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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
PJ Harvey's low-key success
PJ Harvey at the Reading festival
Harvey has a strong live presence
Polly Jean Harvey has produced six albums in nine years, and her latest had made little more or less impact than any of the releases that preceded it.

She has carved out a niche as a inimitably raw and emotional singer-songwriter who has been happy to stay out of the mainstream but keep a strong fan base.

Hailing from Yeovil, Somerset, she burst onto the music scene in 1991 with a debut album, Dry, which earned her awards as Best Songwriter and Best Female Singer from Rolling Stone magazine.

PJ Harvey
She had been nominated for the Mercury twice before
Continuing to write and record with a number of different musicians, she won two Grammys in 1995 and is the first artist to be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize three times.

But her biggest chart success came when the singles A Perfect Day Elise and Broken Homes both reached number 25 in the UK singles chart in 1998.

Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea was her first album for two years - and Harvey wrote half in New York and half in the Dorset coast, with the split providing inspiration for the title.

The album is said to bring together the two corresponding styles - harsh and calm - that have characterised her albums in the past.

"It's just this ability to keep listeners on their toes which keeps her at the very forefront of British singer-songwriters," wrote the BBC's Nigel Packer when reviewing the CDs.

It also a featured a substantial contribution from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke - and the Mercury result may make many more people listen more closely than they had done before.

In recent years she has expanded her work to acting and made her debut as Mary Magdalene in the Hal Hartley movie The Book Of Life.

She has also featured in films by English director Sara Miles has exhibited sculpture in galleries across the country and has had poetry published.

See also:

22 Oct 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: PJ Harvey
12 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Gig review: PJ Harvey
25 Aug 01 | Reviews
Rock reigns at Reading
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