Detroit-born musician Sufjan Stevens is a multi-faceted singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist who can cross musical genres ease. Because of his ability to play multiple instruments (he is most known for using a banjo, but he also can play piano, French horn, oboe, drums, xylophone, and several other instruments), Sufjan Stevens has a strong and broad musical background that gives him additional insights to his craft, which when compared to other musicians gives him a leg up to producing quality music. His range can go from electronica to folk to even a symphonic enterprise, without a hiccup. Contrary to most rock music, Sufjan Stevens has been known to play using various time signatures, opposed the usual 4/4 timing that most popular music employs. The results of this tinkering results in an eclectic sound that most of the public is unfamiliar with and when paired with his soft soothing tenor voice, the results can be sublime.
Sufjan Stevens started as part of folk-rock band Marzuki as well as garage band Con Los Dudes, both based in Michigan. In 2000, he not only launched his first album A Sun Came but he also launched this album on the Asthmatic Kitty Label, a recording label he and his father co-founded. A Sun Came featured a mix of traditional world music and American folk music. Like many of his albums to follow, there were some artists who contributed to the album, but a majority of the musical talent came from Sufjan Stevens, who in this instance played 14 different musical instruments. For his second album, Stevens composed an album on the opposite side of the spectrum to the folksy stylings of A Sun Came. In 2001, Enjoy Your Rabbit, an experimental electronica album inspired by the Chinese zodiac was released.
Illinois, the second and final installation into the 50 States Project was released in 2005 and it was more grandiose, using a symphonic touch to paint a picture of the state’s history as well as explore some of his personal beliefs as well. It garnered glowing reviews as well as being considered Paste Magazine’s Album of the Year. It also won the 2005 Pantheon prize, an award given to noteworthy albums selling fewer than 500,000 copies. Following the success of Illinois, Sufjan took a break from releasing solo albums, taking time to collaborate with others. In October 2010, Sufjan Stevens returned with The Age of Adz, an edgy electronic symphonic collection which explored his physical and mental wellbeing. While the critics were divided about the new direction that Stevens was taking, The Age of Adz appeared on several best album lists and made its mark in the top ten of the Billboard Top 200 Charts.
Carrie & Lowell & Sufjan Stevens Tour 2015
In March of 2015, Sufjan Stevens came out with his most intimate album yet: Carrie & Lowell. This album tells the haunting tale of his parent’s relationship and their influences on their son. His tour, which is due to return to the US in late October, and just like his albums, a Sufjan Steven’s performance isn’t just a performance. It is an experience that is essential to any indie music fan.