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Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann

American indie rock singer-songwriter (born 1960)
Aimee Mann
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American indie rock singer-songwriter (born 1960)
Is Singer Songwriter Actor Musician Composer Television actor Film actor Guitarist
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 8 September 1960, Richmond, City of Richmond, Victoria, USA
Age: 59 years
Star sign VirgoVirgo
Siblings: Chris Penn
Spouse: Michael Penn
Height: 1.8161 m
Berklee College of Music
Rock music
Alternative rock
New wave
Bass guitar
Aimee Mann
The details


Aimee Mann (born September 8, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter. In the 1980s Mann was the bassist and a vocalist for 'Til Tuesday, and wrote their top-ten single "Voices Carry". She released her debut solo album, Whatever, in 1993, and has released many albums since. In 1999, Mann recorded songs for the soundtrack to the Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, which earned Academy Award and Grammy Award nominations for the song "Save Me". She has won two Grammy Awards and was named one of the world's ten greatest living songwriters by NPR in 2006.

Early life

Mann grew up in Bon Air, Virginia, attended Midlothian High School in Chesterfield County, and graduated from Open High School in Richmond, Virginia. In 1978, Mann enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She dropped out of Berklee and joined the Boston rock band the Young Snakes. In 1983, the Young Snakes released the EP Bark Along with The Young Snakes.



In 1983, Mann co-founded the new wave band 'Til Tuesday in Boston with Berklee classmate and boyfriend Michael Hausman (who later managed Mann's solo career). The band released Voices Carry, their debut album, in 1985. The title track, inspired by Mann's breakup with Hausman, reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and won that year's MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist. According to Mann, "Voices Carry" was one of the earliest songs she wrote.

'Til Tuesday released Welcome Home, their second album, the following year. Mann sang vocals with Geddy Lee on the single "Time Stand Still" by Rush from their 1987 album Hold Your Fire. She also appeared in the music video for the song.

'Til Tuesday released their third and final album, Everything's Different Now, in 1988. Mann said that she was much more pleased with it than the band's debut album, primarily because she felt it made more of a personal statement about her life. The album contained the song "The Other End (Of the Telescope)" which Mann wrote and sang with Elvis Costello, but it was the track "(Believed You Were) Lucky", the album's only single, with "Limits to Love" on the B-side.

'Til Tuesday broke up in 1990 when Mann left to start her solo career. Mann said in 2018: "['Til Tuesday] were sort of doing, like, post-new-wave dance-pop stuff ...I started to feel like it was not really my thing. Acoustic guitar music was what I was more influenced by and what came naturally to me."


Mann developed her first solo albums with producer and former 'Til Tuesday bandmate Jon Brion. Her debut solo album, Whatever (1993), sold modestly but met with critical praise. In 1995, Mann released I'm with Stupid, her second album, through Geffen Records which, like her debut, garnered positive reviews but modest commercial success.

According to Stereogum, in the early 90s Mann was seen as "an 80s pop casualty". However, in 1999, Mann recorded original material for the soundtrack to the Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, which earned Academy Award and Grammy Award nominations for the song "Save Me". She negotiated a contract release from David Geffen and co-founded her own label, SuperEgo Records, with manager, Michael Hausman.


Mann in concert on October 15, 2005

In 2000, Mann released Bachelor No. 2, released on SuperEgo Records, which included some songs from Magnolia and new material. That year she and her husband, songwriter Michael Penn, formed a concept called Acoustic Vaudeville, a mixture of music and comedy. Among the comedians joining them for shows were Janeane Garofalo, Patton Oswalt and David Cross.

In 2002, Mann released Lost in Space, with art by cartoonist Seth. The following year she released Lost in Space Special Edition, which features a second disc containing six live recordings (including a version of Coldplay's "The Scientist") as well as two B-sides and two previously unreleased songs.

In 2004, Mann released Live at St. Ann's Warehouse, a live album and DVD recorded at a series of shows in Brooklyn, New York.

In 2005, Mann released The Forgotten Arm, a concept album set in the 1970s about two lovers who meet at the Virginia State Fair and go on the run. The Joe Henry-produced album, which was recorded mostly live with few overdubs, contains illustrations which reflected Mann's interest in boxing. She trained with the boxing trainer Freddie Roach; the album's title is derived from a boxing move in which one arm is used to hit the opponent, causing him to "forget" about the other, which is then used to deliver a harsher blow. The following year, Mann received a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for her contribution in the album's artwork (shared with Gail Marowitz).

In 2006, Mann released One More Drifter in the Snow, a Christmas album featuring both covers and new songs. The album's iTunes version replaced "Christmastime" (a duet with husband Michael Penn) with a cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" and "Clean Up for Christmas" from The Forgotten Arm; an updated version of the CD was released two years later with the Joni Mitchell cover.

