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Meet Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, a female Bowie or Byrne for the digital age, who’s about to break into the mainstream
By: Louis Wise
Published: 19 October 2014
You can tell a lot about somebody from their couch. Annie Clark, who writes and performs as St Vincent, is no different. She did have a type of settee, but it was no ordinary one; it was something a friend had made for her, a “complete rip-off” of the artist Donald Judd’s day bed — a stylish and angular construction that you won’t find in the DFS sale. So far, so Clark; aesthete to the core. But it had its limitations.
“I loved looking at it. It was gorgeous,” Clark says wistfully. “But my friend isn’t a couch maker, he simply works with wood, and it was The. Most. Uncomfortable. Thing. Ever. So there’s not a proper cushion for it, and it’s hodgepodge, and you’re slipping around, and you can’t even sit upright on it.” She shrugs. “I loved looking at it, but I never sat on it. So I finally got a couch. I screwed that up, too. Story for another time.”
Trust Clark to slip and slide around on an avant-garde sofa; trust her to see sense, and try to normalise, and fail. Hopefully this doesn’t sound too facile, but you could compare her elegant, ambitious, textured rock to her home furnishings. St Vincent’s fourth solo opus, released earlier this year, really is a breakthrough for the Oklahoma-born, Texas-raised 32-year-old: that thrilling point when an avant-garde artist becomes fully accessible. But, endearingly, always on her terms. Sure, as earlier this year, she will perform on Later… with Jools Holland, but she will opt to spend a couple of precious minutes of airtime not singing, but rolling down a big staircase. She’s that kind of rock star.