Artist News Awards

Bon Iver records with Alicia Keys, pans Grammys collaboration

By | Published on Monday 6 February 2012

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver has revealed that he has been writing songs with Alicia Keys, with an ultimate aim to one day collaborate with other artists en masse.

Speaking to USA today, the singer-songwriter says: “I have a big idea to do an American songbook of the greatest women singers. There are so many: Casey [Dienel] from White Hinterland, Bonnie Raitt, Alicia”. He also adds that he’d like to release an all-star “one-off charity album”, since such a project would offer “an excuse to work with a bunch of people that I’d [like] to work with, all at once”.

Though partial to the odd well-chosen studio partnership (Vernon shares various co-credits with St Vincent, Lia Ices, James Blake, Kanye West and, most recently, the Flaming Lips), it seems he and his Bon Iver bandmates didn’t take to the idea of performing with a fellow artiste at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, at which they are nominated in four categories.

He tells Billboard: “We wanted to play our music, but we were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else. And we just felt like it was such a large stage. We’re getting nominated for this record that we made, me and Brian [Joseph] and a bunch of our fucking friends, and we were given accolades for it. And all of a sudden we were being asked to play music that had nothing to do with that. We kind of said ‘fuck you’ a little bit and they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don’t think they wanted us to play”.

Vernon, who in the past has been very vocal (and not to mention, less than complimentary) about his personal attitude towards all-things Grammy, also passed comment on an advert, as soundtracked by Bon Iver’s ‘Holocene’, that’s set to air during a commercial break in the TV transmission of the awards show.

He says: “There’s a big misunderstanding – I don’t want to sell music. But if people are going to be selling music, and they want to sell our music without disturbing the medium of what it actually is, we want to fucking do that. I want people to hear the music that we make. I don’t want to do it in any shitty way”.

You’ll find these, and many more baffling remarks, in this here Billboard interview.