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Antony and the Johnsons

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Biography

New York City, New York, United States (1995 – present)

Antony and the Johnsons are a Mercury Prize-winning music act from New York City, New York, United States. The band is fronted by Antony (real name Antony Hegarty) who was born in 1971 and identifies as a transgender person.

During the mid Antony started solo; after originally producing songs with Blacklips Performance Cult and other late-night cabarets he had a number of songs to work with. In 1995 he assembled a backing group—the self-styled Antony and the Johnsons—and began to focus on the musical side of his performances. The group built up a cult following at hip New York clubs such as the Kitchen and Knitting Factory. Antony then received a NYFA for “performance art/emergent forms” which he used to record the Johnsons’ debut album “Blue Angel”, that remained unreleased until Current 93 leader David Tibet signed Antony and the Johnsons to his Durtro label. The cast list of musicians on the album, released under the title “Antony and the Johnsons” in 1998, included Baby Dee (harp), Francois Gehin (bass), Todd Cohen (drums), Charles Neilson (guitar), and a number of string and woodwind players. This album later were reissued in 2000 and in 2004 by Secretly Canadian.

This collection of modern torch songs highlighted Antony’s soulful, multi-octave vocals and the Johnsons’ graceful arrangements, reaching a peak on “Cripple And The Starfish” and “Divine”, the latter a tribute to the late transvestite movie star.

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