Polly Scattergood

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Polly Scattergood
Polly Scattergood performing at the Shoreditch Festival in Hackney, London; July 2009
Background information
Birth name Polly Scattergood
Born (1986-10-18) 18 October 1986 (age 31)
Wivenhoe, Essex, England
Genres Indie pop, experimental, alternative rock
Occupation(s) Singer, musician, songwriter
Instruments Keyboard, piano and guitar
Years active 2005–present
Labels Mute Records

Polly Scattergood (born 18 October 1986, Wivenhoe, Essex, England),[1][2][3] is a British singer-songwriter. She has been described as ethereal, dark, intense and quirky,[4][5][6] while her musical style has been described as "early 21st century electro-dance-pop of London proper".[7] Scattergood's debut album, self-titled, was released in spring 2009 in the United Kingdom and United States. It received mixed but generally positive reviews. Arrows was Scattergood's second studio album, it was produced by Ken Thomas and Jolyon Thomas and released in Autumn 2013. Arrows received positive reviews in the media with The Independent, Rolling Stone and Mojo each awarding it four stars.[8]

Early years[edit]

Scattergood grew up near Colchester, the eldest of three siblings with two younger brothers. Despite misunderstanding in the press, her name Scattergood is her family name. It means "here today, gone tomorrow".[4]

Her mother was an artist and her father an actor. Scattergood's first memory of making music was playing a toy piano when she was aged four.[9] Aged 12, having listened to Suzanne Vega's song "Luka", Scattergood concluded, "Music doesn't have to be strident to carry a strong message" and "That you don't have to shout. You can say things and people will listen if they want to."[4] She has stated she would often listen to Leonard Cohen as a teenager.[10]

Aged 16 she moved to London to attend the Brit School.[4]

Musical career[edit]

After graduation she caught the attention of music industry executive Neil Ferris who took on her management. Ferris then introduced Scattergood to Daniel Miller head of Mute Records. He led her to her current producer Simon Fisher Turner.[4]

Scattergood describes herself as a storyteller. "I write about emotions and moments, not all are biographical."[4] Scattergood's debut single entitled "Glory Hallelujah" was released in 2005 on Ark Records and produced by Greg Walsh. Her September 2007 single "Nitrogen Pink" was released on Mute Records.[4][5] The single "I Hate the Way" which was written on a toy keyboard was released on 22 September 2008 on both limited edition 10 inch vinyl and iTunes.[11] The song has been described as "documenting her emotional instability and penchant for going to bed with unsuitable men".[12]

On 10 November 2008, Scattergood was a guest on the Rob Da Bank show where three of her songs were played ("I Hate The Way", "Untitled 27" and "Nitrogen Pink").[13] Da Bank called her "The Kate Bush of the 21st century". On 28 November, she played an acoustic set on the Janice Long show ("I Hate The Way", "Please Don't Touch" and "I've Got A Heart"). When asked about her discovery of music, she replied, "I found a guitar when I was about 12, in the coat cupboard, it had maybe 3 strings on it ... I just taught myself".

Polly Scattergood was released 9 March 2009 in the United Kingdom.[14] and on 19 May in the United States.

"Other Too Endless" was released as a single from the album on 23 February 2009. It was named "record of the week" on the Steve Lamacq show. The download version features a remix by Vince Clarke who is a member of Erasure, ex Yazoo and ex Depeche Mode.[14] iTunes made it 'Single of the Week' on 30 March 2009. "Please Don't Touch" was her fourth single, released on 4 May 2009. February 2009 saw Scattergood playing several clubs and hosting her own club night. She then re-released "Nitrogen Pink" and released "Bunny Club" as singles. On 7 March 2009 Scattergood gave a live studio session on the BBC Radio 2 Dermot O'Leary show. Her cover version of "Puff, the Magic Dragon" proved to be popular with listeners, introducing many for the first time to the artist. An EP of the iTunes performance was released in August 2009 on iTunes. She supported Amanda Palmer in September 2009 at Union Chapel, Islington.

In 2011 Scattergood recorded a cover of New York New York for EA Games "The Wall" trailer. It premiered in Time Square, "The Wall" trailer won the Mi6 Gold award for "Best Use of Sound" and the Mi6 Silver award for "Best Game Footage Trailer.[15] In 2012 she remixed the M83 song "Reunion".

Scattergood released her critically acclaimed second album, Arrows, on 22 October 2013. The album was produced by Ken Thomas who has previously worked with Sigur Ros and M83 and consists of 10 songs, including singles,"Disco Damaged Kid" "Wanderlust" and "Cocoon", as well as a reworked version of the previously available song, "Silver Lining". "Disco Damaged Kid" won the public vote on 6 Music's roundtable. "Wanderlust" was remixed by Charli XCX and "How To Dress Well" featured in America's Billboard Magazine. The album was well received and awarded four stars by Mojo, The Independent and Rolling Stone Magazine.

