Singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore was born to Irish parents in 1979. While coming of age in North Aston, Oxfordshire in England, she ignored the new wave reign of the '80s and instead began to seek out her parents' Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell albums. Later, she found comfort in the work of Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, and the Replacements, naturally absorbing the intelligence behind each artist's work.
Gilmore began writing poetry and short stories to amuse herself amidst her conventional surroundings, but she needed something more tangible. She left home at age 16 to go work in a recording studio. Gilmore also founded her own Shameless Records and released her debut album, Burning Dorothy, in 1998. The Lipstick Conspiracies and the As If EP followed two years later, and Gilmore's star power started to buzz.
In the new millennium, Gilmore inked a deal with Compass in the U.S. and finally graced American shores with the 2002 release of Rules for Jokers. Gilmore's third album, 2003's Avalanche, was a much more daring effort for her, and the single "Juliet" earned her her first Top 40 hit in the U.K. A year later, Gilmore released a collection of cover songs entitled Loft Music. This self-released effort featured Gilmore's renditions of songs by the Buzzcocks, Paul Westerberg, Jimmy Cliff, and the Ramones. Songs from the Gutter (2005) gathered career-spanning cuts not previously available, as well as other hidden treasures from Gilmore's catalog of unreleased material. In August 2006, Gilmore issued the emotionally charged Harpo's Ghost, her first set of original material since Avalanche.