St. Vincent (musician)

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Come, my love, the stage is waiting,
Be the one to save my saving grace.

Annie Erin Clark (born 28 September 1982) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter who performs using the moniker St. Vincent. She has also been a member of Sufjan Stevens' touring band and the The Polyphonic Spree.

For the similarly named English musician and poet, see Anne Clark


You can’t apologize your way into people’s hearts ... You have to go full force.
I wish I had a gentle mind and a spine made up of iron.
  • The drug issue is hard to separate from a class issue, an education issue, a wonky foreign policy issue, and a race issue. What I do know is, be it caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, or adrenaline, let's face it: people like to get high. From Starbucks to Budweiser to your own brain, everybody's a pusher these days. If I could substitute another drug to be consumed in the country as much as alcohol is, it would be helium from children's birthday party balloons. Try not laughing when someone sounds like a chipmunk!
  • I always looked at any instrument as just a tool, an expressive voice to write with. It even differs from guitar to guitar. Some guitars demand that you play them delicately and really respect the instrument, and some beg to be abused. Same with piano. I know with guitar, I'm intimate with it enough to know when I put my fingers here, it will sound like this. I prefer writing on piano because it's always a surprise.
  • A lot of the songs have a duality about them; one part is totally sincere, and there's another part that is kind of smirking and making light of it all. Or there's a very dark streak about it.
    • On her album Marry Me, as quoted in "The PopWatch Interview: St. Vincent's Annie Clark" in PopWatch (11 July 2007)
  • I like the material, which makes it easy to sort of delve into it, and then also I was too tired to be nervous. I was just happy. The anxiety, the anxious energy was not there, because I was too exhausted.
  • I love the idea that something would be whimsical, and like "delightful", you know, but also disgusting — so I like this sort of, you know, a really gnarly guitar — really gross, disgusting guitar and then a — really a whimsical... — it's one of those things you can only describe in sort of awkward hand gestures and eye motions. Imagine!
    • On one of her compositions on the album Actor, in an interview for Billboard magazine (20 March 2009)
  • I think anyone who is creative or self-aware in any way, there’s like a humility to it, or I should say a humiliation to it. But there’s also a self-delusion — the provisional ego, as my uncle would call it. The self-delusion is the thing that makes you go, oh you know what, all the music that I’ve ever loved in the world, I want to be a part of that — hey, listen to what I have to say, it’s really important, it’s going to matter.”
    You can’t apologize your way into people’s hearts ... You have to go full force.
Fair Paris is burning after all.
What me worry? I never do
I'm always amused and amusing you...
  • Leaden trumpets spit the soot of power they say
    "I'm on your side when nobody is, cause nobody is.
    Come sit right here and sleep while I slip poison in your ear"
    • "Paris Is Burning"
  • We are waiting on a telegram to give us news of the fall
    I am sorry to report dear Paris is burning after all
    We have taken to the streets in open rejoice revolting
    We are dancing a black waltz — fair Paris is burning after all.
    • "Paris Is Burning"
  • Sticks and stones have made me smarter
    it's words that cut me under my armor they say...
    • "Paris Is Burning"
  • What me worry? I never do
    I'm always amused and amusing you
    • "What Me Worry?"
  • What me worry? I never do.
    Life is one charming ruse for us lucky few.

    Have I fooled you, dear?
    The time is coming near when I'll give you my hand and I'll say,
    "It's been grand, but... I'm out of here
    I'm out of here"

    • "What Me Worry?"

QRO Magazine interview (2007)

