Your Song Changed My Life: St. Vincent On 'Jeremy,' By Pearl Jam NPR Music's Bob Boilen talks with musician St. Vincent about a song that changed her life, "Jeremy," by Pearl Jam.
NPR logo

Your Song Changed My Life: St. Vincent On 'Jeremy,' By Pearl Jam

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476927311/476927312" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Your Song Changed My Life: St. Vincent On 'Jeremy,' By Pearl Jam

Your Song Changed My Life: St. Vincent On 'Jeremy,' By Pearl Jam

Your Song Changed My Life: St. Vincent On 'Jeremy,' By Pearl Jam

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476927311/476927312" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

NPR Music's Bob Boilen talks with musician St. Vincent about a song that changed her life, "Jeremy," by Pearl Jam.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DIGITAL WITNESS")

ST. VINCENT: (Singing) Get back to your seat. Get back, gnashing teeth.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The song is "Digital Witness" by St. Vincent. She's known for innovative dynamic guitar playing and for her richly produced songs. But the song that inspired St. Vincent to become a musician might surprise you. It's a grunge song from 1991. She told NPR Music's Bob Boilen about it for his book "Your Song Changed My Life."

ST. VINCENT: When I was 10, Pearl Jam "Ten" came out. The first time I heard it, I remember being at my friend's house, and MTV was on. I saw the video of Jeremy, you know, heard the song for the first time. That would've been fourth grade. And then it was like OK, I know what I want to do.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JEREMY")

PEARL JAM: (Singing) At home drawing pictures of mountain tops with him on top.

ST. VINCENT: I was just completely obsessed with Pearl Jam. When I was first playing guitar when I was 12 and writing my own songs, I was doing an Eddie Vedder impression. Like, that's how I was learning to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JEREMY")

PEARL JAM: (Singing) Daddy didn't give attention to the fact that mommy didn't care.

ST. VINCENT: I mean, everybody liked Pearl Jam at that time. Everybody liked Nirvana. Everybody even liked, you know, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and it was just like that was the wave, you know? I always felt like, oh, you like Pearl Jam? Oh, well, do you know this B-side? Do you know this rarity? Because I have all those tapes. You know, it's like you're a kid, and you finally have something that expresses that which you don't know how to express. And you have this way to construct your identity.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JEREMY")

PEARL JAM: Jeremy spoke in...

SIEGEL: This is "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam, the song that changed the life of musician St. Vincent. She spoke with NPR's Bob Boilen.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: We say that "Jeremy" was the song that inspired St. Vincent to become a musician. It was one of the songs that did so.]

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Correction May 6, 2016

We say that "Jeremy" was the song that inspired St. Vincent to become a musician. It was one of the songs that did so.