Who Is St. Vincent?
If you are familiar with Ernie Ball Music Man guitars then you may have seen an electric guitar that in some people's minds looks like a dress or resembles a woman's figure. The name of the guitar is St. Vincent, named after the artist whom Ernie Ball collaborated/designed the guitar with. At Octave Music Store we have not one but two of these amazing guitars and when people look at them or play them I always get asked who is St. Vincent. If you are not interested in alternative or progressive rock music then you probably have not heard of St. Vincent. Let me tell you about who St. Vincent is and what her music is like.
Let’s first talk about who she is and where she comes from. St. Vincent is just a stage name for Anne Erin Clark, a music artist who is a multi-instrumental artist who performs in her solo group called St. Vincent. Clark first started playing guitar at the age of 12, then in high school joined the jazz band at Lake Highlands High School in Texas. After graduating high school Clark attended Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts for just three years before she dropped out and moved back to Dallas Texas where she joined The Polyphonic Spree. As a side note to understand the music of St. Vincent, The Polyphonic Spree is a choral rock band that mixes the sounds of a choir, and several brass and string instruments with that of a rock band. And in 2004 Clark joined Glenn Branca’s 100 guitar orchestra that performed for the Queen. In 2006 Clark left The Polyphonic Spree and ventured to a solo career where she donned the stage name St. Vincent.
St. Vincent’s music is a mixture of jazz, indie rock, chamber rock and a splash of pop music tendencies. As a listener I can hear the harmonic structure and chord changes of jazz music with the vocal tendencies and electronic sounds of pop music, then St. Vincent throws in the indie rock lyrical themes. I will be openly honest in this that there is no one way to describe and label the music of St. Vincent but there are many styles and genres that culminate into her music to make it what it is. Now I would ask how does an artist get to the point of creating music like this? The answer is to look at her experiences in past groups and what music did Clark listen to as a teenager. Clark states that some of her biggest influences come from artists like David Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads, Nirvana, Patti Smith, Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew. St. Vincent likes to play with her listeners with-in the lyrics of her songs, she will start to sing about something and then catch the listener off guard with just a quick sexual reference. St. Vincent is real with her words but also strange in the approach that she puts out for the audience. The music is always what comes from Clark’s mind, it comes from the experiences in her life; tragedy, love, excitement, and dreams are all some of the areas that are expressed in the music of St. Vincent. The music is Clark’s way to express herself and show her life experiences, she does this not just in the vocal parts but also in her guitar playing. The guitar style is unique with her style being flowing and smooth like a classical guitarist but then hard and grunge like with her use of accents and power chords. St. Vincent is never shy about being different with her playing, audiences can see and hear this with the way that she uses a guitar slide and also finger strums in songs. If you want a great representation of what the music of St. Vincent is like, listen to the album Masseduction, her last studio album that came out in 2017. In this album you will hear how seduction leads to love and how love can at times just end, since love and seduction are just parts of nature and nothing in nature can be controlled. Listeners will hear the mixture of pop music and her grungy guitar sounds then throw in the smooth vocal choruses to get the art of St. Vincent. And it is these tendencies that you will hear that make up the music of St. Vincent, that I can only sum up with one word, ART.
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