Emily Haines

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Emily Haines
Emily Haines 2010.jpg
Haines at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, 2010
Background information
Born 1974[1]
New Delhi, India
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Indie rock, new wave
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, piano, guitar, tambourine, harmonica
Years active 1990–present
Labels Last Gang Records
Associated acts Metric, Broken Social Scene, Lou Reed, Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Website emilyhaines.com
ilovemetric.com
Notable instruments
Sequential Circuits Pro-One

Emily Haines (born ~1974) is a Canadian indie rock singer-songwriter. She is the lead singer, keyboardist and co-songwriter of the band Metric and a member of Broken Social Scene. As a solo artist, she has performed under her own name and under the moniker Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. Haines possesses a soprano vocal range.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Born in New Delhi, India[5] and raised in Ontario, Haines grew up as a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, the latter related to her American-born parents.[6] She is the daughter of Canadian poet Paul Haines. Her sister is the Canadian television journalist Avery Haines and her brother is Tim Haines, owner of Bluestreak Records in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.[5]

After settling in Peterborough at the age of three, she grew up in a house rich with experimental art and musical expression. Paul would often make cassettes of rare and eclectic music for his daughter to listen to and her early influences included Carla Bley, Robert Wyatt, and later PJ Harvey. By her teens, she followed in her parents' footsteps by attending the Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) to study drama. There she met Amy Millan and Kevin Drew, with whom she would later collaborate in Broken Social Scene (co-founded by Drew), a musical collective. During their time at ESA, Haines and Millan formed their first band together (around 1990), and she also briefly dated Drew.[7]

Haines attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver between 1992 and 1993, and Concordia University in Montreal between 1995 and 1996. In 1996, she distributed a limited-edition album entitled Cut in Half and Also Double that included songs written and recorded during her student years.[citation needed]

Professional music[edit]

Haines met James Shaw in Toronto in 1997, and the two of them began dating and making music. Initially, the duo's name was "Mainstream".[8] After releasing an EP entitled Mainstream EP, they changed the band's name to "Metric", after a sound that was programmed by Shaw on his keyboard in 1997 or 1998.[8] In 2001 Winstead and Scott-Key joined them.[9]

As of August 2013, Metric has released five studio albums: Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (2003), Live It Out (2005), Grow Up and Blow Away (2007, but recorded in 2001), Fantasies (2009), and Synthetica (2012).

During her time in Metric, Haines also contributed vocals or backing vocals to songs by Broken Social Scene, Jason Collett, Stars, Delerium, K-Os, KC Accidental, MSTRKRFT, The Stills, Tiësto, The Crystal Method and Todor Kobakov.[citation needed]

In 2004 Metric appeared in the 2004 drama film Clean. Haines and the rest of the band, appearing as themselves, performed their song "Dead Disco" and completed minor speaking roles in a backstage scene. "Dead Disco" also featured on Clean Original Soundtrack.[citation needed]

In 2006 Haines released the studio album Knives Don't Have Your Back, under the moniker "Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton". The songs "Our Hell" and "Doctor Blind" were issued as singles and corresponding music videos were produced. Knives Don't Have Your Back was followed in 2007 by the EP What Is Free to a Good Home?—recordings that were inspired by the death of her father.[10]

Emily Haines singing and playing the Pro-One synth in Toronto, Canada (2012)

I found myself with a body of work that was dealing with a whole whack of themes that really weren't suited to Metric. It would've been very strange to bring those songs to a band. The way Metric songs usually develop is that I write something on the piano that sounds a lot like those songs.[10]

Her solo work is typically more subdued and piano-based than her work with Metric. She occasionally plays solo shows, with Amy Millan featured as the opening act.[citation needed]

According to Haines, the album Synthetica is "about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. "Synthetica is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It's about what is real vs what is artificial."[11] The album contains the song "The Wanderlust", Haines's collaboration with Lou Reed.[citation needed]

In an August 2013 interview, Haines reflected on the early years of her musical career in relation to the success of Metric in 2013:

There are a million things that I could have done that would have made it less difficult in the beginning, but the moments I'm most proud of are those first shows where we managed to get 15 people in a random bar to be committed to what's happening with the music. I know it's hard for people to imagine that would be the hardest shows we've ever played. I've played with Lou [Reed], I've played to tens of thousands of people, I've played for the Queen, but nothing is harder than those moments when you have the conviction to play in front of those 15 people and own it.[12]

Haines has explained that she is a "big leaver" when she encounters difficulty with the creative process, or is lacking inspiration. Prior to the fourth Metric album Fantasies, Haines traveled to Argentina. Haines further explains: "The advice that I would give anyone is just get over yourself and forget yourself. Realize what you don't know ... Don't be so precious about yourself."[13]

Instruments[edit]

When performing live with her band Metric, Haines sings and plays two synthesizers. Her primary synthesizer is a Sequential Circuits Pro-One, which she has played since the band's early years.[14] As secondary synthesizer, she played a Kawai MP9000 in Metric's early years,[15] which was replaced by E-mu PK-6 Proteus Keys from 2003 to 2011, and followed by Clavia Nord Wave since 2012.

