Born Claire Elise Boucher, the Vancouver-born artist has been releasing Grimes music for over a decade now.
We live in a world where it is far too common to refer to someone as another person’s spouse instead of who they are themselves. On May 4th of this year, headlines all over the world were awash with the news of couple Elon Musk and Grimes welcoming their first child. Most of these headlines were fashioned around “Elon Musk and his partner.” There’s wasn’t a mention of Grimes’ name other than a vague signifier. Claire Elise Boucher, Grimes, is a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, music video director. Grimes music is unique, refreshing and authentic. Today, we’re going to focus on Grimes the musician.
With her first two studio albums being released in 2010, Geidi Primes and Halfaxa, it was two years later where Boucher found herself rising to fame. In 2012 Grimes released her third studio album titled Visions, which featured singles “Genesis” and “Oblivion.” Both songs would catapult Boucher’s career forward to the point of even winning a Juno Award for the album. For those of you who don’t know, Juno Awards are the Canadian version of the Grammys; it’s a big deal.
Winning the Juno Award for Electronic Album of the Year almost feels a little wrong in a sense. This is what we love so much about the artist; it’s impossible to put Grimes in a box. Electronic Album of the Year conjures ideas of Daft Punk, Tiesto, Deadmau5, and others. While most of her songs are produced using an electronic tone and synthesizers, it merely does not do her creativity and reach into other forms of justice. Let’s also not forget that Boucher produces her own music. Many artists are touted with being able to “do it all,” but Boucher sincerely does. From writing her own lyrics to creating the tracks, and adding her vocals, it’s all her. Side note about her vocals, Boucher has a pretty clear lisp and has stated she “likes it” and isn’t looking to speech therapy to correct the issue.
This becomes clearer when you detract from the music specifically and you dive into her views on society. In April of 2013, Boucher received some backlash from the public and the music industry with outwardly feminist comments. She shared that she was disappointed her feminist views were taken as “anti-male.” In regards to producing all of her own music, she said, “I don’t wanna be just like the face of this thing I built; I want to be the one who built it.”
Influences and Authenticity
It seems that every time Grimes music is looked at in terms of influence, someone new pops onto the list. Everyone from Blink-182, Alicia Keys, Jedi Mind Tricks, Billy Joel, and Al Green have been referenced as influencing her sound. A sound that is benchmarked by her sweet, almost delicate voice, which falls into the soprano register. As a producer, she commonly layers over 50 different vocal tracks into a single song, which presents an echo as if you’re standing in a grand cathedral listening to an angelic performance.
Everyone at one time or another, especially artists, have been told to simply “be yourself.” Something that not many people feel comfortable ever doing. Still, it is something that Grimes has laid into the foundation of her career. It is a phenomenally, refreshing perspective of an artist trying to do nothing but what they enjoy and showcase who they are truly.