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Sufjan Stevens

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 Sufjan Stevens Biography

Sufjan Stevens was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in the chilly upper reaches of the Lower Peninsula. A self-taught musician, the young Sufjan pounded out elaborate Mozartian sonatas on a toy Casio, and by college became proficient on the oboe, recorder, banjo, guitar, vibraphone, bass, drums, piano, and other instruments too numerous to mention. Somewhere along the line he also started to sing, though at the time his friends didn't encourage it. He bought a 4-track tape cassette recorder and painstakingly composed 90-minute concept albums for The Nine Planets, The 12 Apostles, and The Four Humors. He read William Blake, William Wordsworth, and William Faulkner. At that time, in college, the world loomed large and daunting, and Sufjan's music came to sound like a medieval woodwind ensemble waving swords and torches at the twelve-headed dragon of death. During his last semester in college, Sufjan pruned, picked, and assembled a selection of these songs to produce the inaugural release 'A Sun Came' on Asthmatic Kitty Records, a home label Sufjan initiated with his step-dad Lowell. A thousand copies were manufactured and shipped to a dark, dank closet somewhere in the vacuous black hole of the universe, where they shifted and snored in their sleep for several years to come.

Sufjan then moved to New York City and lived bohemian style, with three other college graduates, in the unfashionable financial district, commuting by bike to The New School for Social Research, where he was enrolled in the masters program for writers. There he met Jhumpa Lahiri, harassed Philip Gourevitch on the telephone, and tried unsuccessfully to complete an epic collection of stories and sketches about backwoods Midwestern kinsmenChristian Fundamentalists, Amway salesmen, crystal healers all set in a small rural town in Michigan. Hmmmm. No one seemed very interested. Sufjan went back to the 4-track, tired of 'words, words, words,' and set out to complete his most ambitious project to date: a collection of programmatic, symphonic songs for the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. There were no lyrics, but more than a few cymbal swells, flourishes on the oboe, and ambient organ drones, all accompanied by computer-generated techno beats, and digital noise. The result was enterprising, but not quite flattering. He sent a few copies to press, which fell on confused ears. '...A hyper-modified Atari battling a souped-up Colecovision in a chess match/battle royal,' one writer noted. Feeling inspired, Sufjan dropped off a copy at New York's favored record store, Other Music, only to find it in the used section, reduced price, two weeks later. Sufjan took this as a compliment. His label did not. Write songs, his step-dad insisted. Write something with words and melodies.

Sufjan went back to the books, mainly his own unwritten one. Taking bits and scraps of unfinished stories (character sketches, plot lines, penciled diagrams) Sufjan began to arrange his misshapen fiction into the bold mechanics of song, making friends with line breaks, meter, and rhyme scheme. These things led to melody, odd time signature, and a litany of jingle jangles on the drum kit, which had been taken out of storage once and for all. Here and there, on weekend trips, in quiet gasps of free time, Sufjan carried around his 8-track, recording songs in people's homes, in cinderblock basements, in barn houses and rehearsal rooms. The vibraphone in Massachusetts, the electric organ in New Jersey, his sister's husband's grand piano, upstate Michigan. Word by word, note by note, everything came together like one great cosmic shuffle, the Big Bang. The result was a lushly orchestrated road trip through the backwoods of The Great Lake State, from motor-city to the winter beaches of Lake Superior. Now this is more like it! his step-dad said. This sounds pretty good! They decided to release it to the public, to act like a real record label. They found a distributor, a publicist, a booking agent, a make-up artist, a mime. Things were looking good. People lent an eager ear. The critics lowered their knives and their critical brow. Other Music put it in New Releases, top shelf! Europeans weren't offended! Sufjan began to feel gallant and bold and confident about this great place called Planet Earth. This is just the beginning! he proclaimed over loudspeakers. This is just the tip of the iceberg! Galvanized by tourist brochures, road atlas maps, and the spirit of Walt Whitman, Sufjan began to intimate at other songs for other states, the American Dream, the national anthem, the continental rigmarole, the Delaware shuffle, Florida flamenco, California swing, all dramatized in song, the great epic symphony, in 50 movements, in 50 years! Lord help us!

