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Polly joins her first band, an eight-piece named Boulogne, which she plays sax, guitar and sings backing vocals. I spent a lot of the time feeling like the back of a bus. She begins penning lyrics in a folk trio called the Polekats, and also plays in the Stoned Weaklings, but she also starts to forge a solo career by writing material for herself.
In a 1998 interview with Dazed & Confused, she describes her childhood: "I was a tomboy, I was one of the boys. Right up until I was 14 I was a classic tortured adolescent. She invites a Bristol-based band call Automatic Dlamini, led by John Parish, to play her 18th birthday party, but they cant due to their ill guitarist Rob Ellis.
Once the tour finishes, Polly reportedly has a nervous breakdown due to the increasing pressures and expectations though, The Guardian later explains it was because of a break-up. They record the album live off the floor with very few vocal overdubs for an austere, stripped down sound.
She moves to London but not for school; their demos are sent to indie label Too Pure, which sign the band immediately and release PJ Harveys first single in October.
"Dress is praised by critics, including John Peel, who reviews it for Melody Maker, writing "the way Polly Jean seems crushed by the weight of her own songs and arrangements, as if the air is literally being sucked out of them...
It taught me a lot, really, that everybody wants to read so much into every single thing that you do; even if you do it in the most naive of ways and innocently, its going to get things put on it.
I dont think its changed the way that I do things I wouldnt ever want it to either, because then youre being influenced before you even create something. Automatic Dlamini release From A Diva To A Diver featuring Polly. People seem to want to imagine I went into some kind of sanatorium for a year nothing like that.
Behind PJ Harveys lean frame and midnight black locks is a performer both ferocious and gracious, who can channel any sort of character convincingly, while leading many on with her ambiguous songwriting bite.