The first thing I did when I picked up any instrument, when I was five years old, was write a song.
"Annie Clark of St. Vincent, Polyphonic Spree" in QRO Magazine (9 July 2007)
In a really great way, you simultaneously try to take up as little and as much space as possible.
  • The first thing I did when I picked up any instrument, when I was five years old, was write a song. It's kind of funny; I thought about it, statements that it's a "solo effort" — it's kind of like, "Oh, well I've been doing this since I was five." I was kind of doing this before I did anything else.
  • I was recording with The Polyphonic Spree, recording The Fragile Army, and we were holed up in January in Minnesota at our studio. They called Mike in to play, and we just hit it off, in a really, really special way. Actually, the night after meeting and having a conversation with him, I sat down and I wrote "All My Stars Aligned". And I just kind of had an idea, "Wouldn't it be amazing if Mike Garson played? So the guy who played solo in Aladdin Sane, wouldn't it be amazing if this guy played this song?"
    And I wrote it, based on a conversation we had, but I didn't want to ask him, because I felt shy, and nervous, and everything. It was a few months later, actually, we kind of got in touch, and, 'Oh, what are you doing?', and I sent him a couple songs that I was working on. I sent him "Your Lips Are Red" and I sent him "All My Stars Aligned", just to show, you know, 'wink-wink, hint-hint, this is what I'm doing.' And he wrote me back, the things that we'd said, and asked to play on the record. So I was, 'Well, okay, if you insist…'
    That worked out pretty miraculously.
  • I enjoyed, and I tried to soak up and learn everything as fast as I could from doing any kind of music. It's good to have a gig. If you're a musician, it's good to be working.
    I love doing all of it, but Marry Me is my baby, St. Vincent is my child.
  • In a really great way, you simultaneously try to take up as little and as much space as possible.
    • On working in the ensemble group The Polyphonic Spree.
  • Some songs I wrote that night, and some songs took nine months to arrange, get how I positioned them. Some songs I wrote parts of when I was twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen… Just putting it together, just finding the right place for it. So it's really been a long time coming. ... I'm actually really restless, in the sense that I'd rather be always making something new. I'm really excited about making a second record. I've got a lot of things up my sleeve, I guess.
  • I certainly owe a lot of awesomeness to blogs, to people who have been blogging about a show, or blogging about a single, or blogging about something. It's just amazing to me that it seems to be a nice equalizer. People don't necessarily need the clout of a big "record company machine" to put their face on a billboard. It seems more organic and honest in a lot of ways, for fans of music to be critics I suppose.
  • I'm a debut artist, I'm not established — nobody would write about it if they didn't like it. So I'm waiting for the next album for the backlash.
  • Here's an awesome tour story: I was playing these two shows last fall in Europe, we played at Reykjavík, and the three or four days we were in Reykjavík happened to be the one and only Sugarcubes reunion show… So it was like, tour of a lifetime.

Marry Me (2007)

While Jesus is saving I'm spending all my days
in backgrounds and landscapes with the languages of saints...
  • I'm not your mother's favorite dog
    I'm not the carpet you walk on
    I'm not one small atomic bomb
    I'm not any any any anything at all.
    • "Now, Now"
  • Now, now ...
    You don't mean that say you're sorry

    You don't mean that ... I'll make you sorry
    • "Now, Now"
  • I'm not the pawn to your king
    I'm not your world on a string
    I'm not anyone you'll beat
    I'm not anything
    • "Now, Now"
  • While people will cheer on the spectacle we've made
    I'm sitting and sculpting menageries of saints.
    • "Jesus Saves, I Spend"
  • Come, my love, the stage is waiting,
    Be the one to save my saving grace.
    • "Jesus Saves, I Spend"
  • While Jesus is saving, I'm spending all my grace,
    on rosy-red pallor of lights on center stage.
    While people have cheered on the awful mess we've made,
    through storms of red roses we've exited the stage
    • "Jesus Saves, I Spend"
  • Your lips are red
    My face is red from reading your red lips
    • "Your Lips Are Red"
  • Your skin's so fair its not fair
    • "Your Lips Are Red"
I read the signs
I got all my stars aligned
My amulets, my charms
I set all my false alarms
So I'll be someone
Who won't be forgotten
  • Marry me, John, I'll be so good to you —
    You won't realize I'm gone
    You won't realize I'm gone.
    • "Marry Me"
  • Many people wanna make money, make love,
    make friends, make peace with death —
    But most mainly want to win the game they came to win
    they want to come out ahead.
    But you, you're a rock, with a heart like a socket I can plug into at will.
    And will you guess when I come around next.
    I hope your open sign is blinking still.
    • "Marry Me"
  • As for me I would have to agree,
    I'm as fickle as a paper doll
    being kicked by the wind —
    when I touch down again
    I'll be in someone elses arms
    • "Marry Me"
There are no stars aligned
No amulets no charms
To bring you back to my arms
There's just this human heart
That's built with this human fault
What was your question
Love is the answer
  • I read the signs,
    I got all my stars aligned
    My amulets, my charms,
    I set all my false alarms,
    So I'll be someone
    Who won't be forgotten.
    • "All My Stars Aligned"
  • I do a dance to make the rain come,
    Smile to keep the sky from falling down, down, down, down.
    Collect the love that I've been given
    Build a nest for us to sleep in here
    You know it's real.
    • "All My Stars Aligned"
All your praying moments amount to just one breath
Please keep your victory
But give me little death.
  • There are no signs,
    There are no stars aligned,
    No amulets no charms,
    To bring you back to my arms.
    There's just this human heart.
    That's built with this human fault.
    What was your question?
    Love is the answer.
    • "All My Stars Aligned"
  • It's time.
    You are light.
    I guess you are afraid of what everyone is made of —
    Time and Light.
    • "The Apocalypse Song"
  • All your praying moments amount to just one breath.
    Please keep your victory
    But give me little death.
    • "The Apocalypse Song"
  • I'm crawling through landmines
    Just to know where you are.
    • "Landmines"
  • Romeo, where'd you go?
    It's been years and still no sign,
    But I'm keeping hope alive.

    Juliet, how you been?
    You look like death like you sure could use some rest
    from this place human racing and the faces of people who pound at your door
    They always want more — they want more.