Once the clang and clamor of patriotism subsided, Sufjan's musical inquiry fell fast on the Land of Lincoln, stirred, perhaps, by sentimental recollections of his rebellious young adulthood on Clark Street in Chicago, Wrigleyville, the beachfront parks, the homeless kids with their pets, the abandoned school house, where he slept on a desk. During the winter of 2004, Sufjan spent four months in isolation, reading books and biographies, memorizing the unfashionable poems of Carl Sandburg, laughing and shuddering through Saul Bellow's novels. He uncovered police blogs and books on tape. He solicited correspondence from old friends, Illinoisans once lost or estranged; he studied travel guides; he quizzed chat rooms; he made stuff up. All research, he decided, begins with your imagination and with your intuition, relying heavily on the convictions of the heart. During those long winter hand-clapping, piano-playing, drum-rolling months, Sufjan's heart began to expand, leaving its fist-shaped mark on a series of songs that not so much pay homage to the Prairie State, but rack and rend its characters through potato farms, steel factories, street fairs, marching parades, convoluted rivers, and centuries past and present. The result was something bold, flashy, and ripe with advertisement, like the Goodyear blimp, but not without Sufjan's tender rendering of the imagination. When all was said and done, Sufjan felt irrevocable changes taking place within his body, like a second puberty. His shoulders broadened, his mind quickened, his heart began to beat with quiet, patient thumps in a rhythm as fluid and faithful as the Chicago River.

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FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Sufjan Stevens?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Sufjan Stevens for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Sufjan Stevens, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Sufjan Stevens or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Sufjan Stevens?

    Booking fees for Sufjan Stevens, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Sufjan Stevens, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Sufjan Stevens?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Sufjan Stevens for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Sufjan Stevens for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Sufjan Stevens or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Sufjan Stevens or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Sufjan Stevens

Musician

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Sufjan Stevens Biography

Sufjan Stevens was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in the chilly upper reaches of the Lower Peninsula. A self-taught musician, the young Sufjan pounded out elaborate Mozartian sonatas on a toy Casio, and by college became proficient on the oboe, recorder, banjo, guitar, vibraphone, bass, drums, piano, and other instruments too numerous to mention. Somewhere along the line he also started to sing, though at the time his friends didn't encourage it. He bought a 4-track tape cassette recorder and painstakingly composed 90-minute concept albums for The Nine Planets, The 12 Apostles, and The Four Humors. He read William Blake, William Wordsworth, and William Faulkner. At that time, in college, the world loomed large and daunting, and Sufjan's music came to sound like a medieval woodwind ensemble waving swords and torches at the twelve-headed dragon of death. During his last semester in college, Sufjan pruned, picked, and assembled a selection of these songs to produce the inaugural release 'A Sun Came' on Asthmatic Kitty Records, a home label Sufjan initiated with his step-dad Lowell. A thousand copies were manufactured and shipped to a dark, dank closet somewhere in the vacuous black hole of the universe, where they shifted and snored in their sleep for several years to come.

Sufjan then moved to New York City and lived bohemian style, with three other college graduates, in the unfashionable financial district, commuting by bike to The New School for Social Research, where he was enrolled in the masters program for writers. There he met Jhumpa Lahiri, harassed Philip Gourevitch on the telephone, and tried unsuccessfully to complete an epic collection of stories and sketches about backwoods Midwestern kinsmenChristian Fundamentalists, Amway salesmen, crystal healers all set in a small rural town in Michigan. Hmmmm. No one seemed very interested. Sufjan went back to the 4-track, tired of 'words, words, words,' and set out to complete his most ambitious project to date: a collection of programmatic, symphonic songs for the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. There were no lyrics, but more than a few cymbal swells, flourishes on the oboe, and ambient organ drones, all accompanied by computer-generated techno beats, and digital noise. The result was enterprising, but not quite flattering. He sent a few copies to press, which fell on confused ears. '...A hyper-modified Atari battling a souped-up Colecovision in a chess match/battle royal,' one writer noted. Feeling inspired, Sufjan dropped off a copy at New York's favored record store, Other Music, only to find it in the used section, reduced price, two weeks later. Sufjan took this as a compliment. His label did not. Write songs, his step-dad insisted. Write something with words and melodies.

