Arts & Entertainment, Music

Tuning In to the World Around You

St. Vincent

Lesson time 08:33 min

Annie believes that musicians can engage with different modes of expression, including fashion, art, dance, and design. Learn how to be open to the world around you and draw inspiration from unlikely places.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: David Byrne


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:08.67] - I think there's a certain porousness that you have to have as an artist. Well, not even that you have to have, that probably you just, by nature, have. The membrane between you and the world is just a little more porous. It's just a little-- you're a little bit more tuned into certain things. [00:00:24.96] So much work is inspired by other artists. Somebody like Jenny Hotzer, who does these giant projections, they're like advertising slogans except their message is very dire like "protect me from what I want", things like that. I definitely was thinking about her when I was writing a song like "Fear the Future" because I was picturing "fear the future" on a big billboard. [00:00:46.26] Memphis art was something that was really omnipresent during my childhood in that it was a big art movement in the '80s that you'd see filtered through in films like "Beetlejuice". Or you'd see these kind of threads of it. And I just got really obsessed with it, again, and its color scheme, and its clean design, and its humor, and absurdity, and just worked with it on the imaging for an album. [00:01:14.69] [MUSIC - ST. VINCENT "LOS AGELESS"] [00:01:19.02] It was like sexy "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," which is just redundant, frankly. Again, I was trying to take this very brightly colored and kind of almost animatronic feel and then inject the performance of sexiness into it and just see what happened. And part of that was because that was the only way that I could inhabit the idea of that particular kind of sexiness, was to sort of make a-- have it be absurdist. [00:01:52.16] You really can just take things from any kind of art, visual art, books that you've read, and just incorporate it all into what you're doing. I was reading a book by an author named Lorrie Moore. It was a great, great book of short stories called "Birds of America". [00:02:10.27] And it just happened to be a story about a woman going and visiting the Blarney Stone with her mother. And her mother goes to kiss the Blarney Stone and almost falls. And this woman who had previously seen her mother as this very oppressive force in her life suddenly sees her very vulnerable. And so that was what the story was about. [00:02:33.64] But she just happened to use the phrase "birth in reverse" to describe the way that a cathedral opened. And I was like, wow. And that just started sparking a million other ideas of, well, what-- what is-- what is that? [00:02:49.42] I'm picturing the Big Bang going in reverse. So many things are coming to mind. And I was like, well, it sounds like a great title for a song. [00:02:56.76] [MUSIC - ST. VINCENT, "BIRTH IN REVERSE"] [00:02:57.30] (SINGING) It was a birth in reverse in America. [00:03:02.91] I feel like, in the past couple records, certainly a color palette has kind of come first. And then you just stick to the palette so that you kind of keep everything in the same world. And then I had dyed my hair blond. And ...

About the Instructor

Under the stage name St. Vincent, Annie Clark has won Grammys while remaining fiercely innovative and true to herself. Now Annie is opening the door to her process to teach you how to explore your creativity. Learn how to record music, write songs, improve your guitar skills, and embrace your vulnerability. Let Annie guide you through the ups and downs of creating art so you can share what’s in your heart with the world.

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St. Vincent

Explore your creative process and embrace vulnerability with St. Vincent, the Grammy-winning, genre-defying artist and performer.

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