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Aimee Mann (born September 8, 1960) is an Americanmarker rock guitarist, bassist, singer, and noted songwriter. She has won a Grammy Award (for the packaging of her album The Forgotten Arm).


Early life

Aimee Mann grew up in Bon Airmarker, Virginiamarker, graduated from Midlothian High School and attended the Berklee College of Musicmarker in Bostonmarker, but dropped out to sing with her first punk rock band, the Young Snakes; the band released the EP Bark Along with the Young Snakes in 1982, and a compilation album was issued in 2004.

In 1983, seeking a return to "sweetness and melody", 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 is said to be inspired by Hausman and Mann's breakup. The producer, Mike Thorne, in a March 1999 article disputes this and states the lyrics originally had Mann singing to another woman. The gender was changed due to pressure from the record company. The video became an MTV staple, winning the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist, although Mann's then-signature spiky hair would lead some to dismiss the group. Mann performed with the rock band Rush on the song "Time Stand Still" (from Hold Your Fire, 1987) which became a minor UK hit, singing backup vocals and appearing in the music video. With Mann playing an increasingly important role in songwriting, 'Til Tuesday released two more albums, Welcome Home and 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.

Around the time of the first album's release, Mann began a romantic relationship with Jules Shear; they broke up before the final 'Til Tuesday album, which contained the song "J For Jules." Professional relationships from the band would continue: Hausman later became Mann's manager, and Brion produced her first two solo albums, along with the Magnolia soundtrack.

Early solo career

In 1993, Mann released Whatever, her first solo album. Promotion suffered due to 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.

Meanwhile, film director Paul Thomas Anderson, for whom Mann's husband, Michael Penn, and Brion had composed a soundtrack, became a close friend. Mann gained greater public recognition in 1999 — indeed, more than for anything else since "Voices Carry" — when she contributed eight songs to the soundtrack of Anderson's 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. Mann soon became sought after as a soundtrack contributor.


Disillusioned with both the ineffectual promotion and artistic meddling by her record label, an experience documented in songs such as "Calling It Quits" and "Nothing Is Good Enough", 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 David 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 and Mann's "more indie than indie" success was carefully noted by other musicians.

Mann, Penn, Brion, Fiona Apple, and other musicians had by this time developed a subculture around the Largo nightclub in L.A. Penn and Mann formed a concept called Acoustic Vaudeville to recreate it on tour in Californiamarker and eventually on an irregular, ongoing national tour. The Acoustic Vaudeville shows intermix music and stand-up comedy; among the comedians joining them for individual shows were Janeane Garofalo, Patton Oswalt, and David Cross.

Lost In Space: 2002–2004

Mann continued her solo career with Lost in Space (2002), 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, 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 Brooklynmarker, came out; the two discs were sold packaged together in either a CD jewel case or a DVD case.

The Forgotten Arm and One More Drifter in the Snow: 2005–2006

Mann described her next album, The Forgotten Arm (2005), as a concept album set in the 1970s about two lovers who meet at the Virginiamarker state fair and go on the run. The Joe Henry-produced album, which was recorded mostly live with few overdubs, was released May 3, 2005. The album's illustrations and title reflect Mann's interest in boxing, having trained with legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach. In 2006, Mann received her one Grammy Award to date for "Best Recording Package" for The Forgotten Arm. The album title derives from a boxing move in which one arm is used to hit the opponent, causing him to "forget" about the other arm, which is then used to deliver a harsher blow. The album received weaker reviews overall, with critics impressed at the totality but unimpressed with any individual songs.

Mann also released an EP for Christmas in 2005 as a cover single of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for sale through her website and iTunes. It also included "Christmastime", the 1996 duet she recorded with Penn for the Hard Eight soundtrack, and a cover of "The Christmas Song". The iTunes version replaced "Christmastime" with a cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" and "Clean Up for Christmas" from The Forgotten Arm.

Mann's independence from the industry led to more overt political stances. She joined Artists Against Piracy, a group formed to act against the illegal downloading and file sharing of copyrighted music from the Internet. Mann, Penn and Hausman took their experience with SuperEgo to found the independent music collective United Musicians, which is based on the principle that every artist should be able to retain copyright ownership of the work he or she has created, in contrast to normal music industry contracts.

In July 2006, Mann announced that she would be releasing One More Drifter in the Snow, a full-length Christmas album. The album featured primarily 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. It was released on October 31 in the US, and late November 2006 in the UK.


On July 31, 2007 the soundtrack for the motion picture Arctic Tale was released, featuring two new Mann songs, "The Great Beyond" and "At the Edge of the World".

July 2007 also saw the premiere of the music video for a song entitled "31 Today" (which featured comedienne Morgan Murphy alongside Mann and Bobcat Goldthwait as director) was posted on YouTube. The song appears on Mann's seventh studio album, @#%&*! Smilers, released on June 3, 2008.The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at Number 32 (one of Mann's highest positions to date), and on the Top Independent Albums chart at Number 2. @#%&*! Smilers was met with mostly praise, with Billboard stating that it "pops with color, something that gives it an immediacy that's rare for an artist known for songs that subtly worm their way into the subconscious... Smilers grabs a listener, never making him or her work at learning the record, as there are both big pop hooks and a rich sonic sheen."

Mann joined the 9th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers.
She was also an inaugural member of the IMAs in 2002. In a September 2009 interview with  Los Angeles blog LA Snark, Mann mentioned that she was beginning work on a musical based on her album The Forgotten Arm.



Personal life

Mann met fellow singer-songwriter Michael Penn in the late 1980s and with comparable songwriting styles and record-industry woes to share, they struck up a friendship during the recording of Stupid (to which Penn contributed vocals), which blossomed into romance and their marriage in 1997. Penn and Mann live in the Los Felizmarker neighborhood of Los Angelesmarker. She is stepmother to Liam Penn, Michael's son from a previous marriage.


  1. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. YouTube - "31 Today"
  6. Aimee Mann Message Board
  7. - Artist Chart History - Aimee Mann
  8. - Error
  9. Independent Music Awards
  10. MicControl
  12. Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
  13. Aimee Mann - The LA Snark Interview

External links

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