PJ Harvey says performing her songs is “draining” because she puts so much emotion into them.
The ‘Words That Maketh Murder’ hitmaker – who is joint favourite to win the Barclaycard Mercury Prize this year for her latest album ‘Let England Shake’, which was inspired by the First World War – feels exhausted singing her tracks live because she has to think carefully about the lyrics.
She said: “It is draining performing these songs because, in order to inhabit them with any degree of honesty and emotion, I need to really think about the words. As the narrator, I have to have the vision of the scene in order to describe it to the crowd. It can take a lot out of me, but it gives a lot back, too.”
The 41-year-old singer did two years of research before releasing ‘Let England Shake’, which she wanted to create about people’s “emotions” so that her tracks mean something to individuals, rather than sing about “adopting political stances or sides”.
She added in an interview with the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “I wanted to create a record that is about human beings and their emotions, not particularly adopting political stances or sides. The beauty of music is that you hand something over, and people bring it into their own lives, and it becomes something particular to them.
“Even though a lot of the songs deal specifically with the First World War, the words relate to soldiers on both sides of the fighting today and the civilians that are involved as well. The music and words seem to resonate right now.
“I could have made very dark, heavy, suffocating music, but felt it would not be the right balance. I needed music that would help lift the weight of the words and carry them out to the listener.”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter