Tuesday, September 4, 2012


With all of her talents and accomplishments—singer, songwriter, musician, DJ, performer, provocateur—maybe a better question would be, who ISN'T Peaches? At one point, she even had her own action figure, but her career didn't fully explode until she was in her early thirties.

Peaches, born Merrill Nisker in Toronto, graduated from Toronto's York University. For nearly a decade afterwards, she educated kids—first at a local YMCA, and later at private schools and homes—through a self-designed program she developed to "cultivate children's creativity outside of the established structure of music and drama classes."

All the while, she was honing her skills, germinating the seeds of what would eventually explode into the Peaches persona.

She began her musical career with folk songs, but soon developed her own unique sound and style: rapping over a Roland MC505 sequencer. Frustrated with her prospects in Toronto, and with hardly any radio support, she moved to Berlin. After one gig performing the tracks from an EP she'd recorded, the Kitty-Yo label signed her immediately. That EP (Lovertits) and an album (The Teaches Of Peaches) soon followed.

Her subsequent four albums (Fatherfucker, Impeach My Bush, I Feel Cream) ran the gamut from rapping over heavy synths and samples to a full rock band sound and then onwards to pure dance music complemented by Peaches' astonishing vocal range (a skill she held back on revealing until she felt people had already accepted her musical skills). Her 2010 one-woman production of Peaches Christ Superstar, a reimagining of the '70s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, was another success.

The Guardian once proclaimed, "as a pop star, Peaches is so niche she needs a category of her own."
 Peaches' music and live performances push boundaries, combining theater, burlesque, and cabaret, while addressing beauty, feminism, mainstream and alternative culture, gender identity, sexual politics, and well, regular politics.

A January 2012 interview with Typewriter Trasher posed this question to Peaches: "What does it take to have longevity at a time when everyone is so obsessed with what’s new?" Her response?

"I think you just have to go along and keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing, and realize that there are times when it’s going to click with people and there are times when, even if you think it’s your best work, it’s just not going to. And that can’t discourage you."

Viva la Peaches, the epitome of not just DIY but also Do What You Want. Her latest creation, Peaches Does Herself, is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Thur., Sept. 13th, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA 9:00PM
Sat., Sept. 15th, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4 3:15PM
Sun., Sept. 16th, JACKMAN HALL (AGO) 4:00PM

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