Stephin Merritt: Wikis


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Stephin Merritt

Stephin Merritt at Cadogan Hall, London, July 2008.
Background information
Born January 17, 1966 (1966-01-17) (age 44)[citation needed]
Genres Indie pop
Synth pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Associated acts The Magnetic Fields
The 6ths
The Gothic Archies
Future Bible Heroes

Stephin Merritt (born January 17, 1966[citation needed]) is an American singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles (formerly in New York City), best known as the principal singer and songwriter in the band The Magnetic Fields. He is known for his distinctive and untrained bass-baritone voice.[1]


Musical projects

He created and played principal roles in the following bands:

He briefly used the name The Baudelaire Memorial Orchestra as an attribution for a song written for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, entitled "Scream and Run Away." Further music was recorded for the audiobook versions of the series and is attributed to The Gothic Archies. The Tragic Treasury was released by Nonesuch Records in October 2006 along with the 13th and final book of the series.

Under his own name, he recorded and released the soundtracks to the films Eban and Charley and Pieces of April. The soundtrack to the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete featured many of his songs.

He and director Chen Shi-zheng have collaborated on three pieces of musical theatre; Orphan of Zhao (2003), Peach Blossom Fan (2004), and My Life as a Fairy Tale (2005). Select tracks from these works have been released on Nonesuch Records under the title Showtunes.

Additionally, he is one-third of the infrequent, live-only musical extravaganza the Three Terrors ensemble, whose other principal members include 69 Love Songs album's Dudley Klute and LD Beghtol; past themes of these performances have included: French pop, movie themes (including the title song from Deep Throat), intoxication, and New York. Kenny Mellman (of Kiki & Herb), James Jacobs, Daniel Handler, Jon DeRosa and others have performed with T3T at these sporadic gala events. Merritt was referenced in the Beulah song "Popular Mechanics for Lovers."

Merritt wrote and sang "I'm In a Lonely Way" in a television commercial for Volvo that aired in the Summer and Fall of 2007. He also performed "The Wheels on the Car".

Merritt penned the music and lyrics for a 2009 off-Broadway stage musical of "Coraline," based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. In the MCC Theater production, his music will be performed by a piano “orchestra” – complete with a traditional piano, a toy piano, and a prepared piano (a piano that has had its sound altered by attaching objects – such as tin foil, rubber bands and playing cards – to the strings). [2]

He is currently working on a score for the silent film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to be performed at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco on May 4th, 2010 as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival.[3].

Songwriting topics

Merritt is gay,[4] and his lyrics are known for bending and blurring gender lines; examples include the song "When My Boy Walks Down the Street," which contains the lyric "and he's going to be my wife." He is fascinated with the undead, often making veiled or explicit references to vampires. Other frequent motifs in his lyrics include the age 17, dancing, seasons (most often summer), youth, old age, cities (especially New York City and Paris), the moon, the sun, the stars, rain, the night, marriage, blue eyes, faces, trains and railroads, the road, crying, murder, drinking, musical instruments, and love.

Personal life

Merritt was raised Buddhist by his counter-culture mother, though he is now an atheist. He has never met his father, folk singer Scott Fagan,[5] who had a brief affair with Merritt's mother. Merritt attended progressive Massachusetts high school The Cambridge School of Weston and briefly attended NYU before moving back to Boston. He is a smoker, and is known to light a cigarette while performing on stage. He has worked as an editor for Spin Magazine and Time Out New York. Merritt has a chihuahua named Irving, after Irving Berlin.[6]

Merritt is known for having a dry personality, embracing a persona and life that is very different from the traditional rock star image. In a September 2005 interview conducted by The Onion's AV Club, alternative rock musician Bob Mould was reminded of an interviewer who once referred to Mould as "the most depressed man in rock." Mould's response was, "He's never met Stephin Merritt, obviously."[7]

Merritt suffers from a hearing condition known as hyperacusis; any sound heard louder than normal begins to "feedback" in his left ear at increasingly louder volumes. This has largely influenced the reserved live setup of The Magnetic Fields, which usually consists of acoustic instruments and little to no percussion. Merritt also wears earplugs during performances, and typically covers his left ear if the audience applauds.[8]

Solo discography


  1. ^ Berlind, William (2002-02-24). "The Stephin Merritt Standard". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  2. ^ ""Coraline" music". MCC Theater. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  3. ^ Khanna, Vish (2010-01-28). "Exclusive: Stephin Merritt Promises to Return to the Synth on Next Magnetic Fields Album, Scores 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". 
  4. ^ Hyperreal: Magnetic Fields Arch Duke Stephin Merritt Interviewed. The Quietus. 20 Jan. 2010.
  5. ^ "Conversations With Scott Fagan". 
  6. ^ Rule, Doug. Magnetic Mystery. Metro Weekly. 27 Jan. 2010.
  7. ^ Kyle, Ryan (2005-09-21). "Interview: Bob Mould". The Onion. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  8. ^ "The Magnetic Fields in Concert". Creators at Carnegie. National Public Radio. 2005-05-31. Retrieved 2005-08-27. 

External links

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