Sufjan Stevens Describes 2018 Oscar Performance as 'Traumatizing'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 28, 2020

Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens  (Source:Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

While some might regard performing on the Academy Awards as an honor, for Sufjan Stevens, the experience was "one of the most traumatizing experiences of my entire life," IndieWire reports.

Stevens was nominated in 2018 in the Best Original Song category for "Mystery of Love" from the gay-themed hit film "Call Me By Your Name" and performed the song for the broadcast. Of the experience, the acclaimed singer/songwriter likened the proceedings to "a horrifying Scientology end-of-year prom... everything I hate about America and popular culture."

Undoubtedly, with a viewership of 26 million, the Oscars brought Stevens' music some exposure he might not otherwise have had. Nonetheless, not every artist aspires to mingle with A-listers. "I don't want to have anything to do with that world and that culture. I don't want to be part of any room full of adults hemming and hawing over plastic trophies."

While the award ultimately went to "Remember Me" from the film "Coco," Stevens' contributions to "Call Me By Your Name" — which, in addition to "Mystery of Love," included "Visions of Gideon" and a remix of "Futile Devices" (originally from his 2016 album "The Age of Adz") — received widespread acclaim and are celebrated works in his ambitious catalog.

Stevens' latest album, "The Ascension," released last week, has received good reviews from Pitchfork and The Sydney Morning Herald, and plaudits from Paste and The Independent.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

Comments on Facebook