About Ben Howard
If there’s anything that pulls at the heartstrings more vigorously than Ben Howard’s deft guitar work—a style that combines graceful fluidity with percussive power—it’s his soft, supple voice delicately spinning haunting, intimate tales. Growing up in Totnes, South Devon, England, Howard (born in 1987) was raised on a steady diet of John Martyn, Joni Mitchell, and Donovan—and it shows. His taste for British and Laurel Canyon folk laid the foundation for the singer/songwriter’s earliest creations and still infuses every one of his songs. After building a following in Cornwall, where he attended university (and dropped out six months before graduation), Howard began scoring gigs alongside Xavier Rudd and Brett Dennen and eventually signed with Island Records. With wistful love songs like “Only Love,” his 2011 debut album, Every Kingdom, garnered comparisons to fellow singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who released his own debut just three weeks prior. But digging deeper, Howard’s dreamy, atmospheric folk—gently embellished with cello, keyboards, and bass—fell more in line with pensive indie troubadours like Bon Iver and Damien Rice, and it earned him a nomination for the prestigious Mercury Prize. His evolution since has been as deliberate and slow-burning as his most moving melodies. On 2014’s I Forget Where We Were, he weaves more intricate, harmonics-glistening folk, while on 2018’s psychedelia-tinged Noonday Dream, he cushions it all in lush electronic textures. By 2021’s expansive Collections From The Whiteout, Howard brought in producer Aaron Dessner (The National), string arranger Rob Moose, and a large cast of musicians for a vibrant mix of acoustic folk, experimental pop, ambient, and minimal music—pushing his vintage-inspired sound further into the future.
BORNApril 24, 1987