To call Annie Clark, better known to millions as St. Vincent, a musician is woefully inadequate. And to say she's a performer barely begins to capture the scope of what this Dallas native has been bringing to her fans for almost a decade.
Clark is constantly in the news, with stories sharing the Grammy winner's exploits, thoughts and achievements. Recently, Clark has been a part of a group of notable artists who signed a letter to the Texas legislature speaking out against Texas' proposed "bathroom bill"; released XX, an indie horror flick she helped direct and write; and has been named Record Store Day ambassador, following in the tracks of Metallica, Iggy Pop, Chuck D and Jack White, among others.
The Funny or Die video announcing this role is hilarious:
She's also engaged in the year-long process of recording her next album, the follow up to 2014's stunning, self-titled LP.
Not to be lost in the flood of St. Vincent news is the release of her latest line of signature guitars. The Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Signature collection was released this week, and just like her trailblazing role as Record Store Day ambassador, oddly enough, her line is the first major-market line of solid-body guitars envisioned and designed by a woman.
As of this week, the line, consisting of four different color designs, is available in most places you would typically go to find a killer guitar, including Guitar Center.
Unsurprisingly, the guitars have been gathering raves for their style and performance. Guitar Player magazine described them as "flawless," and Esquire says they "look badass."
And it's worth noting these new guitars are certainly not for women only.
Clark had much more in mind when designing these axes than the anatomical needs specific to women: "It's an all-gender guitar, so it's inclusive, not exclusive, but it is lightweight," Clark explains over the phone one recent afternoon. "That was very important to me since I'm standing and playing a couple hours a day. I wanted the tone to have a lot of flexibility so you can play multiple songs in a row without changing guitars and hurting the flow of a show."
With a vivid flair for style, Clark also had keen thoughts on the other aspects of how her guitar would be a killer model.
"I knew I wanted to be angular and have a sort of retro, futuristic appeal," she explains. "Some of my favorite guitars to play are the '60s silver tone types that were popular a long time ago. I love how lively those guitars are."
Asked by the NFL last year prior to the start of the Dallas Cowboy's season to record her own take on the National Anthem, her virtuosity isn't a secret by any means. Recognized as one of the premiere guitar players of today, thanks to her endless innovation and ability to make sounds that others simply can't, Clark admits that this guitar was also conceptualized with the thought of improving on its owner's style.
"I thought, 'playing a guitar should be like wearing a really well-tailored suit,'" Clark says. "A well-tailored suit makes you look better than you really are and a great guitar helps you sound better than you are. That's what I tried to do."
Of course, offering a guitar player the chance to design a line of signature instruments is akin to asking Hillary Clinton if she would like to produce her own line of sensible pantsuits. As with so many of her artistic pursuits and passions, this was a chance Clark jumped into with both hands.
"It was like walking into Willy Wonka's factory," Clark says with a chuckle. "And getting to make my own Everlasting Gobstopper."