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

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »