English guitarist, singer-songwriter and producer Richard Willis Hawley was born 17 January 1967 in Sheffield, Hawley grew up in a working-class area of the city with two sisters. Both his parents were musicians, his father David a guitarist with a number of local bands, and his mother Lynne a singer. They divorced when he was 16 years old. He noted that “I always wrote songs since childhood” and realising that “you could actually make something up of your own was quite a big one then” He attended Hucklow Middle School together with future Pulp bassist Steve Mackey, and passed his O-levels. Hawley briefly worked at the local HMV
While still at school, Hawley formed the Treebound Story and at the age of 19 recorded a Peel Session together with the band. AfterTreebound Story broke up, Hawley found success as a member of Britpop band Longpigs in the 1990s. As a member of the Longpigs, Hawley released two albums, The Sun Is Often Out and Mobile Home. After the Longpigs broke up in 2000, he later joined the band Pulp, led by his friend Jarvis Cocker, for a short time. During his time with both bands he was able to “quietly hone” his songwriting skills. Impressed by a home demo of his songs, both Cocker and Mackey urged Hawley to record the material. He used some left-over studio time to demo material and to experiment. He recorded a song per day, recording most of the instruments himself “with a boom mike in the middle so I could walk between instruments. His eponymous debut was a mini-album was released in 2001 and featured seven songs Including the songs “Sunlight” and “Coming Home”. He was assisted by former Longpigs drummer Andy Cook and Colin Elliot, who became his long-term producer.
In 2001, Hawley released the album Late Night Final, named after the cry of vendors selling the Sheffield Star evening newspaper on the streets of the city and included the songs “Baby, You’re My Light”,”The Nights Are Cold. In 2003 Hawley released the album Lowedges, named after a suburb of the city. The NME called Lowedges the “first great album of 2003” and it topped an end-of-the-year poll held by Virgin Radio. Hawley released his third album, Coles Corner in 2005. Coles Corner eventually gained a nomination for the Mercury Prize in 2006. Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, whose debut album won the prize, exclaimed “Someone call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed!” Hawley’s 2007 album Lady’s Bridge was named after a bridge in the centre of the city. He also embarked on a 16-date tour to promote the album. Sadly In 2007 Hawley’s father died after a long illness and Setanta’s self-titled debut was rereleased in 2007 with five additional tracks Including the song ‘Troublesome Waters’ which is a cover of a Howard Seratt song and it’s the only time Hawley and his dad featured together on a published recording. He plays rhythm guitar”.
In 2008, Hawley was nominated for his first solo Brit Award for Best British Male Performe and was a headlining act at the 2008 Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Spain. Hawley also produced, with Colin Elliot, and contributed two songs to the album Made in Sheffield, a compilation of songs by the Sheffield-based songwriters for Tony Christie. Richard Hawley released his fifth album Truelove’s Gutter, in 2009 and it won the Mojo record of the year. In 2009 The song “Don’t Get Hung Up in Your Soul” was chosen as the Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week and “Open Up Your Door” was featured as the soundtrack song to the Häagen-Dazs ice cream TV commercial in the UK. The song “Tonight The Streets Are Ours” was chosen as the title track for the Oscar nominated 2010 Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop and His 2011 song “There’s a Storm Coming” was used at the end of the film Brighton Rock. The song “You And I” by Richard Hawley and The Death Ramps (aka Arctic Monkeys), was also released as the B-side of the Arctic Monkeys’ single “Black Treacle” on 2012.
Richard Hawley released his sixth solo album Standing at the Sky’s Edge, in 2012 Containing the singles, “Leave Your Body Behind You”, “Down In The Woods”, “Seek It” and “Don’t Stare At The Sun”. The four singles were collected on vinyl for the Singles Club box set. Standing at the Sky’s Edge was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Awards. Hawley also featured in a BBC6 Music live broadcast with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which took place at the Magna Science Park, Rotherham. In 2013 he joined Cocker and Kami Thompson on the Bright Phoebus Revisited UK Tour. Hawley also provided vocals for the title track of the Manic Street Preachers album, Rewind The Film, released in 2013. In 2014, his previous record company, Setanta, re-released the first three albums both on vinyl and CD. He also contributed music to the documentary film Love Is All. In 2015, Hawley released his seventh album Hollow Meadows.
Richard Hawley has also colaborated with many other musicians; In 2002, Hawley produced the debut single “So Young” by Sheffield band Hoggboy, co-produced the band’s two albums Or 8? and Seven Miles Of Love, co-wrote second album track “Hello”, and also played on a cover version of Little Walter’s “Come Back Baby”/ “Believe”. Hawley also produced material by lead singer Tom Hogg’s next band The Hosts. Praise from R.E.M.’s Mike Mills led to him being approached to support the group on several concert dates in 2005. After contributing to Nancy Sinatra’s 2004 self-titled album, Hawley supported her on a European tour in 2005 and duetted with her on several of the tours concerts. In 2007 Hawley provided vocals for “Bad Woman”, a B-side to Arctic Monkeys’ single “Teddy Picker”. He also co-wrote and provided vocals and guitar to the song “The Fix” on Elbow’s Mercury Prize-winning 2008 album The Seldom Seen Kid. Hawley also performed the song with the band at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2008, on The Culture Show in June 2008, at Elbow’s homecoming gigs in Manchester, Wembley Arena, Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom and at the MEN Arena.
In 2009 He reprised his collaboration with Elbow for a special recording of The Seldom Seen Kid with the BBC Concert Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, which was subsequently released as a special edition CD and DVD set titled The Seldom Seen Kid Live at Abbey Road. He also appeared with Elbow during their 2011 UK TOUR. Hawley’s song “Baby, You’re My Light” was included on the CD soundtrack for the 2008 film Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Hawley himself made an appearance in the 2007 film Flick. In 2009, Hawley was joined on stage by Lisa Marie Presley in London for an encore, she sang vocals on a song the pair have been working on called “Weary” Presley and Hawley also collaborated on Her 2012 album, Storm & Grace. In 2012 Hawley worked again with Arctic Monkeys providing vocals for the “Black Treacle”‘s B-side, “You And I”.
As a solo musician, Hawley has released seven studio albums. Hawley has also worked with several musicians, including Hank Marvin, A Girl Called Eddy, and Jarvis Cocker (and his Relaxed Muscle project). He played the guitar solo on All Saints’ cover version of “Under the Bridge”. He has also been nominated for a Mercury prize twice and once for a Brit Award. He has collaborated with Lisa Marie Presley, Arctic Monkeys, Manic Street Preachers and Paul Weller