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Feist performing at the Olympic Island Festival, 2006
Background information
Birth name Leslie Feist
Born 13 February 1976 (1976-02-13) (age 34)
Amherst, Nova Scotia
Origin Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Genres Indie pop, folk, baroque pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, banjo, drums
Years active 1991–present
Labels Arts & Crafts, Cherrytree, Interscope
Associated acts Placebo
Kings of Convenience
By Divine Right
Broken Social Scene
Notable instruments
Guild Starfire

Leslie Feist (born 13 February 1976) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She performs as a solo artist under the name Feist and as a member of the indie rock group Broken Social Scene. At the 2008 Juno Awards in Calgary, she was the top winner with five awards, including Songwriter of the Year, Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year, Album of the Year and Single of the Year.



Feist was born on 13 February 1976 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her parents are both artists - her father, Harold Feist, is a Canadian abstract expressionist painter who worked at both the Alberta College of Art and Design and Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Her mother, Lyn Feist, was a student of ceramics from Saskatchewan. After their first child, Ben, was born the family moved to Sackville.

Her parents divorced soon after she was born and Feist, Ben, and their mother moved to Regina, Saskatchewan where they lived with her grandparents. They later moved to Calgary. She aspired to be a writer, and spent much of her youth singing in choirs.[1] At the age of twelve Feist performed as one of 1000 dancers in the opening ceremonies of the Calgary Winter Olympics, which she cites as inspiration for the video "1234."

Because her father is American, Feist has dual Canadian-American citizenship,[2] though she joked in a televised interview on The Colbert Report that she was given American citizenship as part of a deal with Apple.[3][4]

She has two half-siblings, Emily and Jackson, from her father's later marriage.

Feist has been romantically linked at various times with at least three of her Broken Social Scene bandmates including Brendan Canning, Andrew Whiteman and Kevin Drew.[5]

Music career

In 1991, at age fifteen, Feist got her start in music when she founded, and was the lead vocalist for a Calgary punk band called Placebo (not to be confused with the English band Placebo)[1]. She and her bandmates won a local Battle of the Bands competition and were awarded the opening slot at the festival Infest 1993, featuring the Ramones. At this concert she met Brendan Canning, whose band hHead performed immediately before hers, and with whom she joined in Broken Social Scene ten years later.

In 1995, Feist was forced to take time off from music to recover from vocal-cord damage. She moved from Calgary to Toronto in 1996. That year she was asked by Noah Mintz of hHead to play bass in his solo project Noah's Arkweld. She played the bass guitar in Noah's Arkweld for a year despite never having played bass before. In 1998, she became the rhythm guitarist for the band By Divine Right and toured with them throughout 1998, 1999, and 2000.

In 1999, Feist moved in with a friend of a friend, Merrill Nisker, who then began to perform as an electro-punk musician Peaches. Feist worked the back of the stage at Peaches' shows, using a sock puppet and calling herself "Bitch Lap Lap" [6]. The two also toured together in England from 2000-2001, staying with Justine Frischmann of Elastica and M.I.A.[7]. Feist appeared as a guest vocalist on The Teaches of Peaches. Feist appears in Peaches' video for the song "Lovertits", suggestively rubbing and licking a bike. Later, Feist covered this song with Gonzales (whom she met while touring with Peaches) on her album "Open Season." In 2006 Feist contributed backup vocals on a track entitled "Give 'Er", which appeared on Peaches' album Impeach My Bush.

Feist live at the Festival d'été de Québec 2008 (Québec, Québec, Canada).

Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down)

Feist's solo debut album, Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down), was released in 1999. It is composed of 10 songs, including "Monarch" and "That's What I Say, It's Not What I Mean." Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down) was produced by Dan Kurtz who would later form Dragonette.

Let It Die

In the summer of 2001, Feist self-produced seven songs at home which she called The Red Demos, which have never been released commercially. She spent more than two years touring throughout Europe with Gonzales. In that same year she joined a group of old friends in forming a new version Toronto indie rock group Broken Social Scene, adding vocals to many tracks after being forbidden to play guitar by defacto bandleader Kevin Drew.[8]. She subsequently recorded You Forgot It in People with the band. While on tour in Europe with Gonzales, they began recording new versions of her home recorded Red Demos, which would later become her major label debut Let It Die. Let It Die featured both original compositions and covers, and Feist has been noted both as a songwriter and as an innovative interpreter of other artists' songs.

