Antony and the Johnsons

Antony and the Johnsons Biography

There is a myth that great artists operate in seclusion. One need look no further than to Antony and the Johnsons to realize this is an utter fallacy. To be sure, with his androgynous features, the singularly named Antony is an original. You have never heard a voice like this, imbued with the transcendental emotion of the blues, yet deployed with an unadorned simplicity reminiscent of medieval music practice, and graced with a top note of childlike wonder.

This extraordinary New York artist seemingly came out of nowhere in 2005, took the world by storm with his critically-acclaimed second album I Am A Bird Now (Secretly Canadian), and continues to confound expectations as this global smash reaches new listeners and champions every day. Winner of the Nationwide Mercury Prize for Album of the Year in the UK, Antony has also just been nominated for several other prestigious awards, including a Brit Award for Best Male Solo Artist; the New Pantheon award; five different PLUG Awards; and an Irish Meteor Award for Best International Artist. His songs blur distinctions of gender and identity, summoning up such powerful feelings of longing, love, lust and loss. It is clear that Antony is one-of-a-kind. But he is certainly not alone. A sparsely adorned record, I Am A Bird Now features contributions from both Antony's peers (Rufus Wainwright, Devendra Banhart) and heroes (Lou Reed, Boy George). Their involvement reflects both their admiration for Antony, and his unique place in the contemporary arts community "In a weird way, this album is much more personal," he admits. As he shed many of his archetypal influences, Antony dared to reveal even more of himself to the listener. "I Am A Bird Now feels more intimate. In making it, I tried to bring everything -- how it was recorded, how it was performed -- extremely close, so it felt seductive, like it was right in your ear."

Antony has long been a mainstay on the New York stage, ever since his arrival in 1990. Gradually coming into his own as a performer, winning accolades for his performances everywhere from Joe's Pub, Germany's Biennale Bonn, and the Whitney Biennial, to his 2005 world tour which has left hundreds of thousands speechless.

"It is his vibrato and multi-octave voice (often double-tracked) that stuns you from the first few bars on in.... He is obviously the most original vocalist we've heard since Bjork, and never less than wholly affecting as he goes about eclipsing the impressive contributions of his guests."
-- Caspar Llewellyn Smith, The London Observer

"Unlike most records with such buzz, however, (I Am A Bird Now) delivers on all its promise. The music is rich but unobtrusive, built from simple stuff -- mostly piano and a backing band, augmented by woodwinds, brass and strings. Bold arrangements raise this album above the ordinary, but what makes it worth hearing is Antony's voice -- a high, wobbly vibrato with which he takes perilous risks in pitch, and thrilling rides into heretofore-unknown harmonies."
-- Alec Hanley Bemis, Los Angeles Weekly

Latest Music News

more news headlines »

Featured Links