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Exclusive Audio: Sufjan Stevens

December 14, 2006 5:00 PM ET

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has promised to write an album about each of the fifty states. The quietly prolific indie darling is four percent done, having released Greetings From Michigan and Illinois. Despite the long journey ahead, he took some time away from his ambitious project to talk to Austin Scaggs about how Arthur Lee influenced his songwriting, the strange things you hear when you hang out in deserted churches at night, and why, despite his strong Christian ties, Christmas is just like any other day for him.

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Song Stories

“Fantasy”

Mariah Carey | 1995

Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

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