After the recording of Let It Die, Feist moved to Paris. While in Europe, she collaborated with Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience as co-writer and guest vocalist on their album Riot on an Empty Street, singing on "Know How," and "The Build Up." She also co-write and sang "The Simple Story" as a duet with Jane Birkin on her album Rendezvous.

Feist toured during 2004, 2005 and 2006 through North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia supporting Let It Die. She won two Canadian Juno Awards for "Best New Artist" and "Best Alternative Rock Album" in 2004. Sales of Let It Die totaled 500,000 internationally, and she was awarded a platinum record in Canada, as well as a gold album in France. Fellow Canadian Buck 65 appeared in the Feist-directed music video for "One Evening," which was also nominated for Video of the Year at the 2004 Juno Awards.

In 2005, Feist contributed to the UNICEF benefit song "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?" The track Mushaboom was also used in an advert for a Lacoste men's fragrance.

In early 2006, Feist returned to Europe to record a followup to Let It Die at LaFrette Studios with Gonzales, Mocky, Jamie Lidell, and Renaud Letang, as well as her touring band Bryden Baird, Jesse Baird, Julian Brown of Apostle of Hustle, and Afie Jurvanen of Paso Mino. An album of remixes and collaborations, Open Season, was released on 18 April 2006.

Feist also lent her voice to the two tracks "La Même Histoire" and "We're All in the Dance" for the soundtrack to the 2006 film Paris, je t'aime.

The Reminder

Feist's third solo album,The Reminder, was released on 23 April 2007 in Europe, and on 1 May 2007 in Canada, the USA, and the rest of the world. She toured worldwide to promote the album.[9] The album features "1234," a song co-written by New Buffalo's Sally Seltmann, that became a surprise hit after being featured in a commercial for the iPod nano, hitting #8 in the US, a rare feat for indie rock musicians and even more notable since it hit the Top Ten on the strength of downloads alone. She has been lauded in the press and was featured on the cover of the New York Times arts section in June 2007. The Reminder had sold worldwide over 1,000,000 copies and is certified gold in the U.S.[10] The album also won a 2008 Juno Award for "Album of the Year" on 6 April 2008 in Calgary, Alberta.

Videos for many of the singles were directed by Patrick Daughters, who previously directed the video for "Mushaboom" and went on to direct "1234," "My Moon, My Man," and "I Feel It All." "1234" and "My Moon, My Man" were choreographed by the acclaimed dancer Noemi Lafrance. The video for Honey, Honey features the work of avant-garde puppet troupe, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop.

"I Feel It All" was featured in the UK teen comedy The Inbetweeners. "Honey Honey" was featured in The L Word (episode 5.06, "Lights! Camera! Action!"). "I Feel It All" was featured in the 2008 film The Women. Popular German DJ Boys Noize remixed "My Moon, My Man," which appears on his 2007 debut album Oi Oi Oi. The DJ has also been known to close sets with the remix. In January 2009, Bon Iver played a cover of Feist's "The Park" from The Reminder on Australian radio's Triple J. The song "The Limit To Your Love" was featured in season 2, episode 1 of British teen drama skins.


Prior to the airing of an Apple iPod nano commercial featuring this song, The Reminder was selling at approximately 6,000 copies per week, and "1234" at 2,000 downloads per week. Following the commercial, the song passed 73,000 total downloads and reached No. 7 on Hot Digital Songs and No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100; The Reminder jumped from No. 36 to No. 28 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 19,000 [11]. Following the television advertisement for the iPod nano in the UK, the single beat its original chart position of 102 to become number 8 in the UK charts. Time magazine named "1234" one of The 10 Best Songs of 2007, ranking it at #2. Writer Josh Tyrangiel called the song a “masterpiece,” praising Feist for singing it “with a mixture of wisdom and exuberance that's all her own" [12][13]. On 6 April 2008, Feist won a Juno Award for the single as "Single of the Year".

Feist performed an alternate version of "1234" on Sesame Street during its 39th season, teaching children to count. She also sang with Elmo on the same episode.[14] She said working with the Muppets was a career highlight [15].

On 5 February 2009, Feist was referenced in The Office episode "Lecture Circuit (Part One)", in which Andy finds a Feist CD in the car of his love interest and sings a song about Splenda to the tune of "1234."