During some Metric live songs, Haines also plays a tambourine or an electric guitar.[16] During Metric acoustic appearances, Haines sings and sometimes plays piano or harmonica, while her band mate James Shaw plays the acoustic guitar.

Haines sang and played a piano when she performed live with a backing band as Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton.[17]

Other projects[edit]

As of late August 2013, Haines is involved with FLEET4HEARme, a collaboration between herself, Fleet Jewelry, and HearMe—the latter is an organization that aims to increase children's access to music programs in public schools. In support of the project, Haines explained: "I feel like anybody who wants to play an instrument should be able to."[18]

Discography[edit]

Emily Haines performing live at Polaris Music Prize gala (2009)

Emily Haines[edit]

Albums

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton[edit]

Albums

EPs

Singles

  • "Doctor Blind"
  • "Our Hell"

Music videos

  • "Doctor Blind"
  • "Our Hell"

Metric[edit]

Albums

Collaborations[edit]

The following songs are credited with Emily Haines on either lead or backing vocals:

Artist Song Album and Year
Broken Social Scene "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" You Forgot It in People (2002)
"Looks Just Like the Sun"
"Backyards" Bee Hives (2004)
"Windsurfing Nation" Broken Social Scene (2005)
"Swimmers"
"Superconnected"
"Bandwitch"
"Her Disappearing Theme" To Be You and Me EP (2005)
"Sentimental X's" Forgiveness Rock Record (2010)
Delerium "Stopwatch Hearts" Chimera (2003)
Jason Collett "Hangover Days" Idols of Exile (2005)
k-os "Uptown Girl" Yes! (2009)
KC Accidental "Them (Pop Song No. 3333)" Anthems for the Could've Bin Pills (2000)
MSTRKRFT "She's Good For Business" The Looks (2006)
Stars "Going, Going, Gone" Nightsongs (2001)
"On Peak Hill"
The Stills "Baby Blues" Without Feathers (2006)
Tiësto "Knock You Out" Kaleidoscope (2009)
The Crystal Method "Come Back Clean" Divided by Night (2009)
Todor Kobakov "Carpe Diem" Pop Music (2009)
Young Artists for Haiti "Wavin' Flag"

Filmography[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Righi, Len (9 January 2007). "Metric's Emily Haines cuts a new swath with solo disc". The Morning Call (Allentown) (PopWire). Retrieved 25 November 2007.  Indicates age 32 just prior to her 4 January 2007 tour date in Montreal.[1].
  2. ^ Colville, Liz (26 September 2006). "Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Metric – "Breathing Underwater" Review". Nylon Mag. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Arnold, Ryan (2 November 2009). "Metric's latest acoustic EP 'Plug In, Plug Out' softens its usually energetic sound". Collegiate Times. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Shea, C. (21 November 2012). "Emily Haines: Metric Lead Singer". The Grid. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Taking Measurements: An Interview with Metric – PopMatters". "I have an identity crisis which is not resolved because I'm a dual citizen. My whole family is American, and I was born in India but I was raised in Canada. But all my extended family is American, I've held an American passport and I've spent my whole adult life in between New York and LA. So I feel like an American… and I also feel like a Canadian! I wish more people were dual citizens and then I wouldn't feel like such a freak." 
  7. ^ Berman, Stuart. This Book Is Broken. 2009
  8. ^ a b "Why They're Called... Metric – SPIN – Profiles – Spotlight". Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Metric – Music Biography, Credits and Discography : AllMusic". Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Anthony Carew (6 April 2009). "Interview: Emily Haines of Metric". About.com. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Metric Offer Peek into Creative Process Behind 'Synthetica'". SPIN Magazine. Buzz Media. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Metric's Emily Haines Makes Style Poetic". refinery29. refinery29. August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Metric's Emily Haines Makes Style Poetic". refinery29. refinery29. August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Sequential Circuits Pro-One Is Always Onstage With Emily Haines of Metric – YouTube". Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Metric – Interview in an east village bar (NY) 2001 – YouTube". Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Review: Canadian indie band Metric rocks the Fillmore Miami Beach - miami.com". 
  17. ^ "Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – Live Review on The Red Alert". 
  18. ^ "Metric's Emily Haines Makes Style Poetic". refinery29. refinery29. August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 

External links[edit]