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Elvis Perkins performing live at Joe's Pub in New York City on March 1, 2007.
February 9, 1976|
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, harmonica|
|Labels||MIR, XL Records|
Elvis Perkins (born February 9, 1976) is an American folk-rock recording artist. He released his debut studio album, Ash Wednesday, in 2007. He subsequently toured in support of the album with his band Elvis Perkins in Dearland, composed of Perkins alongside multi-instrumentalists Brigham Brough (bass,vocals, saxophone), Wyndham Boylan-Garnett (organ, harmonium, trombone, guitar, vocals) and Nick Kinsey (drums, clarinet, vocals). The band released its eponymous debut, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, on March 10, 2009.
Perkins released his third full-length album, I Aubade, on February 24, 2015, on his label MIR. He toured in support of I Aubade in 2015.
Perkins is the son of actor Anthony Perkins and photographer Berry Berenson. He was raised in Los Angeles and Manhattan with his older brother, actor and director Oz Perkins. Perkins is a great-grandson of the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who was a great-niece of Giovanni Schiaparelli, the Italian astronomer who believed he had discovered the supposed canals of Mars, and a nephew of the actress Marisa Berenson, Berry's sister. His paternal grandfather Osgood Perkins, was also an actor. His maternal great-grandfather was Count Wilhelm de Wendt de Kerlor, a theosophist and psychic medium. His mother was a great-grandniece of art expert Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), whose sister Senda (1868-1954) was an athlete and educator and one of the first two women elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Perkins attended Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, after graduating from high school at the Harvard-Westlake School in 1994.
Perkins' father was an Elvis Presley fan and thus named his son Elvis. Perkins took to music at an early age, briefly learning the saxophone before picking up the guitar in high school and taking lessons with Prescott Niles, one-time bassist for The Knack. While he played in rock bands, Perkins developed an interest in the classical guitar, and began to compose music in both idioms. He also wrote poetry, and that gradually morphed into lyrics. After a short stint at college, he began to cultivate the idiosyncratic, highly personalized style that distinguishes Ash Wednesday.
"It's been a long journey, long in the coming," Perkins admits, when he discusses the album, and it took a serious detour on September 11, 2001, when his mother, a passenger on the ill-fated American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles, perished in the attack on New York City's twin towers a day before the ninth anniversary of his father's death. Ash Wednesday was shaped in part by that event and its aftermath.
Berry Berenson was the younger daughter of Robert L. Berenson, an American diplomat turned shipping executive, who was of Lithuanian Jewish descent; his mother's family's original surname was Valvrojenski.
Some of his ancestry on his mother's side is French, Jewish, Egyptian, Italian, and Swiss. His father Anthony Perkins died in 1992 of complications related to AIDS.
In 2007 he did a Take-Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon.
His band released its debut album Elvis Perkins in Dearland on 10 March 2009.
His song "Doomsday" from the Doomsday EP appeared on the second season premiere of the HBO series Enlightened.
In 2009, he worked with the Yellow Bird Project to create a T-shirt to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. In the same year, on September 2, he performed an acoustic benefit concert in New York City at the Housing Works Bookstore Café to help promote the project's first publication.
On February 24, 2015, Perkins released his third full-length album, I Aubade, on his newly established label MIR. It is manufactured and distributed by the music division of Isolation Network, INGrooves. It will be available outside the US on April 20, 2015.
The French indie label Microcultures, released a session in October 2016 that was recorded for France Musique Radio's Label Pop, hosted by music journalist Vincent Theval. The album featured the first incarnation of his I Aubade touring band, multi-instrumentalists Mitchell Robe and Danielle Aykroyd, a song-writer who goes by the pseudonym Vera Sola. Sola credits the launch of her career to Elvis' support and encouragement.
In recent years, Perkins has been collaborating with his brother Osgood on scores for the latter's films. The critically acclaimed score to "Blackcoat's Daughter" was released on DeathWaltz Recordings in March 2017. The New York Times writes: ""The Blackcoat's Daughter" bewitches with silky-smooth camera movements and a rolling, reverberating musical score (by Elvis Perkins, the director's brother)." Roger Ebert wrote of it that the score set the perfect atmospheric tone for the film.