Grimes in 2011
|Birth name||Claire Boucher|
March 17, 1988 |
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Genres||Electronic, experimental, indie pop, dream pop, dark wave, synthpop, industrial, witch house|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, visual artist, music video director|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, synthesizer|
Claire Boucher (born March 17, 1988), better known by her stage name Grimes, is a Canadian artist, musician, and music video director. A native of Vancouver, Grimes began recording experimental music while attending McGill University in Montréal, where she became involved with the underground electronic and industrial music scene.
In 2010 she released her debut album, Geidi Primes through Arbutus Records (based in Montréal, Québec), followed by Halfaxa (2010). In late 2011, she announced that she had signed with 4AD Records, who partnered with Arbutus Records to release her third album, Visions (2012). Visions met critical acclaim and was hailed by The New York Times as "one of the most impressive albums of the year so far."
Grimes' music has been noted by critics and journalists for its atypical combination of vocal elements, as well as a wide array of influences, ranging from industrial and electronic to pop, hip hop, R&B, noise rock, and even medieval music.
In 2013, she was awarded the Webby for Artist of the Year.
Early life 
Boucher was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is of Québécois, Ukrainian, Scottish and British descent. She graduated from Lord Byng Secondary School and studied ballet for 11 years. At age 18, she moved to Montréal, Québec to attend Montréal's McGill University, studying Russian literature and later, neuroscience. During her studies, she began to record and perform under the name Grimes. However, as Grimes became a more serious endeavor for her, she began to miss a large number of classes, and began only attending to take exams, resulting in the university taking punitive actions against her and ultimately expelling her. While in Montréal, she began attending concerts put on by local experimental musicians at Lab Synthèse, a performance space located in an abandoned textile factory. She also has a step-brother who raps under the name Jay Worthy; they collaborated on the song, 'Christmas Song', released on the Rough Trade bonus disc of her album, Visions.
Some of her influences outside of music are Werner Herzog, Andrei Tarkovsky, Lars von Trier, David Lynch, Gaspar Noé, Gregg Araki, Hieronymus Bosch, Akira, Ninja Scroll, The Lord of the Rings, Dune, Harry Potter, The Master and Margarita, and The Idiot.
Grimes' debut album, Geidi Primes, was released on cassette in 2010 through Arbutus Records. Later in 2010, Grimes released her second album, Halfaxa, also through Arbutus. In 2011, Grimes released a split 12" with d'Eon titled Darkbloom. Her recording name is a reference to Ken Grimes, an "outsider" artist best known for drawings of aliens. In May 2011 she opened for Lykke Li on her North American Tour and the following August, her debut album was re-released through No Pain in Pop Records, in CD and vinyl format for the first time. Also in 2011, she made an appearance on Majical Cloudz's single "Dream World" and collaborated with DJ/producer Blood Diamonds.
In January 2012 Grimes signed with record label 4AD. The label released her third full-length LP, Visions, in February 2012 in the United States and March 2012 in other countries with Arbutus releasing in Canada. Pitchfork Media listed Visions in their Best New Music category. Her song "Oblivion" from the album received favorable reviews from noted music critic David Hajdu in The New Republic.
Grimes described writing the new album as being "equally enjoyable and tortuous but I feel like the fact that it was really hard was part of the reason that it was really good, y'know? I definitely look back on that time with fond memories, even though I remember crying and being like 'I hate everything!' at the time! But I recorded it in my room in Montreal and it was a really good way to work." According to Grimes, she wrote the album after spending nine days in isolation: "[After nine days] you have no stimulation, so your subconscious starts filling in the blanks", she said. "I started to feel like I was channelling spirits. I was convinced my music was a gift from God. It was like I knew exactly what to do next, as if my songs were already written."
Musical style 
Grimes' music is not easily defined. An eclectic mix of styles which she herself describes as "ADD music", it shifts frequently and dramatically – "I go through phases a lot." Her work has been likened to various artists, including Björk and Enya and she was described by Tastemakers Magazine as an "alien love-child of Aphex Twin and ABBA" The Guardian summarised her musical style: "By sounding a little like everything you've ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you've ever heard."
According to Grimes, she had a "realization" at age 20 as to how music was created, which enabled her to begin recording and experimenting. "One day, I was listening to music and it suddenly made sense to me how it was constructed," she said. She went on, saying: "I have a nervous tic. When I was a kid, I would constantly be banging on things with my foot. Making music has been a really good mechanism for releasing some kind of percussive issue that I have. It's usually about finding a perfect beat; I play around until I get a tempo I like and then it's just a matter of filling in the blanks."
Her primary instruments are keyboards and synthesizers, sometimes accompanied by drums and occasionally guitar instrumentation. Grimes utilizes looping and layering techniques, particularly with vocals; many of her songs feature layers of over fifty different vocal tracks which create an "ethereal" sound.
