Music

Antony & The Johnsons

With an extraordinary voice that earned comparisons with the great blues/jazz diva Nina Simone, fragile piano arrangements and some highly unusual subject matter, Antony Hegarty crashed into the mainstream with his gorgeous, if slightly unsettling second album I Am A Bird Now in 2005 - a shock winner of the Mercury Music Prize. Born in England but mostly raised in America, Hegarty studied experimental theatre in New York and founded Blacklips, a collective of radical performers with a residency at East Village's Pyramid Club. He then decided to concentrate on music, releasing his self-titled debut album in 1998 after being signed to experimental musician David Tibet's Durtro label. Hegarty was still regarded as an underground artist until the release of I Am A Bird Now, with songs exploring sexuality and androgyny and guest appearances by Rufus Wainwright, Devendra Banhart, Joan Wasser and Lou Reed. He also established a live outfit with Julia Kent on cello and Parker Kindred on drums before collaborating with experimental film-maker Charles Atlas on a show titled Turning. Third album The Crying Light was released in 2009 featuring orchestral arrangements and themes of ecology and sexual politics and was followed in 2010 by Swanlights, which had a guest vocal by Bjork and was accompanied by an art book showing Hegarty's paintings, collages, photography and writings.

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07-07-2011