    • "Human Racing"
  • Tell the truth now
    Your heart is a strange little orange to peel
    What's the deal?
    • "Human Racing"
  • Little lamb, what's your plan?
    Greener pastures in the sky?
    It's a shame you want to die know why
    Just to find you've been blinded to the greenest of pastures they're right here on Earth
    For what it's worth you're not the first to break my heart.
    • "Human Racing"

Actor (2009)

Lover, I don’t play to win but for the thrill until I’m spent.
Paint the black hole blacker.
We're sleeping underneath the bed to scare
The monsters out…
I'm just the same but brand new
And anything you wrote I checked for codes and clues.
  • What do I share?
    What do I keep from all the strangers
    Who sleep where I sleep?
    • "The Strangers"
  • Good souls have born better sons,
    Better souls born worse ones.

    Paint the black hole blacker...
    • "The Strangers"
  • I'm a wife in watercolors I can wash away what seventeen cold showers couldn't wash away.
    • "Save Me from What I Want"
  • Honey what reveals you is what you hide away.
    • "Save Me from What I Want"
  • Let's pour wine in coffee cups and drive around the neighborhood
    And shine the headlights on houses until all the news is good.
    • "The Neighbors"
  • Tomorrow's some kind of Strangerland where all the news is good.
    • "The Neighbors"
  • What would the neighbors think?
    Oh no! If they only knew.
    • "The Neighbors"
  • Tomorrow's some kind of Stranger I'm not supposed to see.
    • "The Neighbors"
  • I think I love you I think I'm mad.
    • "An Actor Out Of Work"
  • The unkissed girls and boys of paradise
    Are lining up around the block
    Back pockets full of dynamite
    While their neighbors talk and talk.
    • "Black Rainbow"
  • Just like an amnesiac, trying to get my senses back.
    Oh where did they go.
    • "Laughing with a Mouth of Blood"
  • I traded my plot of land for a plane to anywhere
    Oh where did you go.
    And I can't see the future but I know it's watching me.
    All my old friends aren't so friendly
    And all my old haunts are now haunting me.
    • "Laughing with a Mouth of Blood"
  • I wish I had a gentle mind and a spine made up of iron.
    • "Marrow"
  • Honey can you reach the spots that need oiling and fixing.
    H E L P Help Me.
    • "Marrow"
  • If you want we could go somewhere else.
    • "Marrow"
  • We're sleeping underneath the bed to scare
    The monsters out

    With our dear daddy's Smith and Wesson. We've got to teach them all a lesson.
    • "The Bed"
  • Honey the party went away quickly, but thats the trouble with ticking and talking.
    • "The Party"
  • Oh but I'd pay anything to keep my conscience clean.
    I'm keeping my eyes on the the exit sign. Steady now.
    • "The Party"
  • I'm just the same but brand new
    And anything you wrote I checked for codes and clues.
    • "Just the Same but Brand New"
  • Bodies like wrecking balls fuck, fuck with dynamite.
    • "The Sequel"

The Kate Bush Story (2014)

Quotes of Clark from the BBC documentary The Kate Bush Story (2014)
You don’t ever get the sense that she's making music to pander to anyone.
  • You can hear one note of a Kate Bush song, or one note of her voice even, and know immediately what it is. And that is the biggest feat of any artist, especially when you consider, you know, all the roads that she's gone down.
  • For that to have come out of someone's brain, period, is a remarkable feat. For that to have come out of someone's brain, at 17 years old — this incredible song, incredible song … there aren't that many amazing pop songs that have two or three key changes in them —‚ and I'm not talking about some modulations, I'm talking: "Okay, now we're in the key of Q." It's like WHAT?! But it's so brilliant, it's so memorable. I always karaoke that song — if I drink enough.
  • I read an interview with her one time, where she was asked, something along the lines of "Why do you write from the perspective of a lot of characters?" And she said very simply and eloquently "because they're more interesting than I am."
  • I'm convinced that, as great as that record sounds, if you had anyone else sing it, you know, anyone else try to kind of weave and make it do that thing where it burns like wildfire and it comes alive, no one else could do it. It's incredible the way she kind of brings this cold arctic atmosphere, It's just like fire, you know? It's like all aaarh coming out of her mouth. … and now I'm listening to the song in my head. "Do you know what I really need? Do you know what I really need? I need lalalala yea yo yea yo your love."
  • I still remember going to the CD store and buying The Sensual World when I was 16, and the cover — there was a rose in front of her mouth, that has bloomed, she's got big wide eyes, and I remember, you know, putting it on the shitty car stereo on the way home, you know — and my life was forever changed.
  • You don’t ever get the sense that she's making music to pander to anyone. I think you always get her absolute best attempt at her true vision whenever you get a Kate Bush record.

Quotes about Clark

Her stage name was inspired by the hospital where Dylan Thomas spent his last hours. ~ Melena Ryzik
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