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Sufjan Stevens

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Biography

Sufjan Stevens (IPA pronunciation: /'suːfjɑ:n/) (born July 1, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and musician from Petoskey, Michigan. Sufjan's music is lyrically focused and instrumentally rich. Lyrically it often relates to faith and family. Stevens has enjoyed wide critical success in the United States.

He is considered part of the folk revival in indie pop, but his influences are very broad. His music has been likened to electronica and the minimalism of Steve Reich. Stevens originally announced plans to make a concept album for each of the 50 U.S. states, having begun the series with Michigan (2003) and Illinois (2005), but has since retracted this statement.

Stevens was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Petoskey where he attended Harbor Light Christian School as well as the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

"Sufjan Stevens is not going to write a record for each of the 50 states after all" was the original text included on the online liner notes for their Mews Too: An Asthmatic Kitty Compilation disc released on February 7, 2006. This statement was possibly included as a joke, as the text has since been removed and the current liner notes related to Sufjan Stevens reads, "18. Sufjan Stevens can fold a fitted-sheet (he once worked as a professional folder in a commercial laundromat)."

Many of Stevens' songs have spiritual allusions. Stevens says he does not try to make music for the sake of preaching. 'I don't think music media is the real forum for theological discussions,' says Stevens. 'I think I've said things and sung about things that probably weren't appropriate for this kind of forum. And I just feel like it's not my work or my place to be making claims and statements, because I often think it's misunderstood.'

Such themes are most notable on his album Seven Swans, the songs 'Abraham', 'Seven Swans', 'To Be Alone With You', 'He Woke Me Up Again', 'We Won't Need Legs To Stand' and 'The Transfiguration' directly address Christianity . In 'Abraham', Sufjan recounts the Old Testament story in the Book of Genesis. The lyrics of 'The Transfiguration' follow the Biblical accounts of Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9: 1-8, and Luke 9:28-36. The title of 'All The Trees Of The Fields Will Clap Their Hands' is a quote from Isaiah 55:12.

During a summer 2004 interview with Adrian Pannett for Comes with a Smile magazine, when asked how important faith was to his music he responded 'I don't like talking about that stuff in the public forum because, I think, certain themes and convictions are meant for personal conversation.'



 


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