10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Anna Calvi cultivated her talents as a girl in England, listening to her parents’ Maria Callas, Debussy, and Ravel records. Later she gravitated from her violin playing to guitar, listening to (and learning from) masters like Jimi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt. Her music is rich with drama, calling up touchstones like Ray Orbison, PJ Harvey, and her idol, Edith Piaf. Genres like flamenco, goth, and the blues—plus cinematic influences like James Bond theme songs and the dark visions of David Lynch—are also apparent. After becoming her fan (and unofficial mentor), Brian Eno joined her in the studio to record backup vocals on two of the strongest tracks: “Desire” and “Suzanne & I.” The album is produced by PJ Harvey producer and collaborator Rob Ellis. Calvi's best when she shepherds her disparate influences and powerful, intense voice into the rock arena, as she does on the tracks mentioned above and on the galloping “Blackout” and the spaghetti western–spiced “I’ll Be Your Man.” Nick Cave asked Calvi to join him on Grinderman’s 2010 tour, and a finer double bill is hard to imagine.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Anna Calvi cultivated her talents as a girl in England, listening to her parents’ Maria Callas, Debussy, and Ravel records. Later she gravitated from her violin playing to guitar, listening to (and learning from) masters like Jimi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt. Her music is rich with drama, calling up touchstones like Ray Orbison, PJ Harvey, and her idol, Edith Piaf. Genres like flamenco, goth, and the blues—plus cinematic influences like James Bond theme songs and the dark visions of David Lynch—are also apparent. After becoming her fan (and unofficial mentor), Brian Eno joined her in the studio to record backup vocals on two of the strongest tracks: “Desire” and “Suzanne & I.” The album is produced by PJ Harvey producer and collaborator Rob Ellis. Calvi's best when she shepherds her disparate influences and powerful, intense voice into the rock arena, as she does on the tracks mentioned above and on the galloping “Blackout” and the spaghetti western–spiced “I’ll Be Your Man.” Nick Cave asked Calvi to join him on Grinderman’s 2010 tour, and a finer double bill is hard to imagine.

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5:37

About Anna Calvi

Hailed as "the best thing since Patti Smith" by Brian Eno, as well as being included in the BBC's Sound of 2011 list, the hype surrounding London-born Anna Calvi came to a crescendo in late 2010. Gaining critical acclaim among music journalists, Calvi drew comparisons with passionate and brooding musicians like Nick Cave and Polly Jean Harvey. The dense and rich musical influences that inhabit Calvi's world are broad and distinctive strokes of sultry flamenco, smoke-filled blues, and seductive goth pop/rock. Adding to this tapestry of influences, Calvi claims to have been inspired by the films of David Lynch, Gus Van Sant, and Wong Kar Wai; the cinematic element to her music contributes a mysterious and unyielding undercurrent to her work.

At the age of 17, after eschewing art school in favor of a music degree, Calvi began to learn her trade and assemble musical partnerships. In 2006, she met percussionist and harmonium player Mally Harpaz, and later recruited drummer Daniel Maiden-Wood. The release of her debut single, "Jezebel," in the fall of 2010 was an electric cover version of the Edith Piaf standard. The young Calvi soon captured the attention of Domino Records boss Lawrence Bell after a glowing reference from former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, who had witnessed one of Calvi's gigs in Manchester. Bell quickly signed her to his label. Ryder-Jones was not the only celebrity admirer of Calvi's, an acquaintance of the aforementioned Brian Eno similarly urged him to listen to this emerging talent. After hearing Calvi's raw and unplugged performances on The Attic Sessions (the early demos that she recorded on an eight-track in her parents' attic), the distinguished producer soon became her mentor and unofficial cheerleader.

Calvi entered Black Box studio in France with the much-lauded producer Rob Ellis to record her self-titled debut album in 2010. Using vintage analog equipment, Calvi created a velvet Wall of Sound that justified the hype in the buildup to its 2011 release. Following the release of her debut album, Calvi was inundated with award nominations, with accolades such as Best British Breakthrough Act at the BRITS in 2012, and she was presented with the European Border Breaks alongside being invited to judge that year's prestigious Mercury Prize. Toward the end of 2012 she lent her powerful voice to Noah and the Whale's title track, "Heart of Nowhere," between sessions for her second release, One Breath, which was issued in 2013. Strange Weather, an EP of covers, arrived the following year. ~ Aneet Nijjar

  • ORIGIN
    Twickenham, England
  • GENRE
    Alternative
  • BORN
    24 September 1980

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