April 5, 1968 |
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Associated acts||The Magnetic Fields, Tender Trap, Future Bible Heroes, Honey Bunch|
Claudia Miriam Gonson, (born 5 April 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American musician best known for her work with The Magnetic Fields. She occasionally provides the band lead vocals as well as performing the piano or drums. She is also currently the band's manager.
Gonson met Stephin Merritt in high school in the early 80's, and the pair have worked together ever since.
While in high school at Concord Academy, Gonson performed in her first band, the Zinnias, in which Stephin Merritt wrote or co-wrote most of the band's material with John Gage. The band broke up when Gonson left to attend Columbia University. Gonson later returned to the Boston area to attend Harvard University, and joined the three-piece girl group Lazy Susan.
She has since performed on many of Merritt's albums, including the critically acclaimed 1999 album 69 Love Songs, and frequently appears with him live as part of the usual quartet that constitutes The Magnetic Fields.
Gonson has been Merritt's longtime manager since the beginning, a job involving all aspects of music management including licensing songs to films, ads and TV, creating theater shows, and all aspects of album production and touring. She also appears extensively in Strange Powers, the 2009 documentary by Kerthy Fix and Gail O'Hara about Merritt and the Magnetic Fields.
As well as her work with Stephin Merritt, Gonson also plays drums in the cult band Tender Trap. She has written and performed her own music with Shirley Simms and Michael Hearst (who she also helps manage) and has collaborated with author Rick Moody. She has also played drums in Providence, Rhode Island-based cult band Honeybunch and performs as the lead vocalist in Merritt's Future Bible Heroes project. She sang on Neil Gaiman's song "Bloody Sunrise" 
In 2010, she gave birth to her daughter Eve.
Stephin Merritt's openly gay identity as singer and song-writer of the Magnetic Fields has led some fans to humorously dub The Magnetic Fields' genre as "gay synth-pop." In an interview with The Advocate, Gonson famously remarked:
- '"When we started Magnetic Fields we purposely had one lesbian, one gay guy, one straight woman, and one straight man. The audience could identify with whomever they wanted. I hang out with more gay women now, but I guess I'm more of a fag hag than a lezzie hag."
In that interview, Gonson noted that she feels that Merritt's songs are predominantly about "Loneliness, isolation, and the need to be recognized by another person." She believes that if homophobia were not so prevalent, these experiences "would be less rampant instead of being so associated with the gay personality." Gonson believes that many LGBT youth and hetero young females turn to The Magnetic Fields for "words of wisdom."
- "Neil Gaiman's Journal: The final days". Journal.neilgaiman.com. 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2012-02-23.