Sufjan went back to the books, mainly his own unwritten one. Taking bits and scraps of unfinished stories (character sketches, plot lines, penciled diagrams) Sufjan began to arrange his misshapen fiction into the bold mechanics of song, making friends with line breaks, meter, and rhyme scheme. These things led to melody, odd time signature, and a litany of jingle jangles on the drum kit, which had been taken out of storage once and for all. Here and there, on weekend trips, in quiet gasps of free time, Sufjan carried around his 8-track, recording songs in people's homes, in cinderblock basements, in barn houses and rehearsal rooms. The vibraphone in Massachusetts, the electric organ in New Jersey, his sister's husband's grand piano, upstate Michigan. Word by word, note by note, everything came together like one great cosmic shuffle, the Big Bang. The result was a lushly orchestrated road trip through the backwoods of The Great Lake State, from motor-city to the winter beaches of Lake Superior. Now this is more like it! his step-dad said. This sounds pretty good! They decided to release it to the public, to act like a real record label. They found a distributor, a publicist, a booking agent, a make-up artist, a mime. Things were looking good. People lent an eager ear. The critics lowered their knives and their critical brow. Other Music put it in New Releases, top shelf! Europeans weren't offended! Sufjan began to feel gallant and bold and confident about this great place called Planet Earth. This is just the beginning! he proclaimed over loudspeakers. This is just the tip of the iceberg! Galvanized by tourist brochures, road atlas maps, and the spirit of Walt Whitman, Sufjan began to intimate at other songs for other states, the American Dream, the national anthem, the continental rigmarole, the Delaware shuffle, Florida flamenco, California swing, all dramatized in song, the great epic symphony, in 50 movements, in 50 years! Lord help us!

Once the clang and clamor of patriotism subsided, Sufjan's musical inquiry fell fast on the Land of Lincoln, stirred, perhaps, by sentimental recollections of his rebellious young adulthood on Clark Street in Chicago, Wrigleyville, the beachfront parks, the homeless kids with their pets, the abandoned school house, where he slept on a desk. During the winter of 2004, Sufjan spent four months in isolation, reading books and biographies, memorizing the unfashionable poems of Carl Sandburg, laughing and shuddering through Saul Bellow's novels. He uncovered police blogs and books on tape. He solicited correspondence from old friends, Illinoisans once lost or estranged; he studied travel guides; he quizzed chat rooms; he made stuff up. All research, he decided, begins with your imagination and with your intuition, relying heavily on the convictions of the heart. During those long winter hand-clapping, piano-playing, drum-rolling months, Sufjan's heart began to expand, leaving its fist-shaped mark on a series of songs that not so much pay homage to the Prairie State, but rack and rend its characters through potato farms, steel factories, street fairs, marching parades, convoluted rivers, and centuries past and present. The result was something bold, flashy, and ripe with advertisement, like the Goodyear blimp, but not without Sufjan's tender rendering of the imagination. When all was said and done, Sufjan felt irrevocable changes taking place within his body, like a second puberty. His shoulders broadened, his mind quickened, his heart began to beat with quiet, patient thumps in a rhythm as fluid and faithful as the Chicago River.

FAQs on booking Sufjan Stevens

  • How to book Sufjan Stevens?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Sufjan Stevens for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Sufjan Stevens, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Sufjan Stevens or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Sufjan Stevens?

    Booking fees for Sufjan Stevens, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Sufjan Stevens, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Sufjan Stevens?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Sufjan Stevens for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Sufjan Stevens for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Sufjan Stevens or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Sufjan Stevens or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Sufjan Stevens is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Sufjan Stevens for your event is available upon request. Sufjan Stevens generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Arcade Fire, Lyle Lovett, The Wallflowers, Douglas Rushkoff and Beverly Joubert. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Sufjan Stevens for an upcoming event.

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Speakers Similar to Sufjan Stevens

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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