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Angel Olsen is a master of manipulating her appeal. The singer-songwriter, who dabbles in a multitude of rock adjacent genres, embraces her music with a voice at times called both "disarming" and "wild". Her most recent effort, My Woman, embodies that, both making nods to '50s and '60s jukebox aesthetics as well as energetic dream pop.
Angel Olsen's biggest hits
Olsen has only released three records in her short career so far, but the most recent have been widely and critically lauded. Her 2014 breakout, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, landed her on four Billboard charts, including best alternative record and the Billboard 200. It also found her on dozens of best of the year lists, including the Village Voice's Pazz + Jop poll at No. 8, and at No. 1 for the A.V. Club. Her third album, My Woman, was similarly received; it received an 8.8 rating by Pitchfork and again put Olsen on the Billboard 200 charts as well as almost a dozen international charts and readied her for an Angel Olsen tour.
Angel Olsen's personal life
Olsen grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, as the youngest of eight children after she was adopted at age 3. She was raised by older parents, and she credits them with fostering her love of '50s music. Olsen, however, also notes that her birth uncle had a role in pushing her towards a career in music, saying that he gave her a Yamaha keyboard that she would play in the bathroom while messing with a cassette recorder. At age 20, she moved to Chicago and became active in the local alternative rock scene. After breaking out on her own several years later, she moved to Asheville, North Carolina.
Angel Olsen's history
When Olsen was young and living in St. Louis, she was interested in pursuing the path towards pop music stardom, but when she began attending Christian rock and punk concerts, she decided to focus her musical development on more rock-oriented genres, like country and alternative. She learned to play guitar and piano, wrote her own music and, as she's recalled in interviews, spent her childhood "wishing I could grow up so I could have a woman's voice". Eventually, she found it, and took a gig working with alt-country artist Will Oldham, who hired her as a vocalist and brought her on tour. While on the road, Olsen learned the ropes of the music industry. She's since said that because of her time spent on the road, she learned the importance of sharing her opinion and honed her vocal abilities.
She worked with another great in 2011, when she recorded with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and shortly thereafter, struck out on her own to Chicago. Just a year later, she (with record label Jagjaguwar) released her breakout record, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, which set her up to perform across the country and on the summer festival circuit. In 2013, she moved to Asheville, a place she calls "the Berkeley of the South".
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