For St. Vincent, Music Is The Easy Part | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

For St. Vincent, Music Is The Easy Part

Play associated audio

If you've ever wanted to unlock your emotions without really talking about them, Annie Clark understands. The 28-year-old musician performs under the name St. Vincent and has become known for layering her sweet voice over sometimes harsh, creepy electronic and guitar sounds.

Her newest album, Strange Mercy, is raw and revealing: It comes out of a difficult year for Clark and her family. Clark says, however, that while she does connect with personal issues in her songwriting, she prefers to let the music speak for itself.

"I think in some ways, it can do a listener a disservice to explain a song," Clark tells NPR's David Greene. "I think I'd rather leave a little room for people to put themselves in it."

That said, Clark is willing to unpack the occasional standout line. "Surgeon," a song from Strange Mercy that Clark has described as especially candid and close to her heart, contains the queasy couplet, "Best, finest surgeon / Come cut me open."

"I was reading Marilyn Monroe's journals," Clark says. "She wrote down the sentence, 'Best, finest surgeon — Lee Strasberg, come cut me open,' because she was studying with Lee Strasberg at the Actor's Studio at the time, and he was a tremendous mentor to her. And I just thought that was brilliant and really strange. I definitely wanted this particular song to sound like someone was kind of in a Benzedrine and white-wine coma — like a housewife's cocktail."

Clark says while 2010 was an emotionally rough year for her, she's not depressive by nature. Creating Strange Mercy, she says, helped remind her of that.

"This record kind of re-focused me. Life can be challenging and sad ... but music is the easy part," Clark says. "That's the thing that I love doing more than anything else, so I approached it that way. I didn't fuss over things too much; I just let this thing be what it wanted to be, and that was a release for me."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The World Music Education of Philip Glass

In his new memoir, Music Without Words, the composer explains how a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar sparked a fascination with the cultures of the world and their music.
NPR

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

The company says Diet Pepsi consumers are concerned about aspartame. But the Food and Drug Administration has long affirmed that the sweetener is safe in amounts commonly used by beverage companies.
NPR

8 Obama Jokes That Stood Out From The White House Correspondents Dinner

Every year, the president sits down for dinner with Washington reporters and delivers a standup routine. From his "bucket list" to Hillary Clinton, here's what he came up with this year.
NPR

As Health Apps Hop On The Apple Watch, Privacy Will Be Key

The notion of receiving nutrition advice from artificial intelligence on your wrist may seem like science fiction. But health developers are betting this kind of behavior will become the norm.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.