At 26 years of age, Nick Mulvey has accomplished more than most musicians will achieve in a lifetime. A key founding member of Portico Quartet, Nick has toured the world picking up a wealth of international acclaim, including a Mercury Music Prize nomination for their debut album ‘Knee-deep in the North Sea’.
Nick started out his career in music playing both piano and drums, but truly found his calling at the age of 18, when he bought his first guitar from a family of guitar makers in Southern Spain.
At the age of 19, Nick moved to Havana, Cuba to study music and art. The course was intensive, formal, and incredibly technical, yet the evenings were spent jamming and drinking rum with his fellow students who congregated at the school from all over the world.
On returning to the UK, Nick enrolled at the School of Oriental and African Studies to study Ethnomusicology. This course gave him great insight in to the cultural and historical context of many styles of music, in which he specialised in West and Central African music in particular. By this time, Nick was hooked and threw himself feet first in to finding out as much as he could about all styles of music.
Nick became one of the star pupils on the course and studied under renowned Ethnomusicologist, Lucy Duran (BBC Radio 3 DJ, Record Producer, Scholar) for three years. Around this time Zimbabwean, Congolese and Malian music were key influences on Nick’s song writing and he learned a huge amount from Congolese guitar maestro Kawele.
It was during his degree course that Nick picked up the hang and stumbled across his Portico Quartet band mates. The four young men hustled their way around London, playing as many shows as possible, but most notably busking on the South Bank where they sold 10,000 copies of their home-made demos over three years.
After they had all graduated, the band signed with a small London based Jazz label called Babel and recorded their debut LP ‘Knee-deep in the North Sea’, which was subsequently nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize, to which they were pipped at the post by Elbow. They then signed to Peter Gaberiel’s Real World Records and recorded a second LP, Isla, at Abbey Road with John Leckie. This album cemented their international success and paved the way for a year of touring, clocking up around 150 shows across the globe in 2010.
In total Nick spent six amazing years working with friends, embracing and pushing a new musical instrument to the forefront of cutting edge music. Although he has loved every moment, he now feels that the time is right for him to return to his first musical instrument (the guitar) and work on a solo project.
Nick is essentially a self-taught musician who has been fortunate enough to have worked with some amazing people that have influenced his work greatly. He is a musical innovator, who is looking to combine and sit between genres. All of his music is about the groove and with his new material, there is no holding him back.
Over the next couple of years, Nick will prove to become a staple of innovative music and is hoping to emulate the passion and success of predecessors such as Steve Reich, Paul Simon and Ali Farka Toure.