In 2008, Mann released @#%&*! Smilers, which features Grammy-nominated artwork by Gary Taxali. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 32 and on the Top Independent Albums chart at number 2. @#%&*! Smilers was met with mostly praise, with Billboard stating that it "pops with color, something that gives it an immediacy that's rare for an artist known for songs that subtly worm their way into the subconscious... Smilers grabs a listener, never making him or her work at learning the record, as there are both big pop hooks and a rich sonic sheen." The music video for the song "31 Today", directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, features comedian Morgan Murphy.

In 2009, Mann announced that she was working on a musical based on her album The Forgotten Arm but later stated that it was put on hold owing to similarities to the film The Fighter (2010).


In 2010, Mann joined the 9th Annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to promote independent musicians. She was also an inaugural member of the panel in 2001.

In 2012, Mann released Charmer, an album which features a duet with James Mercer of the Shins. Two singles were released from the album – the title track, which featured a music video directed by The Best Show's Tom Scharpling; and "Labrador," which featured actor Jon Hamm and references to Mann's music video work with 'Til Tuesday.

In February 2013, Mann and Ted Leo started playing together in a collaborative project called #BOTH and scheduled shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The band name was later changed to the Both. In April 2014, she collaborated with Leo on The Both, their first album. Mann co-wrote the album, as well as providing bass and co-lead vocals alongside Leo.

On July 22, 2013, Mann filed a lawsuit against MediaNet Digital Inc. claiming they were distributing 120 of her songs on an expired license agreement. She attempted to claim as much as $18 million in statutory damages. In 2015, Mann settled out of court.

In February 2014, Mann appeared in "Giant Woman", an episode of Steven Universe, as the voice of the Gem fusion Opal.

In October 2016, Mann released a new song, "Can't You Tell," which was part of the 30 Days 30 Songs campaign in which musicians put out previously unreleased music in protest of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In January 2017, Mann announced Mental Illness, her ninth solo album. The album's lead single, "Goose Snow Cone," was released on the same day. On March 27 Mann performed the song with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The album also contained her other song "Patient Zero" which was inspired by her meeting with Andrew Garfield in Los Angeles of whom at that time she was a big fan. The album was released on March 31, 2017; with Mann releasing the album independently with distribution, marketing, and promotion through Membran Entertainment Group. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, Mann's second win.

In May 2017 Mann and Coulton sang at the Revolution Hall of Portland, Oregon.

In September 2017, Mann contributed a song "Everybody Bleeds" to Season 1, episode 2 of the Netflix original series Big Mouth.

In January 2018, she appeared in an episode of FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as a bar singer where she sang her version of The Cars song "Drive".

In September 2019, Mann reprised her role as Opal in Steven Universe: The Movie; her bandmate Ted Leo is also featured, and the two perform the song "Independent Together" with Pearl's voice actress, Deedee Magno Hall.

In October 2019, her duet with Jim White entitled "Static on the Radio" was featured on the Netflix sequel movie to Breaking Bad, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

Personal life

Mann is influenced by and admires Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sondheim, Fiona Apple, Jimmy Webb, and her husband, Michael Penn (m. 1997) (brother of actors Sean Penn and Chris Penn), whom she married in 1997. They met in 1993 while Mann was recording her album, Whatever.


  • Whatever (1993)
  • I'm with Stupid (1995)
  • Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo (2000)
  • Lost in Space (2002)
  • The Forgotten Arm (2005)
  • One More Drifter in the Snow (2006)
  • @#%&*! Smilers (2008)
  • Charmer (2012)
  • Mental Illness (2017)

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 Magnolia Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Nominated
"Save Me" Best Song Written for Visual Media Nominated
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
2006 The Forgotten Arm Best Recording Package Won
2009 Fucking Smilers Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package Nominated
2018 Mental Illness Best Folk Album Won

Other awards

Year Awards Work Category Result
1985 American Video Awards "Voices Carry" Best Female Performance Won
2000 Academy Awards "Save Me" Best Original Song Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Song Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Nominated
Satellite Awards Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Video from a Film Nominated
Best Editing Won
2006 PLUG Awards The Forgotten Arm Album Art/Packaging of the Year Nominated
2013 A2IM Libera Awards Charmer Creative Packaging Award Nominated
2018 Mental Illness Best American Roots & Folk Album Won

Appearances on other artists' albums

In 1987, Mann provided backing vocals to Inside, Matthew Sweet's debut album. The same year, she performed backing vocals to "The Far Away Nearby", a song on Cyndi Lauper's second album, True Colors.

In 1987, she sang on Rush's song "Time Stand Still" on the album Hold Your Fire. The single is credited as "Rush (featuring Aimee Mann)".

In 1995, she recorded a cover version of Harry Nilsson's "One" on the album For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson and in 1996, "Baby Blue" on the Badfinger tribute album Come and Get It.

