St. Vincent Is Here To Champion Albums As An Art Form 

A queen once said "People don't make albums anymore."

“I don’t think you’re going to make something that anyone will want to listen to in 20, 30, 40 years by chasing the whims of transitional technology.”

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When Annie Clark, more popularly known by her stage name St. Vincent, dropped her seventh studio album All Born Screaming last April 26, it was met with critical acclaim. That development is not surprising for the Grammy-winning artist. But what is notable is that St. Vincent delivered her arguably most personal album to date while being its sole producer. 


All Born Screaming is St. Vincent’s first self-produced record that she made with a curated list of friends, who all so happen to be undeniable talents in the industry. The body of work sees her dig deeper than ever before for an LP about love, life, and death that is equal parts tight and expansive. At her most unfiltered yet, St. Vincent points out that indeed, we are all born screaming, and life is only going to get crazier from there.

It’s an impressive feat and a reminder that full-length albums still have a place and power to drive narrative and discourse in an industry that’s obsessed with finding the next TikTok hit. Get to know more about the making of the album, St. Vincent’s singular vision, and her hopes of performing in the Philippines in our interview with the musician below.  

What was it like to open up and really put so much of yourself into this album?

I would say that the process is a funny, bumpy road. Because, as a performer, singer, guitar player, and all those things you have, you have ego or you have insecurity, you have all these things. But as a producer, it’s your job to get the best performance out of the artist. But in this case, the artist is you. So it’s a little bit of a complicated dance, I will say. But I’ve been making music and recording myself in my bedroom since I was 14. So it’s a very comfortable space to be alone in a studio that feels very, very comfortable to me, and, honestly, probably more comfortable than being in there with a bunch of people. 

My goal was to strip away anything that was unessential, both as a writer and as an arranger, and kind of only talk about life and death and love, because that’s really all we got, and strip away anything that felt vain, or preening, or self conscious or anything and just get to the heart of all of it.

When you were making this album, how did you balance or find that soft spot between approaching the music as the artist, the singer, as well as the producer?

I think the producer is like the compassionate perfectionist. And I don’t mean perfectionist, like oh, it has to be perfectly in tune, but the sound has to be evocative and intentional. Every part has to mean something, every lyric has to add up, every vocal performance has to be transformative and in very much in the moment. 


When do you feel when a song or album is ready for release? How do you know when a project like this is ready to go?

I love making records. I love the form of a record. I love 45 minutes of music. I think it’s a wonderful amount of time to spend with something. So I knew that this record was done. I knew it was done when it came back after a couple of mastering tries and spacing and sequencing. And it was 41 minutes and 14 seconds, and it was a palindrome. 

When you look back on this whole journey so far, what do you think was your biggest takeaway from working on this record?

Well,I just think that so much of making records is just believing, and trying, and not stopping ‘till it’s the best thing that you could possibly do. In a practical sense, if you’re putting a record out in this day and age, you got to do the same amount of promo, you got to do the same amount of putting the show together, the tour. You only have so much time on this earth and time where you overlap with your fans’ experience and it’s like, you better put out the best thing you possibly can otherwise, what’s the point? There’s no reason to do it, unless you’re trying to do the best thing you’ve ever made.

As a musician, how do you navigate a changing industry where it seems that people just want to know what’s the next dance trend on TikTok? How do you approach that mindset we’re currently in?

I think the best protest for anything is beauty and authenticity. I think as artists, it’s your job to truly just make the best work you can possibly make, no matter what the public appetite is or the technological whims. [People] were mad when CD technology came out, they were mad when mp3 came out. Technology is always going to change. And I think the artist’s job is to just make sure to continue to try to make great work no matter the format. I don’t know if any great records have been made thinking people are stupid. Audiences are not stupid. People are smart. People are smart with their whole bodies, they’re smart with their hearts and their ears. 

I don’t think you’re going to make something that anyone will want to listen to in 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, which is the kind of music I try to make, by chasing the whims of transitional technology. I think music matters. We live in a time when it is, I think in a lot of ways, not as central to everyone’s lives, or it’s a little bit more scattered, or what we love is maybe a little bit more fragmented than what it was when I was 10 years old or something. But at the end of the day, music matters. Good music matters.


This year, you’ll be going on tour for the album. Is it possible that your Filipino fans could hopefully see you perform live? 

Yes, absolutely. I can’t tell you anything, like, definitive, but that is 100%. I’ve never been to Manila. I’d love to make it down to the Philippines. I would just love to experience that. So it’s definitely on my priority list. I really do have plans to hopefully make it to the Philippines by the end of the year. 

If All Born Screaming would be the first time someone would listen to a St. Vincent album, which track on the album would you suggest they listen to first?

I guess this is in some ways kind of an easy question because I love albums so much. But I might say Hell Is Near because it is the first song on the album. Yeah, to just start with the album and then hopefully listen all the way through. 

Interview has been edited for length and clarity

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