London-based songwriter Nick Mulvey already had a wealth of musical knowledge before coming to the fore with a solo project in 2012, with years of formal education in Havana, Cuba, studying music and art, as well as being an active member in Mercury Award nominees Portico Quartet. His first musical interactions were with piano and drums before he acquired a guitar in Southern Spain at the age of 18. He moved to Cuba a year later, and returned to the U.K. to study Ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, submerging himself in different styles of music, specializing in West and Central African in particular. It was during this course that Mulvey met his Portico Quartet bandmates in 2005, where he played the Hang. After a successful stint with the outfit -- which included a Mercury Prize nomination in 2008, 150 shows worldwide, and signing to Peter Gabriel's Real World Records -- Mulvey decided it was time to leave in 2011 and return to his first inspiration, the guitar.
With an abundance of genres at his fingertips, Mulvey set about creating a sound that was both striking and individual, intertwining influences of great musicians such as Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Tom Waits with a variation of African styles, including guitarist Kawele. This resulted in the sweet melodies and rhythmic strumming patterns that can be heard on his Dan Carey (Steve Mason, Bat for Lashes)-produced EP Fever to the Form, which was released in 2013. He has supported the likes of Willy Mason, Lianne La Havas, and Laura Marling, and featured on the BBC's Sound of 2014 long list. His debut full-length album, First Mind, arrived in 2014. ~ Scott Kerr