Tuesday 26th November
Son of the legendary UK singer-songwriter Roy Harper, Nick was born in London and raised in Wiltshire. Having played the guitar from the age of 10 and surrounded by the likes of Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Dave Gilmour as he grew up, it was no surprise when Nick made his recording debut on his father’s Whatever Happened to Jugula? in 1985.
Nick’s talent and energy entranced Roy’s fans and it was inevitable that he would begin touring and recording in his own right. The 1994 EP Light at the End of the Kennel was swiftly followed by his powerful 1995 debut long player Seedprompting The Independent to describe him as “hugely talented”.
In 1996 Nick met Squeeze frontman and songwriter Glenn Tilbrook. Tilbrook was so impressed that he offered Nick a job playing with and supporting Squeeze and promptly signed Nick to his own label, Quixotic Records. Following tours in the UK, USA and Japan, Nick recorded the 1998 album Smithereens with Tilbrook as producer. This album and subsequent 40 date solo tour, including dates in New York and Glastonbury, confirmed Nick as a formidable talent in his own right. “If imagination, energy and bags of talent were the only factors in making a successful pop career, few would deny that Squeeze man Glenn Tilbrook has backed a winner in Nick Harper…Splendid stuff” – MOJO magazine. He teamed up with Tilbrook again on 2000’s highly acclaimed album Harperspace. This is the album that confirmed his position at the forefront of a new generation of British Acoustic Performers.“Nick Harper has a quality that stands head and shoulders above anything else you are likely to encounter…The Verse Time Forgot from the new album ‘Harperspace’ is as close to a perfect song as you are likely to get.” Edinburgh Evening News
To call Nick a superlative singer/songwriter could put his highly lauded guitar talent in the shade, and to call him a guitarist’s guitarist might slight his distinctive, soulful voice and passionate songs. Not forgetting the wild ride that is one of his live shows – from personal introspection to biting political satire via a charmingly caustic wit that would make Groucho Marx proud. He often segues from his own compositions to well-loved covers he makes his own – he takes on Presley, Zappa, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, Monty Python and Public Enemy (yes, on an acoustic guitar). He also has the alarming ability to break guitar strings almost by sheer force of will… and then change them without dropping a beat. For over a decade, he has been dazzling audiences and reviewers alike with this heady mix of virtuosity, boyish charm, showmanship and sheer bravado. His talent and showmanship were recognised in 2003 with a (Glasgow) Herald Fringe Angel award for excellence in live music during his Edinburgh Festival run. “Harper has so much musicianship in him that it just leaks out all over the place.” The Times
After 6 studio albums, a double live CD and 2 EPs (including Instrumental, a stunning display of his guitar talents), Nick’s work is still as fresh and vital as that of his first solo release in 1994. The recently released sixth studio album,Miracles For Beginners, was a return to a more stripped-down acoustic based style, from the folk tale of the meeting of King Henry 8th and Francis 1st in 1520 in The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold. to a beautiful latin tinged paean to the the Bolivian President Evo Morales in Evo. But, as with his highly personal 2004 “family album” Blood Songs, he still has time to sing about the most important things in his world – family, friends, love, life.
2010 sees the release of Nicks 10th CD The Last Guitar. An eclectic mix of 12 songs showing off Nicks unabashed individuality and bold choices allied to a new maturity. Included are a gumshoe detective story called Pop Fiction; One of the 38, a dedication to the trekkers on the Everest trail and Silly Daddy, which has the recording debut of his daughter Lily.
Between solo albums, Nick tours with a vengeance. In the first 8 months of 2005 alone, he’d traversed the UK from Devon to the most northerly point in Scotland, along with 2 dates in Holland and acclaimed sets at Glastonbury, Beautiful Days (with his band Sleeper Cell), Oysterband’s Big Session and other festivals including 2 tsunami benefit gigs in Thailand.
Plan 9 from Harperspace was the spring tour of 2007 promoting the new DVD ‘Love Is Music‘ – a ‘rockumentary’ style film with a selection of Nick’s best loved songs recorded in 5.1 sound.
Also recently released was Nick’s first single for download on iTunes. Taken from the CD ‘Miracles For Beginners‘ and called ‘Blue Sky Thinking‘ it quickly went to no.1 in iTunes downloads. All proceeds from the single were donated to the Love Hope Strength Foundation. Nick had just returned from Nepal after setting a new world record for the highest gig on earth at Kala Pattar above Mt. Everest Base Camp on October 21st 2007, whilst helping raise over £200,000 for the fight against cancer, before going on to play as part of the Love Hope Strength all-star band to approximately 20,000 people in Kathmandu.
Nick has been on two further treks with the foundation to Macchu Picchu in Peru and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania helping to raise substantial funds for local cancer centres and hospitals.