Scattergood supported Mute labelmates Goldfrapp at the summer series 2013 concerts at Somerset House, London on 20 July 2013.She also played two sold out nights at London's Madam Jojo's.

After Arrows was released Scattergood decided to team up with her label mate James Chapman, aka the Mercury Nominated artist Maps, to write and record a joint project, entitled “onDeadWaves”.[16]

The seeds of this creative partnership were sown in 2011 at a special Mute label night at London's Roundhouse. The event saw combinations of Mute artists pairing up to perform each other’s song. Though both James and Polly had primarily worked alone before there was a natural chemistry between the two of them on stage and they were encouraged by Mute to try a formal collaboration in the studio, which eventually led in 2016 to the release of the ‘onDeadWaves’ album. The album was received positively by both fans and media alike, with James and Polly playing several sold-out shows and supporting M83 on the latter’s 2016 UK Tour.[17][18]

After the ‘onDeadWaves' album was released Scattergood was approached by Bruce Woolley, who along with Trever Horn, was one of the original writers of the Buggles' track, 'Video Killed The Radio Star’. Woolley was keen to re-record a new version of the track and wanted Scattergood to collaborate with him and the Radio Science Orchestra to supply vocals for this new recording, which was eventually to be titled “Dark Star”. This new version was released by Grammaphone records in 2017.[19][20]

After this Polly desired a change of scenery and decided to move out of her London home and relocate to a small island off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was here that she began writing the lyrics that would eventually form the basis of her next solo album.

Now back from the desert and living in the UK, Polly features on ‘And All Went Dark’, a track from Chris Liebing’s forthcoming debut album for Mute Records[21] and is in the process of finishing her 3rd solo album, title TBC.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions
2009 Polly Scattergood
  • Released 9 March 2009
2013 Arrows
  • Released 21 October 2013


Year Single Album
2005 "Glory Hallelujah" Glory Hallelujah - EP
2007 "Nitrogen Pink" Polly Scattergood
2008 "I Hate The Way"
2009 "Other Too Endless"
"Please Don't Touch"
"Nitrogen Pink"
"Bunny Club"
2013 "Wanderlust" Arrows
2014 "Subsequently Lost"


  1. ^ "Polly Scattergood". Discogs.com. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Polly Scattergood". Facebook.com. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Polly Scattergood". Twitter.com. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Lester, Paul (2008-09-15). "And now for song number 801". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  5. ^ a b Clarke, Betty (2008-09-01). "Polly Scattergood". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  6. ^ McCormick, Neil (2009-01-09). "Not the sound of 2009: the next small things". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  7. ^ Billboard Album Review
  8. ^ "Polly Scattergood Reviews". Meta Critic. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Morley, Cat (2009-07-30). "Polly Scattergood | Issue 16 - The Vintage & Retro Issue". Cutoutandkeep.net. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  10. ^ "Introducing Polly Scattergood". Wears the Trouseers. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Listen Up: Polly Scattergood". Londonist. 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  12. ^ Murphy, John (2008-09-19). "Polly Scattergood - I Hate The Way review". MusicOHM. Archived from the original on 2017-03-03. 
  13. ^ "BBC - Radio 1 - Rob da Bank - Tracklisting". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  14. ^ a b Polly Scattergood Live Dates - Glasswerk.co.uk, 21 January 2009
  15. ^ "Gamasutra - The Art & Business of Making Games". www.gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  16. ^ "MUTE • Artists • On Dead Waves". MUTE. Retrieved 2018-07-05. 
  17. ^ "onDeadWaves - onDeadWaves". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 2018-07-05. 
  18. ^ "ALBUM REVIEW: ON DEAD WAVES – ON DEAD WAVES - XS Noize Music Blog | Discover Daily Music News, Rock, Metal, Punk, Live Reviews & Interviews OnDeadWaves is a collaboration project between two successful Mute artists, James Chapman (A.K.A. Maps) and Polly Scattergood. They worked together at the". XS Noize Music Blog | Discover Daily Music News, Rock, Metal, Punk, Live Reviews & Interviews. 2016-05-20. Retrieved 2018-07-05. 
  19. ^ "Video Killed The Radio Star with POLLY SCATTERGOOD and BRUCE WOOLEY | The Electricity Club". www.electricity-club.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-05. 
  20. ^ "Polly Scattergood cover of 'Video Killed The Radio Star'… No, really | Electronic Sound". electronicsound.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-05. 
  21. ^ "Chris Liebing details debut album on Mute, Burn Slow". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2018-07-05. 

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