"The Water"

In 2009, Feist appeared in a short film directed by Broken Social Scene bandmate Kevin Drew that focused on her song "The Water." Feist appears alongside Cillian Murphy and David Fox in the silent role of "Mother." This film was streamed from for a week starting on 2 March 2009. In an interview with the site, Feist described the experience of being in this movie as "watching a movie while being in a movie."[16]


In July 2007, Feist was placed #9 on's 2007 Women Who Rock Right Now.[17]

Feist was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the November 2007 issue of Vanity Fair (No. 567) as part of a photo essay on folk music, also featuring Joni Mitchell, Peter, Paul and Mary, and The Guthrie Family. On November 3, she performed "1234" and "I Feel It All" on Saturday Night Live. In that same month Feist performed a duet with Chicago native Brian Rasek (formally lead singer of "Repus") in a charity benefit concert at Millennium Park for AIDS relief in Africa.

Feist was on the cover of the Spring 2008 edition of Naked Eye. On 28 April, Feist was interviewed by Stephen Colbert. At the end of the show she performed "I Feel It All," while Colbert donned Feist's blue, sequined, strapless jumpsuit from the “1234” video. Feist joined Colbert again on his first-ever Christmas special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!, which first aired on 23 November 2008. She played an angel working for Heaven's overloaded phone (prayer) service.

In 2008 she accompanied the Disko Bay Expedition of Cape Farewell.

On 20 October 2008, she told The Canadian Press that, following the success of her last album, The Reminder, she felt she needed to step away from the pressures of the music industry to consider her next career move and "rest for a minute".[18] In March 2009, it was announced that she would make a guest appearance on the track "You and I" on Wilco's seventh album.[19]

Feist collaborated with Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear on the song "Service Bell" for the AIDS charity Red Hot + Blue. This song appears on the album Dark Was the Night, and she joined the band in June 2009 during their Toronto show to sing this song and contribute backing vocals to the song "Two Weeks."

In June 2009, she re-joined Broken Social Scene at a North by Northeast performance celebrating the launch of the band's biography entitled This Book Is Broken, in which she is prominently featured. This contradicted various rumors saying that it was unlikely Feist would ever play with the band again. She also re-joined Broken Social Scene during their 11 July 2009 concert at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre to perform the band's song "7/4 Shoreline".[20]

In June 2009, Feist joined Beck, Wilco, Jamie Lidell and James Gadson in a Los Angeles studio covering Skip Spence's Oar as part of Beck's Record Club series, with videos appearing on Beck's website beginning November, 2009.[21]

It was reported that Feist will appear in Broken Social Scene's upcoming album entitled Forgiveness Rock Record, which is set to be released in May 4th 2010.



See also


  1. ^ a b Stren, Olivia (July 2007). "Dream girl". Toronto Life 41 (7): 58–62. 
  2. ^ STLtoday - Leslie Feist
  3. ^ In an appearance on The Colbert Report on 28 April 2008, Feist joked that she is a dual citizen and holds a U.S. passport, having been offered American citizenship “as part of the iPod deal.”
  4. ^ Transcript of episode 4056 of The Colbert Report, 28 April 2008 [1]
  5. ^ Berman, Stuart. This Book is Broken. 2009.
  6. ^ Everett-Green, Robert (2008-02-09). "Grammy girl: Feist". The Globe and Mail. pp. R1, R19. 
  7. ^ Feist (2005-05-05). ""A Torch Singer with an ancient sound"". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  8. ^ Berman, Stuart. This Book is Broken
  9. ^ 'Feist Delights'.
  10. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database". RIAA. Retrieved 2009-09-22.  Certified gold on 16 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Feist gets big boost from little iPod". Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  12. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh; "The Best Top 10 Lists of the Year"; "The 10 Best Songs"; Time magazine; 24 December 2007; Page 39.
  13. ^ Time magazine's Top 10 Songs of 2007 at
  14. ^ Agrell, Siri (2008-07-16). "Will Feist’s famous number be a monster hit with children?". The Globe and Mail (Toronto): p. A1. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  15. ^, additional text
  16. ^
  17. ^ Women who rock right now: Number 9,, 2007-07-15,, retrieved 2009-08-02 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Feist to guest on Wilco album". idiomag. 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  20. ^ "Broken Social Scene". Upfront (Harbourfront Centre). 14 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  21. ^

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Old teenage hopes are alive at your door
Left you with nothing
But they want some more.

Leslie Feist (born 13 February 1976) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who performs as a solo artist under the name Feist and as a member of Broken Social Scene. After years of critical acclaim she reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2007, after her single "1 2 3 4" became widely heard when its video was featured in an Apple commercial for the iPod nano.



