Yesterday, Sufjan Stevens was just another Petoskey high schooler blowing his oboe to Wham!’s Careless Whisper on the steps of Michigan’s state capitol. Today, the North-raised indie folkster is taking his own brand of dreamy folk-electronica to the stages of the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
You could say the first sign the Interlochen alum had hit the big time was in 2006, when music magazine Pitchfork reported Stevens’s first false celebrity rumor. The claim? Friend and fellow musician Rosie Thomas was carrying his baby. Stevens refuted the story—started, incidentally, as a prank by Thomas, whom Stevens says (by way of defending her) also enjoys donning a neck brace and glasses to deliver pizzas while posing as a fictional dimwit named Shiela Saputo. The offending mag retracted, and Stevens got back to nurturing his real baby: a much-hyped 50-album ode to the states.
We swooned for his firstborn Michigan album, adored his critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Illinois, and like the rest of the nation, eagerly await his third.
We may be waiting a while. In a 2006 interview with Harp Magazine, Stevens said of his 50-state album plan, “I kind of wish I didn’t say anything.” Oh well. Fifty albums or two, Michigan will always be No. 1.—L.T.
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