“Refreshing and original talent. Intrigued to hear more…”John Kennedy, Xfm
What do all these things have in common?
Spherical vibrators in the streets of Notting Hill, award winning mediaeval maidens, Gypsy swing with a cockney twist, a half naked fire-eating burlesque dancer, anorexic nuns, the Uk’s No.1 female fronted goth power metal band, glass orchestras, music boxes, childrens songs, an old 1950s typewriter and a Berlin circus sideshow of musical freaks?
The answer of course is Bev Lee Harling, who having begun her violin studies at the age of 5, followed by piano and voice studies, toured Europe extensively as a teenager, playing classical repertoire with the East Sussex Youth Orchestra.
Bev then attended Middlesex University, gaining a degree in Jazz Studies with voice as her first study, and inspired by her lecturers, most of whom were from the Uk Jazz big band Loose Tubes, began writing her own material.
In 2006 Bev recorded a 5 track E.P of her songs – “Impossible Human” produced by Julian Hinton (arr/producer for Trevor Horn). Many of the tracks have since featured in compilation releases, including Jazzanova’s”Broadcasting from Offtrack Radio” and “Café Paradiso” alongside Thom Yorke and Martina Topley-Bird.
The final track on the E.P “Im For You” even found its way into the latest big ad campaign for exclusive lingerie company Myla, advertising their latest new adult toy called “The Sphere”– a hilarious rip of the Sony Bravia ad, set in Notting Hill, rather than the streets of San Francisco, and featuring thousands of quite different balls bouncing down the Portobello Road.
Whilst performing her songs at a songwriters night in London, Bev came to the attention of Katherine Blake, the founder of 80’s band “Miranda Sexgarden”, and the No.1 Uk chart selling classical act the “Mediaeval Baebes”. Asked to become a “Baebe”, Bev has now toured extensively in America and Europe with the group of 6 women, singing, playing violin and writing songs for their latest album “Illumination” released in 2008. They also won an Ivor Novello award in 2007 for their collaboration with composer Martin Phipps on the acclaimed BBC series “The Virgin Queen”.
In 2008 Bev was commissioned to write the music for a Channel 4 film as part of their “Coming Up” series, a showcase for new writers and directors. The 30 minute film, “Thinspiration”, directed by Harry Burton, starring Sian Thomas and Karen Gillan (Dr Who’s latest companion) is set in a nunnery in the 16th Century, and tells the story of how nuns would starve themselves to death in order to get closer to God. The film has since been featured as part of Channel 4’s Generation Next campaign and enjoyed its premier cinema screening at the National Film Theatre.
Bev has also been a long time musical collaborator with Berlin based Producer/Dj Stefan Rogall, having joined his band “Rogall and The Electric Circus Sideshow” in 2006 alongside Earl Zinger (Galliano), Hugo Race (Nick Cave) and Henry Rollins. In 2009 Bev co-wrote and performed songs for the project’s debut album, released on Perfect Toy records.
Following this collaboration, Stefan Rogall has produced Bev’s debut solo album “Barefoot In Your Kitchen” released May 2012. This album is a collection of original songs featuring a lot of old junk Bev has found lying around, including an old 1950’s typewriter, a home made glass orchestra and plenty of pots and pans.
Bev currently has a new live project, Bev Lee Harling and the Kitchen Sink, a 4 piece band including glass orchestras, music boxes, an electric drill and a 1950’s typewriter, playing music from her album “Barefoot In Your Kitchen”. Their debut gig was supporting the 15 piece frenetic gypsy band “The Destroyers” at Wiltons Music Hall.
Since recording her album Bev came to the attention of the Peoples Music Awards 2010, voted for by a combination of public voting and music industry panellists. She became a finalist in their Solo Female Artist category with her song “Buy Me” quoted as being:
“Individual, clever and funny…the most original pop song we’ve heard this year”
Always seeking variety in her musical career Bev is usually involved in many eclectic projects at one time, her most recent to date have been performing violin for the London Burlesque Festival with Amsterdam Burlesque star Natsumi Scarlett, singing and playing violin for The Bright Size Gypsies, a modern gypsy swing project at the London Jazz Festival, and playing violin and viola for the latest recordings of Sophie Barker’s wonderful cd series for children with producer KK (Bjork, Dido). She also had a lot of fun recently at rock festival “Bloodstock” playing violin for goth metal band “Pythia” and features on their album “Beneath The Veiled Embrace”.
Bev also collaborated with Hospital Records latest signing Netsky for a track on his debut album in 2010.