Photography by Theo Wenner. Styled by Patrick Mackie.
Claire Boucher, the 24-year-old singer known as Grimes, rolls her eyes. The cause of her exasperation is the phrase “post-Internet”—throwaway words she once used to describe her strange, soulful electro-dance sound—which has been lobbed back at her ad nauseam. “It seems so pretentious,” she says. Public relations aside, though, she still stands behind its meaning. Her self-produced album Visions, released this spring, has the media hailing the arrival of a “new breed of pop star.” The work is unquestionably the result of growing up in a digital world. Like Boucher, who’s a thin wire of nervous energy, the songs are frenetic, with odd musical references ranging from Enya to Björk to Mariah Carey (for Boucher’s high falsetto). “It’s ADD music,” she explains. “I go through phases a lot.”
Growing up in Vancouver, Boucher says, she went through a Goth period: “I cast spells on my brothers,” she claims. (She considered herself a Wiccan back then.) Much like her music, Boucher’s style is always in flux. “I hate ‘cute,’ ” she says, pointing to her signature short fringe—she’s growing it out because she dislikes the juvenile look it gives her. She’s also well aware that her somewhat extraterrestrial appearance is turning her into a style icon: “I want to make Grimes a high-fashion sci-fi act,” Boucher says—and then pauses, as if she’s already reconsidering.