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Beth Gibbons

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Beth Gibbons
Gibbons at Roskilde Festival 2011
Background information
Born (1965-01-04) 4 January 1965 (age 59)
Exeter, Devon, England[1]
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active1991–present
LabelsGo! Beat, Sanctuary
Member ofPortishead

Beth Gibbons (born 4 January 1965) is an English singer-songwriter who is the singer and lyricist for the band Portishead, who have released three albums. She released an album with Rustin Man, Out of Season, in 2002, and a recording of Górecki's Symphony No. 3 with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2019. In 2024, she released a solo album, Lives Outgrown.[3]

Early life[edit]

Gibbons was born in Exeter, Devon, England[4][1] and raised on a farm with three sisters. Her parents divorced when she was young.[5] She attended St Katherine's School in Pill, Somerset, in North Somerset.

At 22, she moved to Bath, then Bristol to pursue her singing career, where she met Geoff Barrow, her future collaborator in Portishead, on an Enterprise Allowance course in 1991.[6]


With Adrian Utley, Gibbons and Barrow released the first Portishead album Dummy in 1994 and have produced two other studio albums, a live album, and various singles since.

She has also collaborated on a separate project with former Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb (Rustin Man). Before she joined Geoff Barrow in Portishead, she had auditioned for the singer's slot in .O.rang, the group formed by Webb and Harris after Talk Talk's late-Eighties departure from EMI, but Portishead's sudden success pre-empted matters. In October 2002, they released the album Out of Season in the United Kingdom under the name Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man. The album peaked at number 28 in the UK Albums Chart.[7] It was released in the United States a year later: while touring in North America, Variety favourably described her performance with Rustin as "Billie Holiday fronting Siouxsie and the Banshees".[8]

Gibbons crowdsurfing in 2011

Gibbons was also a judge for the 10th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.

In June 2013, Gibbons announced plans for a new solo album with Domino Records.[9][10] She contributed vocals to a cover of the song "Black Sabbath" with the British metal band Gonga, released on 24 April 2014.[11]

In 2018, Gibbons contributed vocal performances, along with Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, to the Spill Festival held in Ipswich in an audio installation entitled 'Clarion Calls', which uses the voices of 100 women to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.[12]

In 2014, Gibbons performed Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki. Gibbons sang in Polish. The performance was released in 2019; reviewing the album for Pitchfork, Jayson Greene wrote: "Part of the tension comes from hearing her untrained voice scale these rocky heights. Her vibrato, tight and trilling and barely controlled, sounds an awful lot like someone fighting off a panic attack. This would get her dismissed from a traditional opera audition, probably, but it is magnificently effective at sending raw shudders through what can be a pretty well-worn work."[13] In 2022, Gibbons featured on the track "Mother I Sober" from Kendrick Lamar's album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.[14][15] For her collaboration in the album she received a nomination for Album of the Year at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards as a featured artist and songwriter.[16]

On 7 February 2024, Gibbons announced the release of her first solo studio album in over 20 years. The album, titled Lives Outgrown, was released 17 May 2024. It was announced alongside a single titled "Floating on a Moment",[17] with its second single "Reaching Out" being released later that year on 10 April.[18]

Style and inspiration[edit]

She has cited Nina Simone, Bono of U2 for his performance on The Joshua Tree, Otis Redding and Jimmy Cliff as inspirations.[5][19] She has covered Janis Joplin songs and enjoys the music of Janis Ian.[20]




Other works[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tammy La Gorce. "Beth Gibbons Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  2. ^ Beitia, Sara (11 August 2004). "Beth Gibbons: Out of Season". Boise Weekly. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  3. ^ Petridis, Alexis (16 May 2024). "Beth Gibbons: Lives Outgrown review – long-awaited solo debut is a gripping study of ageing and loss". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 May 2024.
  4. ^ "Full Beth Gibbons Biography". Perfect People. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Solo album bio" Biography previously published on a Finnish site (archived), Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  6. ^ Stuart Clark. "Never Mind the Bollocks". Hot Press. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 226. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ Mirkin, Steven (28 October 2003). "Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man". Variety. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Domino". Beth Gibbons. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Portishead's Beth Gibbons to Release New Solo Album on Domino". Pitchfork. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Sabbath cover" Jeremy Gordon, 'Portishead's Beth Gibbons Covers Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" With Metal Band Gonga', Pitchfork, 24 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Town's WW1 tribute uses 488 loudspeakers". BBC News. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  13. ^ Greene, Jayson (4 April 2019). "Beth Gibbons / Henryk Górecki: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  14. ^ a b Richie, Matthew (13 May 2022). ""Mother I Sober" [ft. Beth Gibbons]". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  15. ^ a b Aswad, Jem (12 May 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Finally Drops His Fifth Album: 'Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers'". Variety. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  16. ^ "2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Nominees List". GRAMMYs. 15 November 2022. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  17. ^ Monroe, Jazz (7 February 2024). "Portishead's Beth Gibbons Announces Debut Solo Album, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  18. ^ Singh, Surej (11 April 2024). "Portishead's Beth Gibbons shares new solo track 'Reaching Out'". NME. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  19. ^ "Oor Interview 1995" Erik van den Berg, There's not only emotion in the way you sing but also in what you sing, Oor Magazine (no. .6), 8 April 1995, (translated from Dutch). Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  20. ^ Fitzpatrick, Rob (26 June 2013). "The Roots Of... Portishead". NME. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" - Beth Gibbons, Krzysztof Penderecki, Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  22. ^ Gordon, Jeremy (24 April 2014). "Portishead's Beth Gibbons Covers Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" With Metal Band Gonga". Pitchfork. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  23. ^ Simpson, Paul. "Mandela Effect - Gonjasufi | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 June 2019.

External links[edit]