Antony Hegarty in 2007
|Associated acts||Antony and the Johnsons, Hercules and Love Affair|
Antony Hegarty (born 1971) (often referred to by first name alone i.e. "Antony") is an English born singer-songwriter, composer, and visual artist, known best as the lead singer of the band Antony and the Johnsons.
Born in Chichester, West Sussex, UK, Antony moved with his family to Amsterdam in 1977 for a year , and then to the San Francisco Bay Area of California in 1981. As a teenager he was influenced by the British synth pop – in particular emotive singers such as Marc Almond, Alison Moyet and Boy George. He also cites underground stars Diamanda Galas, Rozz Williams, Divine and Klaus Nomi and American singers including Nina Simone, Otis Redding, and Donny Hathaway as strong influences.
In 1990 he moved to Manhattan to attend the Experimental Theatre Wing of New York University (NYU), and founded the performance collective Blacklips with creative partner Johanna Constantine. Antony spent the next several years singing in NYC's afterhours bars and clubs accompanying himself on pre-recorded cassettes as well as writing and directing late night theatrical productions.
After being awarded a grant from New York Foundation for the Arts for his 1996 production "The Birth of Anne Frank/The Ascension of Marsha P. Johnson" at Performance Space 122, Antony solicited musicians to accompany him in the studio and record some of his songs. In 1997 the ensemble performed for the first time as 'Antony and the Johnsons' at The Kitchen as part of William Basinski's installation "Life on Mars". In 1999 the group began to perform more frequently at venues such as Joe's Pub and Knitting Factory in NYC. British experimental musician David Tibet of Current 93 heard the recording and offered to release it through his Durtro record label; the debut album, Antony and the Johnsons, was released in 2000. In 2001, Antony released a follow-up EP through Durtro, I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy, which, in addition to the title track, included a cover of a David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti song "Mysteries of Love", and a Current 93 song, "Soft Black Stars".
Antony and the Johnsons' 2005 album I Am a Bird Now featured guest performances by Lou Reed, Boy George, Rufus Wainwright and Devendra Banhart. The album was released in North America by Secretly Canadian Records and in Europe by Rough Trade. It garnered considerable praise and won the UK's prestigious Mercury Prize and was named Album of the Year by Mojo magazine. The band toured North America, Europe, Australia and parts of South America for a year and a half in support of I am a Bird Now. The song "Bird Gerhl" was featured in the soundtrack for the movie V for Vendetta.
Antony and the Johnsons collaborated with experimental film maker Charles Atlas and presented TURNING in Nov 2006 in Rome, London, Paris, Madrid, and Braga. The concert featured live video portraits of some of New York City's most enigmatic women. The Guardian called the piece "fragile, life affirming, and truly wonderful (five stars)" Le Monde in Paris hailed TURNING as "Concert-manifeste transsexuel".
Antony and the Johnsons' 5-song Another World EP was released on October 7, 2008. Antony and the Johnsons' third album, The Crying Light, was released on January 19, 2009. The album peaked at number 1 on the European Billboard charts. Antony has described the theme of the album as being "about landscape and the future". The album was mixed by Bryce Goggin and includes arrangements by Nico Muhly. Ann Powers wrote of The Crying Light for the LA Times online, “it's the most personal environmentalist statement possible, making an unforeseen connection between queer culture's identity politics and the green movement. As music, it's simply exquisite -- more controlled and considered than anything Antony and the Johnsons have done and sure to linger in the minds of listeners." 
After touring throughout North America and Europe in support of their new album, Antony and the Johnsons presented a unique staging of "The Crying Light" with the Manchester Camerata at the Manchester Opera House for the 2009 Manchester International Festival. The concert hall was transformed into a crystal cave filled with laser effects created by installation artist Chris Levine. Antony and the Johnsons have gone on to present concerts with symphonies across Europe in Summer 2009, including the Opera Orchestra of Lyon, the Metropole Orchestra, Roma Sinfonietta and the Montreux Jazz Festival Orchestra. At Salle Playel in Paris, Antony appeared in a costume designed for him by Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy.
In addition to Antony's work with his band, he has collaborated with other musicians across the spectrum. In 2003 Antony began working with Lou Reed as a supporting vocalist on the Animal Serenade tour and performed on a number of tracks on The Raven. Antony sang back up (with Sharon Jones and a children's choir) in Lou Reed's first full performance of his album Berlin at St Ann's Warehouse in NYC in December 2006 and at The State Theatre in Sydney, Australia in January 2007. Hegarty sang If It Be Your Will as a part of Hal Willner's Came So Far For Beauty concerts at the Sydney Opera House in 2005. His performance was later featured in the film Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, a tribute to Leonard Cohen.
In 2006 Antony collaborated with Icelandic musician Björk in recording sessions in Jamaica and Iceland. The songs, "The Dull Flame of Desire" and "My Juvenile", feature on her 2007 album Volta. He also sang the songs in duet with Björk at several of her concerts in London, Reykjavík and NYC.
In 2008 Antony was featured on five tracks from the self-titled disco album Hercules and Love Affair, most notably on "Blind", which was voted best track of 2008 by Pitchfork Media  and ranked at number 2 on the "10 Best Singles of 2008" list by American magazine Entertainment Weekly.
Antony worked with Bernard Butler (formerly of Suede) on some acoustic sessions for XFM. Antony appeared live with Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band at Ornette Coleman's Meltdown at Royal Festival Hall, London 14 June 2009, singing Yoko's "Toy Boat" from Season of Glass.
As part of a project with Lavazza coffee for their 2010 calendar singer Antony recorded the classic opera song ‘Nessun Dorma’ with the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra.
In July 2008, Antony debuted his visual artworks in a Brussels exhibition curated by Jerome Sans. Working with longtime collaborator/photographer Don Felix Cervantes and advisor Joie Iacono, Antony went on to have solo exhibitions at Isis Gallery in London and Accademia Albertina in Turin, Italy. In April 2009, Antony curated an exhibition entitled "6 Eyes" at the Agnes B. Galerie Du Jour in Paris. In this exhibition Antony drew connections between his own work and the work of artists Peter Hujar, Kiki Smith, Barbara Cummard, Alice O'Malley, James Elaine and William Basinski. This was the first time the work of Peter Hujar had ever been exhibited in France.
In 2007 Antony created an original soundtrack for a video by Nick Knight featuring the designs of Hussein Chalayan. Antony collaborated in 2008 with Prada and created a song called "The Great White Ocean" for their promotional campaign. In 2009 Antony appeared as a muse of Riccardo Tisci and Givenchy in Dazed & Confused and L'Uomo Vogue.