What song inspired St. Vincent to become a musician? Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy.” As she explained to NPR’s Bob Boilen for his book Your Song Changed My Life:
When I was 10, Pearl Jam Ten came out; the first time I heard it I remember being at my friend’s house and MTV was on. I saw the video for “Jeremy” — that would have been fourth grade, and then it was like, OK, I know what I want to do. I was just completely obsessed with Pearl Jam. When I was first playing guitar when I was 12 and writing my own songs, I was doing an Eddie Vedder impression. Like, that’s how I was learning to sing. I mean, everybody liked Pearl Jam at that time, everybody liked Nirvana, everybody even liked Red Hot Chili Peppers, and it was just like, that was the wave, you know? I always felt like, “Oh, you like Pearl Jam? Oh, well do you know this b-side, do you know this rarity? ‘Cause I do. I have all those tapes.” You know, it’s like, you’re a kid and you finally have something that expresses that which you don’t know how to express, and you have this way to construct your identity.
Revisit “Jeremy” below.