Twice-nominated for a prestigious Nationwide Mercury Music Prize with 1998’s ‘Red Rice’ and 2003’s ‘Anglicana’ Eliza is also the winner of more than five BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and has presented awards for MOJO magazine and been invited to judge at both the Q Awards and the Ivor Novello Awards. In 2003 she became the first English traditional musician to be nominated for a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music.
In March 2005 Eliza co-presented The BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards with Benjamin Zephaniah and later the highlights of the Cambridge Folk Festival with Mark Radcliffe, events that were broadcast live on BBC Four.
She was a regular co-presenter on the Sony-Award-winning BBC R2 Mark Radcliffe show and has made several appearances on BBC TV's ‘Later… With Jools Holland’, as well as various TV shows across the World including NBC's Late Show with Conan O'Brian. In addition, Eliza has presented her own four-part series on the history of English folk music on BBC R2, was the subject of an hour-long documentary (ITV's ‘Heaven and Earth’). In May 2008 she was the subject of another documentary on Channel 5, ‘My Music’ and also featured prominently in the acclaimed BBC Four ‘Folk Britannia’ season.
Stewart Lee, comedian and writer of ‘Jerry Springer: the Opera’ describes Eliza as "Not the Messiah, but a very naughty girl". Championed by John Peel, Andy Kershaw and Billy Bragg from an early age, in 2001 when she played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury the festival's organiser Michael Eavis claimed to have discovered her.
Not only enthralled by folk music from the UK, Eliza featured on Billy's Grammy Award winning albums with Wilco, ‘Mermaid Avenue’ volumes One and Two, which celebrated the work of Woody Guthrie. In 2001 she was a part of Hal Wilner's concerts in Los Angeles and London celebrating the work of the American archivist Harry Smith, alongside Elvis Costello, Beck and Van Dyke Parks among others. This collaboration has continued with her inclusion in the ongoing Rogue's Gallery project created by Wilner and actor Johnny Depp, also featuring Bryan Ferry, Sting, the Wainwright/McGarrigle family, Richard and Teddy Thompson and actor Tim Robbins.
Other noted collaborations include a startling array of musical heroes from around the globe, from live work with pianist-songwriter Ed Harcourt, guesting with Patrick Wolf on his most recent album ‘The Bachelor’, the Imagined Village (a World music and English trad adventure with members of The Bays, Transglobal Ungerground and Afro Celt Soundsystem), Paul Weller, Jools Holland, jazz legend Bill Frisell, seminal Scots Latin/trad fusion band Salsa Celtica, Finnish Lord of the Rings composers Vartinna, Joan Baez, Cerys Matthews and 1990's dance pioneers Red Snapper to many, many more.
Eliza also produces or co-produces all her own records and has co-produced both of her parents' last solo albums and most recently ‘Gift’, the much acclaimed Eliza Carthy/Norma Waterson album, released in July this year, that she also arranged and played most of the instrumentation for.
Touring on and off since the age of fourteen Eliza has appeared at a huge number of live events, multi-artist concerts and benefits from Robin Hood's Bay Village Hall to the Albert Hall. She has been a part of three Meltdowns at London's Southbank: those of Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Richard Thompson. Some say it's time she curated her own!
The patron of two longstanding and well-respected folk festivals - Cheltenham and Whitby – Eliza is an ambassador for Resonance FM radio and the Vagina Monologues. In addition to this, she is on the Folk Advisory Committee at the Sage Gateshead with North-East-based folk/educational organisation Folkworks and involved with the English Folk Dance and Song Society which recently made her Vice-President.
Yorkshire-born and based in Edinburgh since 1997, Eliza Carthy grew up immersed in the world of traditional English music. She has lived a life based on the philosophy that it is a genre worthy of and equal to any other, and that musicians need no boundaries and deserve no restrictions to what they do as artists. To her, all music is connected and should be taken at all times at face value. This makes for a sometimes bewildering body of work that straddles genres and is always fascinating and adventurous, never static or predictable. She tries never to repeat herself which makes less for comfortable greatest hits shows and more for intelligent, questioning, moving and quite often hilarious evenings of mutual, good-natured confusion and dialogue between artist and audience.
She divides her time between touring and recording with her legendary parents Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson (as Waterson, Carthy and the Gift Band) and pioneering solo and band projects, currently focusing on her solo songwriting material and the Imagined Village.