In 1997, Mann recorded a cover of "Nobody Does It Better", the theme song of the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, on the album Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project.

In 1998 Mann had contributed her song "Amateur" to the film Sliding Doors.

In 2001, Mann recorded covers of The Beatles' "Two of Us" with Michael Penn, and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" for the soundtrack of the film I Am Sam, though only the former was featured in the film.

In 2002, she contributed vocals on the song "This Far" from John Doe's album Dim Stars Bright Sky.

In 2004, Mann sang on the song "That's Me Trying" from William Shatner's album Has Been (co-written and produced by Ben Folds).

In 2007, she contributed vocals on the song "Unforgiven" from John Doe's album A Year in the Wilderness.

In 2012, she contributed vocals to Steve Vai's album The Story of Light, on the song "No More Amsterdam". That same year, she recorded the song "Two Horses" for the soundtrack of the film Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. Her song "Wise Up" was also used for an organ-donor campaign in Ontario. She contributed vocals to the song "Bigger Than Love" on Ben Gibbard's album Former Lives.

In 2013, Mann was featured on the Ivan & Alyosha album All the Times We Had.

In 2014, Mann contributed a version of Styx's "Come Sail Away" to the Community episode "Geothermal Escapism".

Film and television appearances

In 1998, Aimee Mann made a cameo appearance in the film The Big Lebowski as a German nihilist who sacrifices her green-nail-polished right pinky toe in a kidnapping scheme.

In 2002, Mann and her band appeared as themselves in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, performing her songs "This Is How It Goes" and "Pavlov's Bell" at the Bronze. She has one line in the episode: "Man, I hate playing vampire towns." The latter song also appears on the Buffy soundtrack album Radio Sunnydale. Also that year, she and her band appeared on The West Wing, where they performed a cover of James Taylor's "Shed a Little Light" at a Rock the Vote concert.

In 2006, Mann appeared on an episode of the television series Love Monkey. In 2007, she contributed two original songs, "The Great Beyond" and "At the Edge of the World", for the soundtrack to Arctic Tale. In 2008, Mann appeared in the Comedy Central series Lewis Black's Root of All Evil in a comedic interview conducted by comedian Paul F. Tompkins.

In 2010, Mann sang the opening theme song for One Tree Hill season 8 episode 10.

In 2011, she appeared on the Independent Film Channel series Portlandia; in the sketch, she plays herself working as a cleaning woman, and tells Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein that she needs the second job to make ends meet.

In 2013, Mann had a cameo on the April 8 episode of The Daily Show in a mock appeal to preserve the "habitat" of the crab louse, in a comedy segment about pubic shaving.

In 2014, Mann voice acted on Steven Universe, providing the voice of Opal in episode "Giant Woman".

On November 20, 2014, Mann appeared with Dana Gould and Nick Offerman on @midnight on Comedy Central, and on March 21, 2016, Mann made a second appearance on the show with Jonathan Coulton and Dave Hill.

On August 19, 2015 Mann appeared with the Both band member Ted Leo on Conan performing an unsolicited campaign song for 2016 presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee.

In 2016, Mann covered the Carpenters' hit 1973 single "Yesterday Once More" for episode 2 of HBO's Vinyl. In the episode, Natalie Prass cameos as the visage of Karen Carpenter, lip syncing Mann's cover in a car with Olivia Wilde's character during a dream sequence.

Mann appeared as the moon in Little Big Awesome.

On January 24, 2018, Mann appeared as the character Peg Peterson on Comedy Central's Corporate in the episode "The Pain of Being Alive". She plays the part of an employee of the Hampton DeVille Company with a very desirable parking space. Mann does not sing and no songs are credited to her in this episode, although her song "Nothing is Good Enough" plays as her character is hit by a car.

On February 7, 2018, she appeared in the fourth episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as a singer in a bar. Showrunner Ryan Murphy was insistent that Mann be chosen when it came to casting the role but, after initially turning down the Phil Collins song in the script, Mann instead suggested "Drive" by The Cars and sent a demo which the producers referred to as "a little piece of musical genius".

In 2019 she had created her own podcast called The Art Of Process on which Ted Leo also appears as a co-host. The hosts of the show ask questions of various celebrities, such as Wyatt Cenac and Rebecca Sugar, to name a few.

Also in 2019, she sang "Independent Together" along with Ted Leo (in his role of Steg, the fusion of Steven and Greg) in her role of Opal in Steven Universe: The Movie.

On October 11, 2019, her co-vocals on "Static on the Radio" by Jim White can be heard in A Breaking Bad Movie movie credits.

Other appearances and comments

In 2011 Aimee Mann was one of the guests at the White House to attend the American poetry celebration along with Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Common, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, Jill Scott, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 16 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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