Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, is a singer-songwriter known for her wicked guitar playing and electronic-pop, wacky sounding overtures. Starting out in the choral rock band, The Polyphonic Spree, she joined Surfjan Stevens’ touring band in 2006 before releasing her first album, ‘Marry me’. Since then, she has delivered another four albums including a collaboration with Talking Heads front man, David Byrne. Her most recent album ‘St. Vincent’ has been her most accessible and successful work so far, opening her up to a wider audience. Her live shows are becoming known for their theatrical experience; check out her robotic dance moves.
Where is she from?
Annie grew up in Texas before going on the road with her famous aunt and uncle jazz duo, Patti and Tuckie. She toured Japan with them, learning the ropes of the music industry, and would often be the awe of Japanese rock stars who would see a little fifteen year old Annie in the dressing room, playing Hendrix on the acoustic.
What does she sound like?
What doesn’t she sound like? St Vincent’s five albums so far have showcased her talent for art rock, pop, electro pop, jazz, experimental and orchestral music. It doesn’t stop there though, as St Vincent is also writing songs for movie soundtracks and metal riffs have been known to creep into some of her tunes.
Her second album ‘Actor’ featured lots of instrumentation, trumpets, violins, cellos and woodwind instruments galore and album number five, ‘St. Vincent’, deviated towards a more synth based model. Her guitar playing is in its own right mad: crafty scales and jazzy chord progressions feature on a lot of her songs – check ‘The Strangers’ and ‘Paris is burning’. As well as her ‘Fuzz pedal fuckery’ – as one YouTube video is titled – and whammy madness, she is a true 21st century guitar hero.
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Songs to get you started
Paris is Burning (2007), Human Racing (2007), Your lips are red (2007), Marry me (2007), The Strangers (2009), The Party (2009), Actor Out Of Work (2009), Cruel (2011), Chloe In The Afternoon (2011), Cheerleader (2011), Surgeon (2011), Year Of The Tiger (2011), KROKODIL (2012), Rattlesnake (2015), Birth In Reverse (2015), Digital Witness (2015), I prefer your love (2015), Huey Newton (2015), Prince Johnny (2015), Teenage Talk (2015)
What is she up to now?
Ernie Ball released a ‘St. Vincent’ guitar in March, as Clark joins other iconic guitar legends in having their own signature guitar.
Bonus points facts
St Vincent gets her name from Nick Cave’s song ‘There She Goes my Beautiful World’ (the lyric “And Dylan Thomas died drunk in St. Vincent’s hospital”).
She also appeared on an episode of ‘Guitar Moves’ showing her tricks to presenter Matt Sweeney.
After touring with her first band, Clark enrolled at Berklee Music College for two and a half years, before dropping out, saying, “I just started kind of thinking, what is a BA in music going to get me, when I just want to play shows and be in a band?” St Vincent says she gets her finger style from her jazz guitarist uncle, Tuck Andress. “You couldn’t find a better finger style player on the planet.”
Her song ‘The Strangers’ was sampled by Kid Cudi on the song Maniac for his 2010 album ‘Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager’.
St Vincent covered ‘Lithium’ with Nirvana at Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2014.
She collaborated with Talking Head frontman David Bryne to produce the 2012 album ‘Love this giant’.
St Vincent is known for playing a vintage Bobkat Harmony guitar but has said using the whammy bar would knock the guitar out of tune for the rest of the song.
Clark appeared alongside Taylor Swift and Beck to perform the latter’s song ‘Dreams’ at the LA Staples centre.
Ernie Ball released the St. Vincent signature model in 2016.
In 2015 she won the Grammy for ‘Best alternative album’.