatoes.)
Harvey studied sculpture at Yeovil Art College. She studied saxophone for about eight years; she played sax in her earliest bands Bologna and Automatic Dlamini.
Harvey released her debut single, "Dress" in 1991; she released her first LP Dry in 1992. (A limited edition double LP containing both Dry and the demos for Dry, called Dryer, was also released at this time.) She drew fire in 1991/1992 when she appeared topless on the cover of the British magazine New Musical Express; up until then she had been considered unambiguously feminist..
1993 saw the release of two further albums in quick succession, Rid of Me (produced by Steve Albini) with the original trio and, later in the year, a solo-release 4-Track Demos, literally the 4-track demos that would become Rid of Me.
After the depature of drummer Rob Ellis, Harvey refused to sign to any of the bidding major labels, and embarked upon a solo career exploring collaborations with other musicians began with To Bring You My Love (1995; produced by Flood) which quickly became a staple of alternative rock. After Is This Desire (an album that had been poorly received critically and commercially) was released in 1998, Harvey reunited with her old bandmates for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. The album recorded in Dorset and New York was a big success and took the Mercury Music Prize that year. Her latest album, Uh Huh Her, was released May 31, 2004. She has also contributed to Josh Homme's The Desert Sessions and appeared on Nick Cave's Murder Ballads (on the song "Henry Lee") and Tricky's Angels with Dirty Faces.
She also recorded an album Dance Hall at Louse Point with John Parrish under the name Polly Jean Harvey, and has since gone onto to produce Tiffany Anders' Funny Cry Happy Gift.
Outside of the better-known musical career Polly Jean Harvey appeared as Mary Magdalene in Hal Hartley's The Book of Life, and in the Sarah Miles-directed A Bunny Girl's Tale, and is an accomplished sculptor who has published poetry.
On December 17 2004, live on stage in Paris, she announced that she was quitting playing live with the comment, "This is the last show I will ever play", to the audience of 350 who were attending as part of a competition.
- PJ Harvey quits! (http://www.nme.com/news/110873.htm) (Dec. 18, 2004). NME.com
- Official site (http://www.pjharvey.net/)
- pollyharvey.co.uk (http://www.pollyharvey.co.uk/)
- Sirens Rising (http://www.room509.net)
- Profile at the Dorset Page (http://www.thedorsetpage.com/people/Polly_Jean_Harvey.htm)
- Profile at About.com (http://altmusic.about.com/library/overview/bl_pjh.htm)