Angel Olsen

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Angel Olsen
Olsen performing live at Rockefeller in Oslo, Norway, 2020
Olsen performing live at Rockefeller in Oslo, Norway, 2020
Background information
Birth nameAngelina Maria Carroll[1][2]
Born (1987-01-22) January 22, 1987 (age 35)
St. Louis, Missouri, US
OriginChicago, Illinois, US
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • synthesizer
Years active2009–present

Angel Olsen (born Angelina Maria Carroll; January 22, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter and musician from St. Louis, Missouri[8][9] who lives in Asheville, North Carolina.[10]

To date, Olsen has released six studio albums: Half Way Home (2012), Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014), My Woman (2016), All Mirrors (2019), Whole New Mess (2020), and Big Time (2022).

Early life and education[edit]

Angel Olsen was born on January 22, 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. At age three, Olsen was adopted by a foster family that had cared for her since shortly after her birth. The difference in years between her and her parents left an impression. "Because there are so many decades of difference between us, I became more interested in what their childhood was like," she says of her parents, both of whom died in 2021.[11] "I fantasized about what it was like to be young in the ’30s and ’50s, more so than other kids my age."[10] Olsen explained that "my mother just has this capacity for children."[10]

Despite early adolescent aspirations to be a "pop star", her interests later shifted in high school. Olsen became more introverted, regularly attending punk rock and noise music shows at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center and the Creepy Crawl as well as Christian rock shows throughout the city.[12] She began learning the piano and guitar and writing her own music.[10][13] At the age of 16, she joined a local band called Good Fight, self-described as "a meeting of early No Doubt and punk rock."[14] Two years after graduating from Tower Grove Christian High School, Olsen moved to Chicago.[12]

She befriended Bonnie “Prince” Billy, who invited her to go on tour as his backing vocalist.[15]


2011–2014: Strange Cacti and Half Way Home[edit]

Olsen performing at the Sinclair (2016).

Olsen released her debut EP, Strange Cacti in 2011,[16] and her debut studio album, Half Way Home, in 2012.[17] on Bathetic Records. In addition to her work with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and the Cairo Gang, Olsen has collaborated with a number of other notable figures of American indie rock, including Tim Kinsella of Cap'n Jazz, LeRoy Bach of Wilco and Cass McCombs.[18] Her collaboration with Kinsella and Bach, as well as with Chicago poet Marvin Tate, resulted in the album Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by Leroy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen which the group released on Indianapolis label Joyful Noise Recordings on December 3, 2013.[18]

2014–2017: Burn Your Fire for No Witness and My Woman[edit]

Olsen signed with Jagjaguwar,[19] ahead of her first full-band record, Burn Your Fire for No Witness,[20] which was released on February 17, 2014.[21][22] The closing track of the album, "Windows", was featured in the final episode in the first season of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why in 2017.

Olsen performing live at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 in Chicago, Illinois, 2017

Olsen's third studio album, My Woman, was released on September 2, 2016.[23][24] In a review for Consequence of Sound, critic Ciara Dolan described the album as a "startling record of unimpeachable strength and honesty",[25] while Pitchfork's Jenn Pelly described it as "her best record yet".[26]

2019–2021: All Mirrors, Whole New Mess, and Songs of the Lark and Other Far Memories[edit]

Olsen's fourth studio album, All Mirrors, was released on October 4, 2019 to critical acclaim. Laura Snapes of Pitchfork described the album as "breathtaking", and a "strong wind" that blows in and "leaves you undone",[27] while Alexis Petridis of The Guardian described it as "challenging and intriguing", and Luke Saunders of Happy Mag described it as a change of "theatric transcendency",[28] when compared to her previous releases.

In 2019, producer Mark Ronson featured Olsen on his “Late Night Feelings” album, which also featured Miley Cyrus and Camila Cabello.[15]

On August 28, 2020, Olsen released her fifth studio album Whole New Mess through Jagjaguwar.[29] The album features tracks from All Mirrors arranged in a more intimate style.

