Polly Jean Harvey, MBE (born 9 October 1969) known as PJ Harvey, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, writer, poet, and composer. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments.
Harvey began her career in 1988 when she joined local band Automatic Dlamini as a vocalist, guitarist, and saxophone player. The band's frontman, John Parish, would become her long-term collaborator. In 1991, she formed an eponymous trio and subsequently began her professional career. The trio released two studio albums, Dry (1992) and Rid of Me (1993) before disbanding, after which Harvey continued as a solo artist. Since 1995, she has released a further nine studio albums with collaborations from various musicians including John Parish, former bandmate Rob Ellis, Mick Harvey, and Eric Drew Feldman and has also worked extensively with record producer Flood.
Polly Jean Harvey was born on 9 October 1969 in Bridport, Dorset, the second child of Ray and Eva Harvey, who owned a stone quarrying business, and grew up on the family's farm in Corscombe.
During her childhood, she attended school in nearby Beaminster, where she received guitar lessons from folk singer-songwriter Steve Knightley, and her parents introduced her to music that would later influence her work, including blues music, Captain Beefheart and Bob Dylan. Her parents were avid music fans and regularly arranged get-togethers and small gigs; among their oldest friends was Ian Stewart.
As a teenager, Harvey began learning saxophone and joined an eight-piece instrumental group Bologne, based in Dorset. She was also a guitarist with folk duo the Polekats, with whom she wrote some of her earliest material. After finishing school, Harvey attended Yeovil College and attended a visual arts foundation course.