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About Bon Iver
Even if Bon Iver’s career were limited to just his first album, he’d still go down a legend. In the midst of a quarter-life crisis, the artist born Justin Vernon in 1981 shacked up in a cabin outside his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He emerged with 2007’s For Emma, Forever Ago, a gut-wrenching art-folk exorcism that—following the lead of rustic compatriots like Fleet Foxes—pushed indie rock deeper into the woods and inspired untold legions of sensitive bearded men to commit their feelings to tape atop the creak of aging floorboards. But For Emma’s raw serenades weren’t immune to Auto-Tune manipulations, and since that definitive debut, Vernon has used his tech savvy to completely reshape the singer/songwriter archetype through the ethereal art pop of 2011’s self-titled release, the fractured digital operettas of 2016’s 22, A Million, and the densely textured elegance of 2019’s i,i. And as he’s continued to take intimate, confessional indie rock into increasingly expansive and abstract realms, his soothingly soulful vocals and adventurous production have also burrowed a portal from the indie fringes into the pop mainstream. An invite from superfan Kanye West to sing on his 2010 masterwork, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, yielded an ongoing series of collaborations with the rapper and transformed Vernon into the world’s unlikeliest hip-hop impresario, with contributions to records by Travis Scott, Vince Staples, and Eminem. By the time Vernon turned up to duet on Taylor Swift’s 2020 indie-leaning opus, folklore, it felt less like a left-field surprise than further confirmation of the genre-blurring, post-everything world Bon Iver helped create.
- Eau Claire, WI, United States