On March 30, 2021, Olsen announced a special edition boxset entitled 'Songs of the Lark and Other Far Memories', which contains her previous two albums All Mirrors and Whole New Mess alongside demos, re-workings, remixes and covers to close this chapter of her career, released via Jagjaguwar. It was announced with the lead single 'It's Every Season [Whole New Mess]' and is due for release on May 7, 2021.[30] In 2020, Olsen released several remixes of popular releases. On April 9, 2020, Olsen released a remix of "All Mirrors" her album All Mirrors Produced by Chromatics' Johnny Jewel.[31] On June 3, 2020 Olsen released a remix of "New Love Cassette" from her album All Mirrors produced by Mark Ronson with whom she collaborated with on Ronson's song "True Blue".[32]

In 2020, Olsen worked on a cover of "Mr. Lonely", originally by Bobby Vinton, for the film Kajillionaire directed by Miranda July. Olsen collaborated with film composer Emile Mosseri on the cover which was released on September 16, 2020 and was included in the soundtrack.[33] On May 20, 2021, Olsen released a single with Sharon Van Etten, "Like I Used To", which was produced by John Congleton. Olsen and Van Etten appear in the music video with their hair styled in similar shag haircuts.[34]

2021–present: Aisles and Big Time[edit]

On August 20, 2021, Olsen released her fourth extended play, Aisles, consisting of five cover versions of popular songs from the 1980s.[35] Pitchfork writer Evan Rytlewski described it as "an unusual departure for a songwriter who's always staked everything on her conviction".[36]

In 2021 she also received the Libera Awards as Best Folk/Bluegrass Record 2021 for her album Whole New Mess (Jagjaguwar) by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM).[37]

Olsen's sixth studio album, Big Time, was released on June 3, 2022.[38] The album was preceded by the lead single "All the Good Times", and followed by a second single, the title track "Big Time".


Pitchfork has likened her to acts such as the Cure, Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie and the Banshees, saying that she has created a dark dream-pop dealing with anxiety.[39] Olsen plays a vintage Gibson S-1 guitar from 1979.[40]

Personal life[edit]

On April 16, 2021, Olsen came out as gay.[41] In 2022 Olsen revealed that her partner is Beau Thibodeaux, and that she had dated long-time friend Meg Duffy for a few months in 2020.[42]


Studio albums

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2014 Libera Awards Up and Comer Artist Award Burn Your Fire for No Witness Won [43]
2016 The Daily Californian Art Awards Best Non-Billboard Song “Shut Up Kiss Me” Nominated [44]
2017 Libera Awards Album of the Year My Woman Won [45]
Best Live Act Herself Nominated [46]
Video of the Year “Shut Up Kiss Me” Nominated [46]
Video of the Year (Fan Vote) Nominated [46]
AIM Awards Independent Breakthrough of the Year Herself Nominated [47]
2020 Libera Awards Album of the Year All Mirrors Nominated [48]
Best Alternative Rock Album Nominated [48]
2021 Best Folk/Bluegrass Album Whole New Mess Nominated [49]
2022 Video of the Year "Like I Used To" (with Sharon Van Etten) Pending [50]


