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Leslie Feist (Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada, February 13, 1976), whose stage name is Feist , is a Canadian singer-songwriter nominated for the Grammy Awards. He also belonged to the indie music group Broken Social Scene.
Feist’s parents were artists. His father, Harold Feist, was a painter of abstract expressionism and a professor at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Mount Allison University, and his mother studied ceramics. His first son, Ben, is currently a software engineer in Toronto. The family moved to the maritime provinces of Canada, and Leslie Feist was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Their parents divorced right after, and Leslie, Ben and their mother moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, where they lived with their grandparents, and later to Calgary, Alberta. His greatest aspiration was to write, but he spent most of his childhood singing in choirs. At the age of twelve, Feist performed with 1,000 dancers at the opening ceremony of the Calgary Winter Olympics. He also has two stepbrothers, Emily and Jackson, fruit of his father’s second marriage.
In 1991, at the age of 15, Feist began his musical career when he created a punk band called Placebo (not to be confused with the British band Placebo), of which he was the lead singer. She and the band members won the local contest, “Battle of Bands,” where they were awarded the opening performance of the “Festival Infest” in 1993, and in which they performed along with the Ramones. In that concert he met Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew (his current partner), with whom he formed Broken Social Scene ten years later.
In 1995, Feist was forced to take some time off to recover from a vocal cord problem. He moved from Calgary to Toronto in 1996 and started guitar lessons. In 1998, she was the rhythm guitarist for the band “By Divine Right” with whom she went on tour until 2000.
In 1999 he also released his debut solo album, Monarch (Lay Your Jeweled Head Down), which was produced by Dan Kurtz, who later formed “Dragonette”. At this time he played a beige JK Ledo guitar from the 70s, which he named “Smoker’s Tooth” due to its discolored tone, and which was stolen at a concert in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2000 .
In 1999, Feist went to the house of a friend, Merrill Nisker, who started playing electro-punk music under the name of Peaches. Feist worked behind the scenes at Peaches’ concerts, in which he used a puppet he called “Bitch Lap Lap.” Also, Feist appeared as a guest vocalist in The Teaches of Peaches. Also, he met the musician José González with whom he collaborated for a long time.
Let It Die
In the summer of 2001, Feist self-produced seven songs in his house that he titled The Red Demos and that have never been commercialized. She spent more than two years touring Europe with José González and in that same year, she together with a group of old friends formed the popular indie-rock group of Toronto Broken Social Scene and later, they recorded You Forgot It in People. While on tour with Gonzalez, they began recording new versions of their home album Red Demos, which would later become the first album with an important label, Let It Die, where she became known for her skill as a singer-songwriter and for her innovation when interpreting songs by other artists.
After recording Let It Die, Feist moved to Paris. In Europe, she collaborated with the Norwegian duet Kings of Convenience as co-author and guest vocalist on her album Riot on an Empty Street, in addition to writing and singing “The Simple Story” together with Jane Birkin on her album Rendezvous.
Feist gave tours from 2004 to 2006 in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In Canada, he won two “Juno” awards for the “best revelation artist” and the “best alternative rock album” in 2004. Let It Die sales reached 500,000 copies internationally, for which he was awarded a disc of platinum in Canada and another gold in France.
In 2005, Feist participated in the UNICEF charity song “Do They Know It’s Hallowe’en?” (Do you know what Halloween is?).
At the beginning of 2006, Feist returned to Europe to record at LaFrette Studios a second part of Let It Die with José González, Mocky, Jamie Lidell and Renaud Letang, in addition to their group members, Bryden Baird, Jesse Baird, Julian Brown from “Apostle of Hustle”, and Afie Jurvanen from “Paso Mino”. In April 2006, he released an album of mixes and collaborations with the title “Open Season”.
Feist’s third solo album, “The Reminder,” was released in Europe on April 23, 2007 and in May of the same year, in Canada, the US and the rest of the world. From there, he undertook a world tour to promote the album, which includes “1234”, a song composed together with Sally Seltmann from “New Buffalo” that became hit lists after appearing in an ad for iPod nano, positioning itself in the eighth position in the US, an extraordinary achievement for indie music and especially after being on the “Top Ten” list of downloads. The success of Feist has been recognized by several media and specifically appeared on the cover of the art section of the New York Times in June 2007.
Before the commercial of Apple’s iPod Nano, The Reminder sold about 6,000 copies per week, and “1234” reached about 2,000 downloads per week. After the announcement, the song was downloaded a total of 73,000 times and ranked seventh on the “Hot Digital Songs” list and number 28 on the “Billboard Hot 100” list. The Reminder jumped from number 36 to 28 on the “Billboard 200” list, with a total of 19,000 copies sold.
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