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Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
birthday
1st
July, 1975
Birth Place
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Birth Sign
cancer
Biography

Fast Facts About Sufjan Stevens 

Sufjan Stevens was born on July 1st, 1975, in Detroit, Michigan. He is proficient in numerous instruments, including guitar, banjo, keyboards, and wind instruments, and is also a talented singer. Sufjan’s voice has been described as hushed and intimate, which adds to the soothing, peaceful quality of the majority of his music. 

  • After spending his early childhood in Detroit, Stevens and his family relocated to Petoskey, Michigan, a city famous for its unique speckled stones. There, Stevens lived with his father Rasjid and his stepmother Pat. Stevens’ mother, Carrie, and his stepfather, Lowell, lived in Oregon at the time. 
  • Sufjan’s name is pronounced “SOOF-yahn,” contrary to the enduring “SUHF-john” that is often assumed based on the spelling. The name is Persian in origin.
  • Sufjan is a graduate of Hope College in his home state of Michigan, as well as The New School in New York City, where he attended grad school.
  • Stevens’ net worth is estimated to be approximately $4 million.
  • Sufjan is relatively tall, measuring about 5’10”. 
instruments played
banjo
Electronics
guitalin
Guitar
keyboards
percussion
Vocals
woodwinds
Genres

Indie folk baroque pop indie rock electronica

Years Active

1995 present

Name

Sufjan Stevens

Nationality

United States of America

Sufjan Stevens: Quick Facts About the Music 

  • Sufjan has plenty of affection for his home state – he even released a concept album in 2003 that gets its name from The Great Lake State. Michigan is one of Sufjan’s first albums, and it was followed by Illinois, a second state-themed concept record, in 2005.
  • The Michigan artist has been releasing music via Asthmatic Kitty Records since his debut in 1999. He founded Asthmatic Kitty with his stepfather, Lowell Brams. The label gets its name from Lowell’s cat, Sara, who had feline asthma. The label is home to Lily & Madeleine, Chris Schlarb, Angelo De Augustine, Sisyphus, The Welcome Wagon, and numerous other acts. 
  • Before starting out his solo career, Sufjan was a member of the Holland, Michigan indie-folk outfit Marzuki. Other members included Shannon Stephens (no relation to Sufjan), Matthew Haseltine, the brother of Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine, and Jamie Kempkers. Sufjan played multiple instruments with Marzuki, including guitar and percussion.
  • Sufjan has collaborated with a number of other musicians in the indie-folk scene, including Rosie Thomas, Denison Witmer, The National, The Welcome Wagon, and many others.

Sufjan Stevens: The Music 

Sufjan’s first album, titled A Sun Came, was released in June 1999. The record was produced by Sufjan. The artist recorded the songs on a four-track, a piece of analog recording gear that is seldom used in the modern music industry.  Four years after its initial release, A Sun Came was put out again with updated album art. The album’s sound is incredibly eclectic, blending pieces of Celtic rock, alternative, lo-fi, and more. Sufjan has described the album as a blend of "traditional pop music, medieval instrumentation with Middle Eastern inflections, tape loops, digital samples, literary vocals, manic percussion, woodwinds, sitar, amp distortion, and Arabic chants."

Enjoy Your Rabbit, Michigan, and Seven Swans

Enjoy Your Rabbit, Sufjan’s follow-up album was released in 2001. Another self-produced effort released via Asthmatic Kitty, the album takes a significant departure from the singer’s folky debut. This electronica record, which has no lyrics or vocals by Sufjan, has a highly experimental concept behind it that draws inspiration from both the Chinese zodiac and the Christian faith.  After Enjoy Your Rabbit came 2003’s Michigan, an album recorded using minimal gear based on Sufjan’s home state. The record was released via SoundsFamilyre, Asthmatic Kitty, and Secretly Canadian in the US. The album received rave reviews from numerous music outlets. Its folkier sound was thought to be a hint at what was coming for the rising folk singer. In 2004, Sufjan released Seven Swans, another highly acclaimed indie-folk album. The record is filled with allusions to the Christian Faith. Sufjan released one single for the record – “The Dress Looks Nice on You” – which is still one of his most popular tracks.

Illinois and The Age of Adz

2005’s Illinois is considered the unofficial sequel to Michigan. The second in what was speculated to be a series of 50 state-themed albums from Sufjan, Illinois, ended up being the only other such record the artist has released to date. Illinois was met with glowing reviews from critics, and it is considered Sufjan’s most critically and commercially successful album.  After releasing several other projects in the late 2000s, Sufjan came out with a much more experimental record in 2010 – The Age of Adz. The album is considered a stylistic departure, and it’s also one of Sufjan’s most dense and challenging records to date.

Recent Releases

Carrie and Lowell, Sufjan’s 2015 hit album, is named after his mother and stepfather. The album received nearly universal acclaim, with its singles, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross,” “Should Have Known Better,” and “Carrie & Lowell” going on to become some of Sufjan’s most successful songs.  Since releasing Carrie and Lowell, Sufjan hasn’t shown any signs of stopping. He’s contributed to soundtracks, collaborated with Bryce Dessner of The National, and released an album with his stepfather. He also released two more studio albums, one in 2020 and one in 2021 – The Ascension and Convocations, respectively.   Sources: Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Album Review | Pitchfork Sufjan Stevens Interview On 'Call Me By Your Name' | Deadline Lowell Brams, Sufjan Stevens – Aporia (2020, Yellow, Vinyl) | Discogs

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