  • On tour I'm so invisible to myself, it's just one task after another.
    In a way as much as I love reading autobiographies, I'm fascinated with them partially because I would have no sense of how to talk about my own life with any perspective. Like half of what I like about autobiographies isn't what happen in their lives, it's ... I'm so curious on how they remember things that happened. Then I think, oh maybe it's not accurate, maybe it's just the way they need to couch an event, they need to remember something that happened 30 years ago as a certain way in the present to make it, you know bearable, and so then half the adventure of reading an autobiography is thinking like, "oh, what does it say about them in the present that they need to think about the past like that," if they sound really altruistic or if they sound really benevolent and kind. Very seldom do you see someone say, "yeah, I was a real asshole," or if they do it's a charming asshole, it's not the mean spirited person, you know?
  • Because there's just so much in a day now, I keep writing in much more abstract terms, like I don't try to write about what happened anymore. It would be impossible.
    • On attempts at keeping a journal, as quoted in Stylus (20 December 2005)

Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down) (1999)

  • "One Year A.D."

Bring all the spaces together
And all the silences ever
Bring all the spaces together

Come close again
Be my pause before the end
I miss you, oh, like a fading dream
And I have a feeling you know what I mean.

  • "Monarch"

I know I'm sane
I don't give a care for the crown or the shield
I will not protect you or happily yield
To the one who makes me come undone.

Let It Die (2004)

Helping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born
I'm unpacking the bags and setting up
And planting lilacs and buttercups
But in the meantime I've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard.

It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay.

Old dirt road (Mushaboom)
Knee deep snow (Mushaboom)
Watching the fire as we grow (Mushaboom)

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done.

  • "Let It Die"

Don't you wish that we could forget that kiss
And see this for what it is
That we're not in love

The tragedy starts from the very first spark
Losing your mind for the sake of your heart
The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn't the ending so much as the start.

The Reminder (2007)

  • "I Feel It All"

Ooh, I'll be the one who'll break my heart
I'll be the one to hold the gun.

I know more than I knew before
I didn't rest I didn't stop
Did we fight or did we talk.

No one likes to take a test
Sometimes you know more is less.

The truth lies
And lies divide
Lies divide

1 2 3 4
Tell me that you love me more
Sleepless, long nights
That was what my youth was for

Old teenage hopes are alive at your door
Left you with nothing
But they want some more. Oh, oh, oh
You're changing your heart
Oh, oh, oh
You know who you are.

Sweetheart, bitter heart
Now I can't tell you apart
Cozy and cold
Put the horse before the cart

Those teenage boys
Who have tears in their eyes
Too scared to own up
To one little lie.

1 2 3 4 5 6 9 & 10
Money can't buy you back the love that you had then.

  • "How My Heart Behaves"

The cold heart will burst
If mistrusted first
And a calm heart will break
When given a shake I'm a stem now
Pushing the drought aside
Opening up
Fanning my yellow eye
On the ferry
That's making the waves wave
This is how my heart behaves.

Quotes about Feist

  • Feist comes from an indie-rock world, where it's sacrilege to admit any kind of ambition. But I had 100 percent in my mind the idea that we should have as much material as possible that could be played on the radio or resonate with a huge bunch of people. We already have the built-in reflex not to get behind anything that's going to be hollow. And when you have an artist with this kind of credibility, the idea is to communicate to as many people as possible without doing something ridiculous.
  • Apple has really done its job. I thought it was a cute but harmless song (I first heard the song when she performed it on Letterman this past summer, and thought the chorus part was fun. That was about it). But now? I'm at the point where I'm thinking, "the next time I'm on iTunes I should download that song." And there's a reason for that. If I don't hear the entire song, the thirty-second snippet Apple gave us in the ad will rattle around in my cranium for months. So it's either download the song or go out and yell at the college kid who's going to serve me my latte tomorrow morning. You can see that I have no choice.
  • Feist's third album of new material, "The Reminder" is ... the album that should transform her from the darling of the indie-rock circuit to a full-fledged star, and do it without compromises. "The Reminder" is a modestly scaled but quietly profound pop gem: sometimes intimate, sometimes exuberant, filled with love songs and hints of mystery. ... In her new love songs Feist apologizes, confesses to longing, hints at betrayals and misunderstandings and wonders what might have been. Her voice is self-possessed yet unguarded, and it hovers in arrangements that are often modest — just a handful of musicians playing together in a room — but can also proffer gleaming instrumental hooks and nonsense syllables that invite singalongs. The songs find equipoise within heartache.

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