St Vincent: ‘Oh dar­ling, I’d never camp!’

St Vincent is dom­i­nat­ing fes­ti­val line-ups this sum­mer. She tells Grazia about tak­ing her au­di­ence to ‘outer space’ and re­fus­ing to rough it

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

it’s not of­ten that An­nie Clark, the singer bet­ter known as St Vincent, is any­thing less than bold. She per­forms in heels most of us would find hard to walk in. Her last al­bum, Masse­duc­tion, was a candid look at her re­la­tion­ship with (and split from) the model Cara Delev­ingne. She per­forms so in­tensely on stage that her shows are more ofen de­scribed as art, with the singer fre­quently be­ing hailed as one of this gen­er­a­tion’s best gui­tar play­ers (as well as one of the only mu­si­cians to­day to come close to Bowie).

So it’s some­thing of a sur­prise to hear her sound­ing un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally mod­est about her per­for­mance at this year’s Coachella. ‘ The only peo­ple com­ing out of that fes­ti­val who you heard any­thing about were Bey­oncé, Cardi B and, like… me,’ she says in­cred­u­lously, afer a pause (the set was so well-re­ceived that Rolling Stone wrote, ‘Clark and her enig­matic crew signed, sealed and de­liv­ered an icy yet ab­sorb­ing spec­ta­cle that was part rock show, part per­for­mance art’). ‘ Those were the shows peo­ple were talk­ing about. I’m look­ing around and there are so many badass women play­ing mu­sic,’ she says.

In an age where fes­ti­vals are crit­i­cised for a lack of fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion in their line-ups – ear­lier this year, An­nie Mac wrote a piece for Grazia en­ti­tled ‘ Time’s Up for male-dom­i­nated live mu­sic’ – those ‘ badass women’, the singer says, are im­por­tant. ‘It is get­ting bet­ter be­cause the world is get­ting cracked open and peo­ple are hav­ing way more frank con­ver­sa­tions about equal­ity for ev­ery­one,’ says An­nie. ‘I also put my money where my mouth is. There are women in my band, they’re in my crew. When I look at the tour I just put to­gether, the di­rec­tor was fe­male, the light­ing di­rec­tor and cos­tume were fe­male, the hair and make-up were fe­male. When I sat around the ta­ble and we were dream­ing about what this show was go­ing to be, there were two men present. One was my pro­duc­tion man­ager, the other my brother.’

Work­ing that way, she sug­gests, im­mu­nises her from the sex­ism that still per­vades the mu­sic in­dus­try. ‘In some ways, my view of things is great. I work with women all the time so I have a bit of a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on it,’ she says.

This sum­mer, An­nie will per­form at fes­ti­vals across the world, end­ing with a head­line set at the UK’S End of the Road in Septem­ber. The en­ergy she brought to Coachella, she prom­ises, won’t have waned.

‘I don’t wanna make a show that peo­ple will for­get,’ she says. ‘I really want to make a show that takes peo­ple to outer space. It’s dif­fer­ent play­ing a fes­ti­val to play­ing your own show. It’s more wild: some peo­ple are high or out of their minds or de­hy­drated. There’s an el­e­ment of chaos.’

Yet she ad­mits she’s not the sort to overindulge at the fes­ti­vals she plays: ‘I love watch­ing some acts back­stage, but I don’t wanna hang out at the office.’ So we won’t be ex­pect­ing to see her trudg­ing around a fes­ti­val in wellies? ‘Oh bless you,’ she laughs. ‘Dar­ling, no, I’m not su­per out­doorsy. Camp­ing isn’t my idea of fun to be­gin with, so the idea of sweat­ing all day long and then com­ing back where there’s no shower…’ She trails off, clearly horrified.

What she will be do­ing, how­ever, is en­sur­ing what­ever she does next out­does her cur­rent work. ‘ You al­ways get up in the morn­ing and hope that the next song you write will be the best song you write, and that the next thing you do will be bet­ter than be­fore. I’m just get­ting started.’

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