St. Vincent was a guest on Matt Wilkinson’s Beats 1 show where she talks about performing at the Oscars, her fear of heights, working on an album of children’s songs and David Byrne.

On performing at this year’s Oscars…

I wrapped a tour and then the next day started Oscar rehearsals. It’s a whole thing. It’s like fittings because you have to look slightly different at various events...It was funny. There was immense rehearsals for this - not just rehearsals with Sufjan Stevens and that band but also dress rehearsals and run-throughs and stuff like that because it’s a show and it’s live and it has to be really tight.

The stages are like motorised and they move up and some move to the side and there’s this kind of Matrix-y thing behind and under the main stage. They get us - the band - set on the stage and I’m going 'huh that’s weird it’s like 50 feet up to the real stage, we’re way down here' and the fun fact is that I’m terrified of heights so all of a sudden we hear like 'OK you guys ready? We’re moving.' So we’re on this stage moving slowly up 30 feet in the air. This is my nightmare. I’m standing, holding onto the mic stand as if that’s going to help me, that’s not attached to it. But also there’s no barricade on any side, there’s not even like a semblance of safety. Anyway, we get 30 feet up in the air and then it stops and they’re talking and it’s like 'the best animated short blah blah blah' and then you go up again another say 20 feet and at the top of that it’s '1-2-3-4 you’re ready to perform!' I’m like 'oh my God' this is like doing American Gladiators Gauntlet and then like 'and it’s showtime kiddo!' Luckily we ran through that enough times for me to get comfortable but I don’t know if you’ll notice like I’m standing with a very wide stance. It doubles as like a power stance but it also doubles as like 'OK I’m as sturdy as I can possibly be'.

On mixed reactions to her style and solo tour…

It is really fun. Especially the more you do a show, the more you live in it and the more you discover every emotional angle of it. But it was funny because I saw with some of the Oscars stuff that I ended up on either the best dressed or the worst dressed list, I’m like, 'OK I will take it’ and I feel like it was a similar situation with the solo show - people either loved it, truly loved it, or they hated it and it made them angry...So I think it’s funny. What is life about except taking chances and stretching and growing and all that, so I just kind of follow my gut on these things.

On her children’s songs project...

I took my aunt and uncle out on the road with me on this last go round in the states. So in the downtime between tours a few weeks ago I made them record a children’s record in my studio - I produced a children’s record for them! Originally there was going to be, 'let’s do actual children’s songs' and then it turns out that a lot of children songs suck! So I was like, 'ok, let’s take things from a classic, songwriter-y pantheon that could completely appeal to kids because of their sing songy-ness and the relatively clean content'. So it’s kinda like a kid’s record, for parents with taste...The White Stripes' 'We Are Going to be Friends' - like that’s so sweet! And 'Lime and the Coconut' by Harry Nilsson. These are actual songs that I made them record. I’m not sure [when it’s coming out] but it was really fun to do.

On David Byrne...

I made a whole record with David Byrne so as far as the intensity and the breadth of a collaboration, that’s been the biggest one. And I love David Byrne, I love him so much.

I think it was definitely an apology and I thought it was good of him to address it [on David Byrne addressing the criticism he received for the all-male collaborators he used on his album]. There’s always a spectrum and there’s always context. David Bryne I think is on the right side of history in general, in terms of moving the needle forward but I’m glad that he recognised the room that he still has to grow as far as that goes. David’s a class act and again, everybody has room to grow, like every single person has room to widen their frame of reference and be more compassionate and David is a truly, truly good one. I think it was good of him to recognise his room for growth.

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