St. Vincent‘s Annie Clark returned to her hometown of Marfa, Texas where she discussed the cocktail of kinetic energy and fear that drove her towards music, as well as the high stakes that keep pushing her as a performer, in a short documentary for Nowness directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz.
Ortiz, who has been documenting St. Vincent on tour for years, captured the musician as she barreled down a dirt road in a rental car and explored her small patch of the vast Lone Star State. “Texas is just home,” Clark mused. “And out here you can just exist, which is sometimes sort of scary — that you can just be here.”
That fear, Clark added, was often the product of untapped kinetic energy, which she eventually directed towards making music. “I just have a compulsion, I have a drive, I have something that compels me forward to keep making music and doing the thing that makes me, ultimately, the happiest,” she said.
To that end, the short features stunning footage of St. Vincent onstage, but one of its most intriguing moments is Clark warbling “The Star Spangled Banner” at a local baseball game. Even then, there’s some semblance of the emotional exchange between artist and audience that Clark loves most about performing.
“You’re holding on for dear life and you have nothing and everything to lose,” Clark said. “It’s nice when there are high stakes, in any kind of art. It’s nice when you feel like it’s do or die and it’s so real, it’s so human, it’s so in the moment that it’s just the best thing.”
St. Vincent recently wrapped the final leg of her Digital Witness tour, which launched in February 2014 around the release of her self-titled fourth LP. The album went on to win the 2015 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, beating efforts by Arcade Fire and Jack White.
“The question is always ‘Alternative to what?'” Clark told Rolling Stone after the win. “But I think they added this award in response to the Seattle bands of the early-Nineties — and that’s a great legacy to follow.”