Antony and the Johnsons – Everything You Need to Know About This American Band

Dianne Ford
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Music bands and groups are usually formed by good friends, or family members and relatives uniting to show the world their talent for music. Also, a common feature of the band members is that they are bound by a love for music and the same musical genre. But like we said, this is the usual way to form a band. There are other examples, and an excellent one is an American band named Antony and the Johnsons.

The lead vocalist of this music band is Antony Hegarty also known as Anohni, who brought the band together in a very interesting way. Namely, her demos were heard by David Tibet, a man who is a permanent member of the British music group named Current 93. Apparently, the demos left a very positive impression on Tibet, so he decided to offer cooperation to Antony Hegarty. This is a short story about the origins and beginnings of Antony and the Johnsons, and below we have prepared some more extensive material that accompanies this American band from the beginning until today. Well, if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Antony and the Johnsons – Late 90’s beginnings

Like we said, David Tibet was the man who actually “presented” Antony Hegarty to the world of music. He offered Hegarty to record and release his music on his Durtro label. That happened in 1998, however, it cannot be said that this debut album brought some significant success. We almost forgot to mention that the name of the debut album was Antony and the Johnsons, just like the name of the music group. Also, it is interesting that this music group is dedicated to the presentation of the work of Antony Hegarty, also known as Anohni.

The relatively low success of the first album certainly influenced the somewhat later and delayed release of the next short follow-up EP. After three years, more precisely in 2001, the EP titled “I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy” was released. Interestingly, only three songs were featured on this EP. The first is “I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy”, and in addition to this song, the short EP also included a cover of “Mysteries of Love” by Angelo Badalamenti which was one of the soundtracks for the “Twin Peaks” TV series, as well as “Soft Black Stars”, a cover song from the album of Current 93.

Career advancement-Collaboration with big names

The aforementioned EP, however, brought more career progress than Antony Hegarty could have expected. Namely, when he heard the songs, the famous producer Hal Willner presented the work of Anohni to Lou Reed. Reed liked what he heard and decided to work with Antony. His project, The Raven, featured Hegarty as a guest musician. However, in addition to collaborating with the famous artist, Antony received much more, more precisely the signing of a contract with the Secretly Canadian record label.

This move made their songs more available, so her debut album was re-released in 2004 in the United States. That meant the growth of her career. The second full-length album was released in 2005 under the name “I Am a Bird Now”. This album has brought not only greater popularity but also collaborations with big names in the industry such as Lou Reed, Boy George, Rufus Wainwright and Devendra Banhart.

Another significant moment of 2005 for the band is the fact that “Hope there is Someone,” one of their most popular songs, was featured in the film “The Secret Life of Words” by Isabel Coixet.

The following year, the group collaborated with Charles Atlas, an experimental filmmaker, on a project called TOURNING. Also, in 2007, great acclaim arrived for Antony and the Johnsons as their cover of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was included in the “I’m Not There” movie inspired by the life of Bob Dylan.

The following years brought the release of the new “Another World EP” in 2008, as well as a third album “The Crying Light” in 2009. This one brought huge fame to Antony and Johnsons by reaching spot No.1 on the European Billboard charts. 2010 brought another “Thank You for Your Love EP” with covers of the popular songs “Imagine” and “Pressing On” by John Lennon and Bob Dylan.

Also, the fourth studio album called “Swanlights” was released the same year. This was also the last album of this American group. After that, in 2012, the “Cut the World (live)” EP was released, while in 2013, the “Fistful of Love” EP was presented.

Antony and the Johnsons-Members of the group

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So, it is clear that Anohni is the lead vocalist in Antony and the Johnsons. However, besides her, the members who are part of this music group are Julia Kent who plays cello, Parker Kindred on drums, Jeff Langston on bass, Doug Wieselman on horns, Maxim Moston on violin, also in charge of the arrangement, as well as Rob Moose on guitar and violin and Thomas Bartlett on piano. As for former members of the group, Joan Wasser played the violin, Reuben Butchart was on piano and Tahirah Cohen.

Antony and the Johnsons-Awards and Achievements

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During the many years of existence, this American group has achieved great success. First of all, there are numerous collaborations with big names in the music industry and participation in various projects.

Also, it is very important to mention the Danish Music Awards they won in 2006 for Best International Newcomer, Rober Awards Music Poll in 2009 for Best Songwriter, Sweden GAFFA Awards in 2010 for Best Foreign Solo Act as well as their first Mercury Prize for Album of the Year in 2005. We must also mention numerous nominations for some other music awards such as the UK Music Video Awards, MOJO Awards, Best Art Vinyl, etc.

Antony and the Johnsons-Independent Work of Anohni

As we said, Antony and the Johnsons released their last studio album in 2010, so 10 years ago. However, one notable moment is the debut album of their lead singer, Anohni. She released her first album, called “Hopelessness”, in 2016. After that, she also released another EP in 2017 named “Paradise”. But we will not talk about her independent work anymore because this article is dedicated exclusively to Antony and the Johnsons as a music group.

So, that’s all you need to know about this popular and successful American music group. We hope they to release a new album in the near future, although nothing has been announced yet.