Grimes cites the following musicians as having influenced her: Marilyn Manson, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, How to Dress Well, Swans, Dandi Wind, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Enya, TLC, Aphex Twin, Joy Division,  Outkast, Nirvana, Jedi Mind Tricks, Dungeon Family, Drake, The Weeknd, as well as K-pop, medieval music and industrial artists. She also considers Los Angeles stripper/rapper Brooke Candy "a very contemporary muse."
Studio albums 
- Geidi Primes (2010, Arbutus Records; 2011, No Pain in Pop Records)
- Halfaxa (2010, Arbutus Records; 2011, Lo Recordings)
- Visions (2012, Arbutus Records and 4AD)
Music videos 
- "Crystal Ball" (2011, directed by Tim Kelly)
- "Vanessa" (2011, directed by Claire Boucher)
- "Oblivion" (2012, directed by Emily Kai Bock)
- "Nightmusic" (2012, directed by John Londono)
- "Genesis" (2012, directed by Claire Boucher)
- "Venus in Fleurs" (2013, directed by Video Marsh)
- Lederman, Marsha (July 30, 2012). "Claire Boucher as Grimes: the coolest girl in Canada". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- "Pop Montreal, Olio Festival, Joel Plaskett and Grimes Lead This Week's Can't Miss Concerts". Exclaim!. September 20, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- "Grimes" at Allmusic
- "On Display: Claire Boucher". TVMcGill. 2011-01-18. Retrieved 2011-06-07.[dead link]
- "Album Reviews: d'Eon / Grimes: Darkbloom EP". Pitchfork. 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "GRIMES & D'EON INTERVIEW: "EVERYTHING IS GAINED."". Dummy Magazine. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- Caramanica, Jon (February 20, 2012). "Reviews of Albums From Grimes, Galactic and Tyga". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- Sound says most to Grimes. Retrieved June 7, 2011
- Christiansen, Lisa. Today on Appetite for Distraction: Grimes. BBC Radio 3. Retrieved June 7, 2011
- "Grimes on Sur Le Vif, interviewed by Fanny Lefort ('oldish')". YouTube. 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
- Glassberg, Rachel (May 18, 2012). "Six Questions for... Grimes". Exberliner. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Francois Marchand (2012), Grimes in the Spotlight with Brilliant Visions, vancouver Sun, archived from the original on May 9, 2012, retrieved April 15, 2013
- Grimes of the Heart. Interview Magazine, interview with Grimes by Durga Chew-Bose.
- Richards, Sam (27 April 2012). "Grimes: nine days without food, sleep or company gave me Visions". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- Battan, Carrie (16 October 2011). "Montreal's Claire Boucher makes featherlight GarageBand pop as Grimes.". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Holson, Laura H. (7 March 2012). "Claire Boucher, known as Grimes, Mines Beauty from the Dark Side". New York Times. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- Parihar, Christina. "Introducing Jay Worthy [Interview]". HipHopCanada. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "[Interview] Grimes : Hard To Explain". Hard To Explain. 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Jones, Lucy (2012-03-19). "SXSW 2012: Grimes on drugs, religion and the secret behind her unusual name – Telegraph Blogs". Blogs.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
- Riewer, Brian (12 July 2011). "Grimes Set To Re-Release Debut Album". Sun on the Sand. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- "video: Majical Cloudz (featuring Grimes) – "Dream World"". Gorilla vs. Bear. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Weatherall, Andrew (7 July 2011). "DUMMY MIX 79 // BLOOD DIAMONDS". Dummy Magazine. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Siren Seduction: Q&A With Electronic Musician Grimes". The Creator's Profect. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- Battan, Carrie (4 January 2012). "Grimes Signs to 4AD, Listen to New Track "Genesis" From Visions". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- Zoladz, Lindsay (17 February 2012). "Grimes Visions Album Review Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- Hajdu, David (2012-03-12). "Hajdu: What's The Matter With Girl Groups? | The New Republic". Tnr.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- "7Digital Interview 2012". 7digital.com. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- Zhong, Fan (June 2012). "On the Verge: Grimes". W (Condé Nast) 41 (6): 35. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Fowle, Leslie (14 March 2012). "Grimes - Visions". Tastemakers Mag. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Hoby, Hermione (28 January 2012). "One to watch: Grimes". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Mr. Style Icon: Grimes on the importance of Marilyn Manson". Electronic Beats. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- Williams, Alex Taylor (21 February 2012). "Catching up with Grimes' Claire Boucher". Out. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Fallon, Patric (1 February 2012). "High Five: Grimes". Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Elliot, Natalie (16 February 2012). Dishes On Her Less Obvious Influences And Her DIY Tattoos "Grimes Dishes On Her Less Obvious Influences And Her DIY Tattoos". Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "4AD - Grimes". 4AD. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- Watson, Eli (1 March 2012). "INTERVIEW: Grimes". Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Hadfield, James (20 August 2012). "Summer Sonic: Grimes interview". Time Out Tokyo. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- "Director's Cut: Grimes "Genesis"". Pitchfork. 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2012-09-02.