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Aimee Mann Biography

Home > Music > M > Mann, Aimee > Biography

Born: 1960/09/08
Birth Place: Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Years Active: 1982–present
Genres: Rock, Folk

Aimee Mann (born September 8, 1960) is an American rock singer-songwriter, guitarist and bassist. Mann grew up in Bon Air, Virginia and attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but dropped out to sing with her first punk rock band, the Young Snakes.

In 1983, she co-founded with Berklee classmate and boyfriend Michael Hausman the new wave band 'Til Tuesday, which achieved success in 1985 with its first album, “Voices Carry.” The title song was said to be inspired by Hausman and Mann's breakup. The video became an MTV staple, winning the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist.

Mann was featured on the Rush song, “Time Stand Still,” (from “Hold Your Fire,” 1987) which hit #3 on the Billboard Rock chart and became a minor U.K. hit. With Mann playing an increasingly important role in songwriting, 'Til Tuesday released two more albums, 1986’s “Welcome Home” and 1988’s “Everything's Different Now.” On their final tour, musician Jon Brion joined the band, which broke up in 1990 when Mann left to start her solo career.

In 1993, Mann released, “Whatever,” her first solo album. Promotion suffered from the collapse of her label, Imago. The album sold modestly and met with critical praise, paving the way for her next release, 1995's “I'm with Stupid,” through Geffen Records. Again, reviews were positive, but sales were weak.

Mann recorded, “Bachelor No. 2,” but Geffen saw no hit singles in the material and ordered her back to the studio. The album languished while Mann and the label fought. In 1997 Mann recorded, “Nobody Does It Better,” on the album, “Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project.”

Meanwhile, Mann became friends with film director Paul Thomas Anderson. This developed as her husband, Michael Penn, and Brion composed the soundtrack for Anderson's movie, “Hard Eight.” Mann gained greater public recognition in 1999 when she contributed eight songs to the soundtrack of Anderson's feature film, “Magnolia,” including the Academy Award and Grammy-nominated song, “Save Me.” Anderson deliberately worked from Mann's lyrics to create the film's characters and situations.

Disillusioned with both the ineffectual promotion and artistic meddling by her record label, she struck out on her own and founded SuperEgo Records in 1999. Mann self-released, “Bachelor No. 2,” in 2000, having negotiated a contract release from Geffen, and though initially only sold at concerts and via her website, the album became successful, allowing her to secure retail distribution through SuperEgo. The album, which included some songs from, “Magnolia,” and new material, was widely admired.

Mann continued her solo career with 2002’s “Lost in Space,” a somewhat more somber album in the same vein as, “Bachelor No. 2,” featuring art by Seth. In 2003 her website released the, “Lost in Space Special Edition,” which featured a second disc containing six live recordings (including a version of Coldplay's “The Scientist”), as well two B-sides and two previously unreleased songs.

In November 2004, “Live at St. Ann's Warehouse,” a live album and DVD recorded at a series of June 2004 shows in Brooklyn, was released. Mann described her next album, “The Forgotten Arm,” as a concept album set in the 1970s about two lovers who meet at the Virginia State Fair and go on the run. The Joe Henry-produced album, which was recorded mostly live with few overdubs, was released in 2005. The album's illustrations and title reflected Mann's interest in boxing, having trained with the boxing trainer Freddie Roach. In 2006, Mann received her first Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for art direction work related to “The Forgotten Arm.”

Mann also released an EP for Christmas in 2005 as a cover single of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It also included, “Christmastime,” the 1996 duet she recorded with Penn for the “Hard Eight” soundtrack, and a cover of “The Christmas Song.” In 2006, Mann released, “One More Drifter in the Snow,” a full-length Christmas album. The album primarily featured covers of Christmas standards, as well as a new version of, “Christmastime,” and an original song, called “Calling On Mary,” written by Mann and bassist Paul Bryan, who produced the record.

July 2007 also saw the premiere of the music video for her song entitled, “31 Today,” on YouTube. The song appeared on Mann's seventh studio album, “@#%&*! Smilers,” released in 2008. It featured cover and inside art by Gary Taxali which was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Art Package. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 Albums chart at #32 and on the Billboard Independent Albums chart at #2.

Mann issued her eighth solo studio album, “Charmer,” on SuperEgo in 2012. The album was produced by Mann's bassist, Paul Bryan, and featured a guest appearance by The Shins’ frontman James Mercer, who sang with Mann on the track, “Living a Lie.”