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 Seed prompting 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,
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.
'The Last Guitar Tour' saw Nick touring
the UK throughout spring 2010 supporting his 7th studio album 'The Last Guitar' This album had more than a few songs inspired by Nick's travels and treks with Love Hope Strength and with the subject matter and with legendary producer Tchad Blake at the helm the album took on a new, bold and forthright sonic quality.
After 'The Last Guitar' Nick devoted more energy to fund raising projects and helped set-up and organise 'Avebury Rocks' a Love Hope Strength style walk and rock concert held near Nick's home in Wiltshire. The event has run very successfully for two years with Newton Faulkner and The Levellers headlining, raising substantial funds for The Prospect Hospice, (where Nick's mother died) and other local good causes. 2013 sees a change in venue for the event on Sunday August 4th Devil's Den Rocks!
2013 also sees the release of Nick's 8th studio album 'Riven'. After the success of 'The Last Guitar', Nick has again teamed up with Tchad Blake to produce an epic recording. Nick also calls on old friends Jeremy Stacey ('Blood Songs'), Ben Jones ('Harperspace') Jon leveller ('Blood Songs') and Jakko Jakksyk to add to his own performances. Nick will be touring the UK in the autumn to support 'Riven'
THE REVIEWERS SPEAK:
"Frank Zappa would have been impressed… he deserves
to become a major figure in his own right."
- Robin Denselow, The Guardian, 14 June 2000
"Nick Harper has successfully emerged from beneath that paternal shadow in recent years, gaining widespread recognition as a gifted singer songwriter in his own right, as well as a singularly skilled and inventive guitarist."
- Sue Wilson, Metro (Scotland), August 2001
"Double Life - two CDs capturing his concert performances in all their prodigiously rocking, soulfully operatic, tenderly concerned, politically disaffected, waggishly witty, virtuosic magnificence… New listeners should prepare to be captivated by a colossal talent." *****
- Herald (Glasgow), May 2002
"Harper assumed the role of Alice. In place of verse/chorus/verse he took us through the looking glass into a kaleidoscopic world of his own making. It's as much about the exploration of a guitar as the playing."
- Michael Mee, Berwick Advertiser, 26 April 2002
"Nick Harper is a force of nature… the sheer weight of ideas in his music makes him irresistible and unstoppable... Harper the performer is a fearsome weapon. Phenomenal? You bet your life."
- Southern Reporter, 16 May 2002
"If you've never seen [Harper] live, you're missing out on one of the musical phenomenons of our age."
- Rob Adams, Herald (Glasgow), 17 October 2003
"[Blood Songs] finds [Harper] coming closest so far to capturing with a band the energy and sheer good-to-be-aliveness that have made his one man and a guitar concerts such devout places of worship for believers over the past decade." ****
- Herald (Glasgow), 28 February 2004
"Album of the Month: Son of '70s poet/singer Roy
Harper, dubbed 'the acoustic Hendrix' and the 'English Jeff
Buckley', Nick Harper's fourth studio album [Blood Songs] rises
above this (albeit favourable) baggage… With this amount of
melodic and sonic ingenuity, Nick Harper could be dubbed 'the
new Beck' - but that would be a bigger compliment to Mr. Hansen
than it would be to Harper."
- Guitar (UK), April 2004
"Dylan for the iPod generation...Betjemen with
- Guitarist (UK), February 2006
"One of the finest guitarists of his generation,
his soaring vocal range and propensity for epic song place him
somewhere between Rufus Wainright and Jeff Buckley. Thus far,
however, putting his musical freedom before the demands of career,
his talents have gone largely unrewarded. Miracles For Beginners,
his most focused, warm and triumphant album to date, could right
- Mojo, July 2007
"If anything Nick Harper is the closest thing we've
got to Lewis Carroll. His songs are the musical equivalent of
Carroll's Looking Glass, peer through and you find a fantastical,
magical world. Not always sugar sweet but forever different."
- Maverick, August 2007