Richard Hawley (born Richard Willis Hawley, 17 January 1967, Sheffield, United Kingdom) is a critically-acclaimed guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer. Hawley initially found success as a member of Britpop band Longpigs in the 1990's, and formerly Treebound Story. When a drug-filled torpor after an extensive tour of America brought the band to the brink of extinction in 1997, Hawley was asked to play with Pulp by his close friend and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. "They saved my life," Hawley later recalled, "I was going mental with drink and drugs.
The subsequent world tour in support of Pulp's album This Is Hardcore left Hawley emotionally and physically drained on his return to his home city. During this time, he even considered leaving the music industry altogether.
It was an encounter at Hawley's Sheffield home that led the longtime collaborator out of the shadows. Impressed by a home demo of his songs, both Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey urged Hawley to head into the studio and begin work on his first solo release. 2000's eponymous mini album encouraged Hawley to return to the studio once more. In 2001 Late Night Final, named after the cry of vendors selling the Sheffield Star evening newspaper on the streets of the city, was released to positive reviews from the press, if unspectacular sales. Two years later Hawley released Lowedges, another Sheffield reference, this time to the curiously named suburb of the city that had so entranced the young Hawley when he had seen it on the destination board of a bus. NME called Lowedges the "first great album of 2003" and it topped an end of year poll held by Virgin Radio.
In 2004 Hawley signed to Mute Records, a division of the giant EMI. Legal wrangling delayed Cole's Corner, Hawley's fourth release, until September 2005. Again Hawley mines the theme of his beloved home city, this time referencing the location where courting lovers meet. Cole's Corner eventually gained a nomination for the acclaimed Mercury Prize in 2006.
Hawley's work as a session musician and producer remains in high demand. After contributing towards her eponymous 2004 release, Hawley also supported Nancy Sinatra on her European tour in 2005. In the past, Hawley has also worked with artists as diverse as New York's A Girl Called Eddy, All Saints (he played the guitar solo on their cover of "Under The Bridge"), Nellee Hooper's soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet and with Jarvis Cocker's Relaxed Muscle project.
Aside from his solo and session work, Hawley occasionally tours with The Feral Cats, a side project that enables him to explore his interest in rockabilly music.
Possibly due to his aforementioned rockabilly interest, Hawley once auditioned for the role as guitarist in the rockabilly-inclined Morrissey's band.
Fiercely proud of his working class upbringing, Hawley recently described himself as "jurassic labour" in response to a question about the New Labour project. He lives in Sheffield, with his wife and children and is an avid Sheffield Wednesday supporter.
In 2007 Hawley released a new studio album, Lady's Bridge (the title refers to a bridge Hawley regulary crosses in his native Sheffield) again to much critical acclaim.
Hawley's album Truelove's Gutter was released in September 2009 and followed that October by a UK nationwide tour. The album was nominated for, and won the Mojo record of the year.
Following the success of his award-winning, hugely acclaimed 2009 album 'Truelove's Gutter', Richard Hawley will release his sixth studio album, 'Standing At The Sky's Edge' - his first for new label Parlophone - on 7th May.
Recorded at Sheffield's Yellow Arch Studio in 2011, 'Standing At The Sky's Edge' marks a seismic shift in direction for Hawley. The album is a euphoric, sonic assault on the senses, channelling elements of psychedelia, space rock and ragas with heavy riffs and raw, visceral guitar solos - as well as more familiar, tender moments - which will surprise Hawley's fans and peers alike.