Heather Nova, nee Frith, was born on July 6, 1967 in her home country, Bermuda. She spent the vast majority of her childhood aboard a 40-foot sailboat with her mother, father, sister and brother. The only electronic device on the vessel was a wind-powered tape player that her father fashioned for her. On it, she listened to Neil Young, Van Morrison, and the Velvet Underground, falling in love with music in the process. While sailing she learned how to play the guitar and the violin.
Seeking a stable, normal life for their children, Heather’s parents moved to Rhode Island when she was 15 years old. Heather, not surprisingly, found it hard to adjust to a social life. Enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design, she found solace in her creative pursuits. She studied painting and film, and composed soundtracks for her 8mm movies. When she realized that making the soundtrack was more fun than making the film, she decided to just focus on music outright.
After college, Heather moved to New York to pursue her music. She continued to dabble in soundtracks while also shopping demos of her singer-songwriter material around the city. A lack of response from the music industry led her to leave New York and try her luck in London.
Overseas, Heather slowly began her career. She played in whatever coffee shops or small venues she could and tried her best to network among record labels. She gathered steam, but still had to keep her day job in the office of the Bermuda travel council. Finally, the guitarist known as Youth, from the well-regarded British ’80s band Killing Joke, heard Heather perform, and helped her release her first four-song EP.
Released in 1990, the These Walls EP is now something of a collector’s item and it was just the launching pad Heather needed. She continued to make herself known, and released her first full-length album, Glow Stars, in 1993 — and quickly followed it up with a live effort, Blow, also in 1993. She soon developed quite a reputation as a solid live performer.
In September 1995, her second single, “Walk the World,” was released, which topped the charts in the U.K., and made waves in the U.S. as well. This was followed by the brilliant album Oyster. Heather responded to her new successes with an intensive touring regime, which carried her halfway around the globe for two years.
By the end of it all, she was, of course, exhausted. She returned to Bermuda for some well-deserved downtime, and regained the inspiration required to write some new songs. The album Sirens appeared in 1998, a much more mellow compilation, tinged with electronic sounds.
Among the many shows she did in support of Sirens were a string of dates with the 1998 Lilith Fair, an all-female touring festival that put Heather in the company of her brethren, like Sarah McLachlan, Suzanne Vega and the Indigo Girls. She continued touring with her longtime, and now renowned, band, and then returned to Bermuda once more.
After another songwriting stint in her home country, Heather came up with the more rootsy, down-home-sounding South, released in the U.K. in 2001 and in the U.S. in 2002. It expanded her notoriety in the States especially, and earned her soundtrack spots on Dawson’s Creek and Felicity, as well as the star-studded, all-Beatles covers soundtrack to the film I Am Sam.
Heather was married to her producer, Felix Todd in 2001. Her brother, Mishka, is also a singer-songwriter, with one top-40 hit in the U.K. Her next record will be released sometime in 2003 by the famed British label Big Cat Records.