I only discovered Grimes a few months ago (I know, I'm super late to the party). But once I heard her stuff, I was COMPLETELY, 100% HOOKED. It only took half a song for me to fall in love with her. By now, I've listened to her latest album, Art Angels, over a hundred times. It's the most delicious, weird, catchy, insane ear-candy. But what keeps me coming back to Grimes isn't just her insanely good tunes, it's how amazingly unique she is as an artist. Everything she makes is entirely her. She creates everything herself, and doesn't apologize for any of it. So here are four reasons I'm obsessed with her, and four ways she inspires me as a female creative to take charge and make some fuckin' work.
1. She makes everything--everything--herself.
Not only does Grimes write, create, sing, engineer, and produce all her own tracks, she also directs her own music videos and draws her own album artwork. Yeah. That creepy awesome 3-eyed alien pictured above is her own visual art. So cool, right?! She takes control of each part of the process, refusing to compromise her vision. She's refused many offers from males in the industry to produce her tracks for her, she told the New Yorker: "'I can’t use an outside engineer,' she says. 'Because, if I use an engineer, then people start being, like, ‘Oh! That guy just did it all.’' Beneath the surface of Boucher’s love of pop lies a political critique. 'It’s a mostly male perspective—you’re mostly hearing male voices run through female performers,' she says. 'I think some really good art comes of it, but it’s just, like, half the population is not really being heard.'" She's not just the pretty female face to this music. It's her creation, start to finish.
2. She can't be pigeonholed.
Grimes plays a bunch of characters, in her lyrics as well as her videos. Grimes herself is a character, played by Claire Boucher, the Canadian artist behind the project. It's liberating to watch an artist take on multiple personas, because we all have these multitudes inside ourselves. It's super awesome to embody alter egos and play up different parts of our personality, but we're often pressured to create one cohesive narrative of who we are. Watching Grimes' videos reminds me that we don't have to do that; we can embrace our multiple personas. It's so wildly freeing to do that; I seriously have whole days where I walk around pretending to be Lana Del Rey (we're all friends here, right?) Embodying multiple characters, Grimes can then explore different sides of herself and her artistic abilities, like when she made the song Kill V. Maim to show her more aggressive side. She plays multiple characters in that video (which she directed and edited; see reason 1, above). Grimes reminds me that I can have alter egos, and I can portray them in my work. You contain multitudes, y'all.
3. She uses her platform for social justice.
Grimes directly uses her large online platform to advocate for what she believes in: feminism, animal rights, supporting artists of color, immigration rights, and more. She's environmentally conscious and mostly vegan (though she eschews absolutes, which I love) Her Twitter is full of re-tweets of links, organizations, and articles to raise awareness about multiple political and global issues. And it's not a watered-down or shiny version of feminism or environmentalism that she publishes; it's direct, straight from her to her followers, not from the mouth of some publicist. She doesn't care about pleasing everyone; she's just using her platform to further the causes she believes in.
4. Her style is entirely her own.
Grimes' style is entirely unique, and it's completely WIERD. I freakin' love it. She always looks different, with wildly changing hair colors, accumulating tattoos, and a range of style influences from steampunk to goth to high fashion. She doesn't portray a single "image" or "brand"; she's not polished and refined, but is rather bursting with vibrant weird LIFE. She's not afraid to get dark and creepy with her style, but she also doesn't eschew brightness and color. I don't know about you, but that's the type of style that actually makes me excited: when someone expresses their wild uniqueness, their range of artistic fantasies and identities. She doesn't follow trends or blend in but completely stands out from the crowd, unafraid to wear crazy ensembles of stuff that always end up looking amazing-- because she wears them with such ease and confidence. She's my no. 1 style icon for just that reason: she's wacky, totally herself, and unconcerned with playing it safe. She uses fashion and style as art, as experimentation, as expression, and that's the only way it's fun.
Did I mention I love Grimes? Okay, now I need to go listen to Art Angels all the way through again. Peace out.