Artist picture of Nick Mulvey

Nick Mulvey

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Making his name as part of jazzy, world music, ambient-experimentalists Portico Quartet, Nick Mulvey went solo in 2011 and redefined himself as a twinkly fingered, acoustic guitarist with globe-trotting tastes and earnest, soulful songwriting. Born in Cambridge, he grew up listening to his sister's Portishead and Massive Attack tapes and played drums and piano before taking to the guitar in his late teens, naturally picking up a loose, flexible, self-taught style which drew inspiration from Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell.

A desire to travel allied to his love of music led to him studying at the Instituto Superiorde Arte in Havana, Cuba when he was 19, and he later completed a degree in Ethnomusicology at the SOAS University of London, where he formed the Portico Quartet in 2005. The four friends started busking outside the National Theatre on London's South Bank and, with Mulvey playing a wok-shaped, steel drum called a Hang, they concocted a mix of electronic loops, sprawling saxophones and Latin melodies and were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for debut album 'Knee-Deep in the North Sea'. They also released follow-up 'Isla' in 2009 and toured Europe but, after six years with the band, Mulvey felt the need to return to the guitar and work on his own songs.

Time spent hanging out with a Congolese community and a love of African music also influenced his hypnotic guitar patterns and intricate, acoustic style, and this eclectic jumble of melodies and free-minded spiritual ideas took his debut solo album 'First Mind' beyond the normal singer-songwriter realm, earning him another nomination for the Mercury Prize in 2014. He also toured with Laura Marling and made his first appearance on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, before his second album 'Wake Up Now' on Peter Gabriel's Real World record label in 2017 tackled serious subjects such as the European migrant crisis and environmental issues like fracking.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved