Polly Jean or PJ Harvey grew up in England where she learned to play saxophone and as a nineteen year old, joining a band that toured through the UK and Europe. More importantly, John Parish was a bandmate and he would turn out to be a long time collaborator.
By 1991 she left and formed a trio also called PJ Harvey that recorded two albums before PJ Harvey became a solo act. Her first solo album produced a surprising hit for the artist in the US with “Down by the Water” which rose to number 2 on the US Modern Rock charts. It remains her highest charting single.
PJ Harvey seemed to find a way to make successful music while still incorporating many changes in style. In 1997 she released “Is This Desire?”, an album that included a lot of electronics and won a Grammy nomination Two years later she recorded a different sounding album in collaboration with Thom Yorke of Radiohead and had her biggest commercial success with “Stories for the City, Stories for the Sea” which also earned a Grammy nomination.
In 2010 she recorded “Let England Shake” with lyrics she wrote about World War 1 and the current Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The album was recorded in a church with mostly improvised music. The album won the Mercury Prize making PJ Harvey the first artist to win the award twice.
Continuing her focus on areas in conflict, in 2015 she traveled to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC with photographer/director Seamus Murphy and the result was a book of poetry and photographs, followed by an album recorded in public at a London Cultural center. Released in 2016 “The Hope Six Demolition Project” Earned her another Grammy nomination and topped the UK charts.