Groundbreaking musician and songwriter that found an audience in the 1990s. Her brazen sexuality and bluesy voice has garnered comparisons to Patti Smith
Born Polly Jean Harvey on Oct. 9, 1969, she was raised in the town of Yeovil, population 600 on a sheep farm. Both Harvey's parents were avid collectors of jazz records and would even provide shelter to travelling musicians.
At the age of 17 she began playing in a band called Automatic Dlamini. The arrangement lasted only a few months but was the starting point of her career as an artist.
While in art school she teamed up with Steve Vaughn and drummer Robert Ellis to form the PJ Harvey trio. In 1991 they released a single called "Dress," followed a few months later by "Sheela-Na-Gig"--both of which were critical favorites. 1992 saw Dry released to universal acclaim and Rolling Stone named Harvey the best songwriter of the year. Under stress to surpass the success of Dry, Harvey suffered a nervous breakdown. In spite of the stress, Rid of Me was another success and Harvey disbanded the Trio to start a solo career. She said in an interview:"I knew all along that I'd want to work with different musicians eventually, which is why I used my own name for the group. I wanted to be completely freed up by not having to limit my writing to what I thought they would be able to perform."
To Bring You My Love was Harvey's first solo record and a huge commercial success. She described her performance style in support of the album as "Joan Crawford on acid"--punctuated with Kabuki style makeup and a glamour gal wardrobe. She is an amazing and intense performer who is often unfairly lumped in with the "angry white girl" artists of the late 90s that came after her.