Grimes (real name Claire Elise Boucher) is a Canadian musician who shot to fame following the success of her third studio album, Visions. She started creating music as an independent artist in the early 2000s, with her first two albums, Geidi Primes and Halfaxa debuting in 2010.
Two years later, Grimes released Vision, which won her a Juno Award for Electronic Album of the Year. Her fourth studio album, 2015’s Art Angels, received widespread critical acclaim, topping best album of the year lists on several publications. She released her fifth album, Miss Anthropocene, in 2020.
This piece will look at Grimes’ parents. She is French-Canadian, Italian, Ukrainian, and Metis.
Grimes multiethnic descent comes out in the music she creates
Grimes was born on 17th March 1988 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her mother, Sandy Garossino, is a former prosecutor and advocate, and her dad is a former banker who works in biotech.
Grimes’ parents raised her Roman Catholic, and though she doesn’t believe in Catholicism, her early religious education plays a role in her life. Her version of Catholicism as a child inspired her famous song, Genesis. She told Intro Magazin:
“My family is Catholic. I went to Catholic school. I am not a Catholic person, but the song Genesis is kind of about nostalgia for the religious experience and I wanted to make a video that was kind of what my childhood brain perceived Catholicism, which was as sort of an action movie.”
Her parents worked a lot, so she spent a lot of time with her Ukrainian grandparents. She heard Russian spoken around the house, and the language stuck with her. It inspired her to use a Russian poem on the album cover of her breakout album Visions. Grimes told Exberliner:
“The’re actually lines from two different poems by Anna Akhmatova, two different approaches to death. I kind of identified with her – she wrote a lot of poems about being a girl in the scene, all that shit. She’s a pretty cool lady. I also just wanted to put some writing on the cover, because I like the way fonts look.”
Grimes has had a memorable grandfather, who, to keep Grimes safe from the people working on his property ‘locked [her] in a shipping container with a pistol.’ Her brother confirmed the story, but he described it as more of a shed than a shipping container.
Growing up alongside four brothers helped sharpen Grimes’ competitiveness
Grimes grew up alongside two brothers and two stepbrothers, who helped sharpen her competitive edge. ‘I remember getting good at this Pokemon video game because it was this ego shit that I had to defeat,” Grimes told Rolling Stone. “I did track and field because I needed to be faster at running at my fucking brothers.”
Growing up as a lone girl among brothers instilled in Grimes a different approach to gender. She wasn’t raised as a boy or a girl, so, as she told The Fader, she doesn’t ‘fucking give a shit about gender.’ Grimes told The Fader that she hates gender-based categories in the music industry. She explained:
“The thing that I hate about the music industry is all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Grimes is a female musician’ and ‘Grimes has a girly voice’. It’s like, yeah, but I’m a producer and I spend all day looking at fucking graphs and EQs and doing really technical work.”
Grimes and her partner Elon Musk have embraced gender-neutral parenting when it comes to raising their baby. “I don’t want to gender them in case that’s not how they feel in their life,” Grimes said in a YouTube Livestream.