  1. ^ "Interview: Angel Olsen". TimeOut Istanbul. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  2. ^ Hislop, Christopher (July 23, 2015). "The sweet, haunting voice of Angel Olsen". Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  3. ^ Richardson, Mark (September 25, 2019). "'All Mirrors' by Angel Olsen Review: A Surprising Turn". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  4. ^ Terich, Jeff (September 30, 2019). "Album of the Week: Angel Olsen – All Mirrors". Treble. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  5. ^ Thomas, Fred. "Angel Olsen biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  6. ^ Donelson, Marcy. "My Woman – Angel Olsen". AllMusic. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Todd, Bella (August 29, 2016). "Angel Olsen: indie's dark star tackles 'the complicated mess of being a woman'". The Guardian. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  8. ^ "Angel Olsen Playlist - Adding Some Glam To The Gloom". January 22, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  9. ^ Paul Lester (January 13, 2014). "Angel Olsen (New band of the day No 1,676) | Music". Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d Bevan, David (March 24, 2014). "Angel Olsen Will Be Heard". Spin. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  11. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (June 6, 2022). "Angel Olsen Sees Your Pain". The New Yorker.
  12. ^ a b Appelstein, Mike. "Angel Among Us: An Oral History of Angel Olsen's Time In St. Louis". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  13. ^ Lamont, Tom (March 30, 2014). "Angel Olsen: 'I had to learn someone else's songs. Now I teach people my material'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  14. ^ "Angel Olsen". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  15. ^ a b "'When she howled, you could feel it': How Angel Olsen turned grief and longing into triumph". Los Angeles Times. June 9, 2022. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  16. ^ "Strange Cacti 12 EP". Bathetic Records. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Half Way Home". Bathetic Records. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Joyful Noise Recordings. "Tim Kinsella sings the songs of Marvin Tate by LeRoy Bach featuring Angel Olsen". Joyful Noise Recordings. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "Angel Olsen". Jagjaguwar. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  20. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (February 17, 2014). "Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire for No Witness Album Review". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  21. ^ "Angel Olsen Breaks Down Her Smoldering New Jagjaguwar Debut". Billboard. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  22. ^ Fred Thomas. "Burn Your Fire for No Witness - Angel Olsen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  23. ^ Pearce, Sheldon; Monroe, Jazz (June 6, 2016). "Angel Olsen Announces New Album My Woman | Pitchfork". Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  24. ^ Dolanon, Ciara (August 31, 2016). "Album Review: Angel Olsen – My Woman". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  25. ^ "Album Review: Angel Olsen - My Woman". August 31, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  26. ^ "Angel Olsen: My Woman". Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  27. ^ Snapes, Laura. "Angel Olsen: All Mirrors". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  28. ^ "Most psychedelic sensory overload music videos on Youtube". October 5, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "Angel Olsen: Whole New Mess". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  30. ^ "Angel Olsen". March 30, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  31. ^ "Angel Olsen Shares New Johnny Jewel Remix". April 9, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  32. ^ "Mark Ronson Remixes Angel Olsen's "New Love Cassette"". Pitchfork. June 18, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  33. ^ "Angel Olsen Covers "Mr.Lonely"". Pitchfork. September 16, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  34. ^ "Sharon van Etten, Angel Olsen Share New Song 'Like I Used To'". Rolling Stone. May 20, 2021.
  35. ^ Bloom, Madison (July 8, 2021). "Angel Olsen Announces New EP Aisles, Shares Cover of Laura Branigan's "Gloria": Listen". Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  36. ^ Rytlewski, Evan (August 24, 2021). "Angel Olsen: Aisles EP". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  37. ^ "Libera Awards 2021 winners". Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  38. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (June 6, 2022). "Angel Olsen Sees Your Pain". The New Yorker.
  39. ^ Greene, Jayson (December 11, 2019). "The Best Rock Albums of 2019 - Angel Olsen: All Mirrors". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  40. ^ Taylor, Luke (May 7, 2017). "The Current's Guitar Collection: Angel Olsen, 1979 Gibson S-1". The Current. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  41. ^ "My beau, I'm gay". Instagram. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  42. ^ "'Losing my parents made me at ease with talking about love': Angel Olsen on coming out and being her true self". the Guardian. May 26, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  43. ^ Smith, Clyde F. (June 20, 2014). "Full List of 2014 A2IM Libera Award Winners". Hypebot. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  44. ^ Staff, Daily Cal Arts (December 30, 2016). "Daily Californian Arts Awards: Music 2016". The Daily Californian. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  45. ^ "2017 Winners". libera awards. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  46. ^ a b c Houghton, Bruce (April 24, 2017). "Nominees A2IM'S Indie Music Libera Awards". Hypebot. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  47. ^ Paine, Andre (August 8, 2017). "2017 AIM Awards nominations revealed". Music Week. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  48. ^ a b Brandle, Lars (April 4, 2020). "Chance the Rapper, FKA Twigs, Courtney Barnett & More Shortlisted For 2020 A2IM Libera Awards". Billboard. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  49. ^ "2021 Libera Award nominees announced". Guitar Girl Magazine. March 23, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  50. ^ Aswad, Jem (March 23, 2022). "Japanese Breakfast, Jason Isbell, Arlo Parks Lead Indie-Music Collective A2IM's 2022 Libera Awards Nominees". Variety. Retrieved March 25, 2022.

External links[edit]