As part of an ongoing partnership with the Rights Workshop, Avantgarde co-hosted a special solo performance and talk with Stephin Merritt at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. He performed three songs including Book of Love on his Ukulele and then Brooke Wentz, the Rights Workshop, interviewed Stephin and his manager Claudia Gonson and then moderated an audience Q/A.
Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields have just released Realism on Nonesuch records and are touring the West Coast.
Stephin Merritt Biography
Prolific New York singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt was born in 1966. Raised by his counterculture mother -- he has never met his father -- Merritt spent much of his youth moving from house to house throughout the Northeast. It was during that time that Merritt became enamored with Top 40 pop, specifically ABBA. His interest in music began to take on a physical form at the age of 14 with a cheap synthesizer and an old four-track recorder, a sound that still captivated the artist in later years. In 1989 he formed the Magnetic Fields in Boston with drummer and manager Claudia Gonson. Merritt, who is more often than not the sole player, producer, and arranger on each track, released numerous records under the name, including 1999's epic three-disc set 69 Love Songs. He has also released material under the names the 6ths, the Future Bible Heroes, and the Gothic Archies. He has been a copyeditor at Spin and has written numerous reviews for Time Out Magazine in New York. He provided the soundtrack to the James Bolton film Eban & Charley in 2002, followed by his first -- under his own name -- solo release titled Two Chinese Operas in 2005. Showtunes, which was released in 2006, featured selected compositions written especially for Chen Shi-Zheng's Orphan of Zhao (2003), Peach Blossom Fan (2004), and My Life as a Fairy Tale (2005).
-- by James Christopher Monger, AllMusic