When an artist, or anyone for that matter, comes to the end of a busy period in their life, you’ll often hear them saying they’re going to take a break to reset, or change gear, ‘reconnect’ with nature.
However, for Annie Clark, or St Vincent to use her stage name, it wasn’t so much a question of going back to nature...
“Reconnecting suggests you were connected in the first place,” she explains. “I might have grown up in Texas, but I’m from the suburbs and have only lived in cities. Everyone thinks the state is one big ranch, but it’s not like that at all. I’m not a cowgirl.”
When her collaboration with Talking Heads’ David Byrne had almost come to an end, though, she decided it was time for a taste of cowgirl life, taking a short break on a family friend’s Texas cattle ranch.
She and Byrne had become acquainted in 2009 and started working together on what was initially meant to be one song, before writing and recording a whole album, 2012’s Love This Giant, which they then toured around the world, on and off, for the following year.
Byrne’s influence, she says, changed her general outlook. “David’s inexhaustibly creative, he never looks backs and always looks to the future, completely fearlessly,” she says.
“That’s not something you can just turn on, but it did mean I approached this record with a lot of confidence. I had a lot of stories to tell, and trusted myself to tell them.”
Her time on the ranch a few months earlier had been a great chance to stock up on ideas for the album. Clark may not have an aptitude for menial household tasks, but she can most definitely write a good song. St Vincent is her most approachable work to date.
“This album is my move from introspection to extroversion,” she says.