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St. Vincent

The prestigious Berklee College of Music is located in Boston. Its mission is to "educate, train, and develop students to excel in music as a career." What's tough is that many creative people tend to clash with any form of structure. "I think that with music school and art school, or school in any form, there has to be some system of grading and measurement," said Annie Erin Clark, otherwise known as St. Vincent. "The things they can teach you are quantifiable. While all that is good and has its place, at some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music." After three years at Berklee, Clark dropped out and returned to Texas where she joined The Polyphonic Spree. That was followed by a stint with Sufjan Stevens.

In '06, Clark began recording under her stage name St. Vincent, a reference to Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center where the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas died in 1953. "It's the place where poetry comes to die," she has rather cryptically said. "That's me."

St. Vincent's debut, "Marry Me" landed amidst critical acclaim. The '07 set earned comparisons with Kate Bush. At the '08 PLUG Independent Music Awards, St. Vincent won the Female Artist of the Year honor - she was nominated for two others (New Artist and Music Video).

The next year saw sophomore release "Actor" which peaked at #9 on Billboard's Independent Albums Chart, but only reached #90 on the Billboard 200. Still, the album did better commercially than its predecessor.

Clark was even featured on the cover of SPIN magazine just prior to the release of her third album, "Strange Mercy," which went to #19 on the US Billboard 200.

One of '12's more intriguing collaborations was St. Vincent and the eclectic former frontman of the Talking Heads, David Byrne.

The pair had began working together in '09, after performing together live and working on "Here Lies Love," a concept album by Byrne and Fatboy Slim, about the life of the former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos and the woman who raised her—Estrella Cumpas. St. Vincent was heard on "Every Drop Of Rain."

To promote "Love This Giant," Byrne and St. Vincent worked with a digital company to distribute the promotional single "Who" and the track "Weekend In The Dust" was available for streaming on the album's official website.

The tour to promote the album featured eight brass players, a keyboardist, and a drummer.

"I don't think it's the best record I'll ever make, but I think it's a good record," said Clark of "Strange Mercy." And she was right, at least according to Rolling Stone magazine, who proclaimed St. Vincent's self-titled fourth album "her best ever." The '14 release, with lead single "Birth In Reverse," was her debut on Republic Records.

The critically acclaimed album peaked at #12 in the Billboard 200 and won a '15 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. It was only the second time a female solo artist had won the award (Sinead O'Connor was the first).

Of course, anyone with a high profile has no secrets. English fashion model, actress and singer Cara Delevingne discussed her romantic relationship with St. Vincent in Vogue magazine. But the relationship ended some months later.

There were also some high profile appearances.

St. Vincent fronted Nirvana on "Lithium" during the 29th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She performed on the season finale of Saturday Night Live, appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the inaugural Soluna: International Music & Arts Festival, and played at Neil Young's 29th annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, in Mountain View, CA.

Then St. Vincent was named the '17 Record Store Day ambassador. She was the first female Rock performer to hold that position in Record Store Day's 10-year history. The annual event supported 1,400 independent brick-and-mortar music shops through special vinyl and CD releases.

St. Vincent had her own record store day with the release of "Masseduction" later in the year. She described the album as being "all about sex and drugs and sadness." Delevingne provided backing vocals.

St. Vincent Discography


2003 Ratsliveonnoevilstar
2006 Paris Is Burning
2007 Marry Me
2009 Actor
2011 Strange Mercy
2012 Love This Giant (with David Byrne)
2014 St. Vincent
2017 Masseduction

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