Biography for the musician Henry Bateman

‘Perhaps the greatest undiscovered talent today’

Spill Magazine

At the age of 23, Henry has produced three solo albums, received a degree in popular music (as well as numerous academic awards in recognition of his ability as a songwriter and guitarist) and is making a name for himself around the UK and Europe.

Whilst still at school, Henry made his debut album ‘Take A Form’ in friends’ kitchens and garages. Henry was beginning to reveal a gift for turning stories into songs; for crafting a melody, and for being totally fearless with it – whilst presenting us with his burgeoning ability on the acoustic guitar. The very creation of this album at such a young age conveys a soul with an enduring passion for music-making. Planet Stereo said: ‘Henry Bateman’s Take a Form is truly a masterpiece from beginning to end. He is a gifted storyteller, and he showcases that with ease on the album.’

At the age of eighteen, Henry received an Exhibition Award from Trinity Guildhall in recognition of an exceptional performance in his Grade Eight exam. He continued to study the classical guitar during his time at Leeds College of Music, under the tutelage of Peter Batchelar. ‘The classical guitar became a springboard for me. The real interest came when I applied that technique to the steel string guitar. I became consumed by Michael Hedges’ music. It blew my mind how someone could be so innovative with regards to technique – whilst also creating truly profound pieces.’ He went on to study the music of guitarists such as Hedges, Thomas Leeds, Pierre Bensusan and Eric Roche – this passion for his instrument frequently adding exquisite textures to his songs.

Henry Bateman's songwriting has a maturity and nuance that suggests a seasoned pro with a life filled with experiences to draw on so it always comes as a shock that he is as young as he is. His music is always thoughtful and considered and he creates completely unique and emotional sonic landscapes with his beautifully crafted narratives and sound worlds. His craftsmanship and his attention to detail is clear in every musical decision he makes and the effort and work he puts in is an inspiration to all of us.

Henry studied Popular Music Composition at Leeds College of Music, where he received the annual prizes for both Popular Music and for Songwriting, and graduated with an exemplary first for his final portfolio of compositions. During his time here, Henry began to get invited to various commercial songwriting camps around Europe, such as the International Writer’s Camp in Haarlem, Holland. Henry was also a participant in the first House of Europe project, headed by Metropolia Music College in Helsinki, which took place in Pescara, Italy in February 2018. This saw songwriting collaborations between songwriting students from all around Europe, and three Nigerian men who were refugees from their native country.

Whilst at the college, Henry formed his band, who performed gigs up and down the UK for a number of years as ‘The Henry Bateman Band’. The BBC Acoustic Show’s presenter Johnny Coppin offered these words about the band: ‘A wonderful new band with sweeping soundscapes and insightful songs, together with glorious guitar playing and arrangements. Definitely not to be missed.’

"Not so much a breath of fresh air – more a full force musical gale that lifts you to places you didn't know existed. A very extraordinarily gifted young man; one of the coming musical generation's front-runners in the making"

In 2017, Henry released his second album Throwing & Catching’, followed by 2019’s Hide & Seek. Spill Magazine said: ‘Hide & Seek is an album that in some ways redefines what folk music can be’, whilst describing Henry as ‘perhaps the greatest undiscovered talent today’. These albums convey the true wealth of Henry’s songwriting talent and the individuality of his voice. He takes us to the streets of Leeds, to rainy beaches, to 1930s Germany; and makes us feel empathy for kidnappers and arsonists like. He frequently drapes his wonderful fingerstyle guitar playing over these songs – but makes full use of his incredible six-piece band, who dress the songs both subtly and distinctively. That said – be it in the unsettling orchestration of ‘Seaside’ or the Radiohead-esque textures of ‘Should I?’, Henry shows us that his will to chase the possibilities of arrangement have no bounds. To promote these albums, Henry performed all over the UK as a band and a solo act. Notable dates included opening for Joey Landreth on several dates of his UK tour, for Mike Dawes, and for Sam Brookes.

Henry currently resides in West Yorkshire, teaching guitar and songwriting whilst putting together his fourth album. The best is still to come.

‘Henry is a really inspiring artist to write with. His enthusiasm made me feel very comfortable writing something together, although I normally feel uncomfortable doing so. He knows how to guide a writing session into becoming a success, while still leaving enough space for the other to bring in ideas’

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