Artist

Perfume Genius

Not so long ago, Mike Hadreas was working in a department store--making keys, mixing paint, and one time being sent home for openly weeping. After many years wasted on drugs and alcohol, and then a brief stint in rehab, Hadreas was staying with his mother in Everett, Washington. It was there that he rediscovered his love for the piano. He'd taken lessons from ages seven to fifteen, but a deep-seated aversion to the sound of his own voice stunted any larger ambitions. Now, at the nadir of his life, he threw all cares to the wind.

 

With the piano at his mother's house, he would record the eleven tracks that would become Learning, his debut album (you can hear his mother's dogs in the background of certain tracks--that's how intimate this stuff is). The tracks appear on the album in the order they were recorded, a sonic diary of Hadreas' creative reawakening. With the intention of sharing his new songs with the real-life characters that influenced and populate them, Hadreas made a MySpace account; Perfume Genius was the first phrase that came to mind when he was filling out the registration form. Which is, of course, how Hadreas' sparse, affecting songs came to the attention of first the blogosphere and then Matador, who released Learning in June 2010.

 

Since then Hadreas has worked to overcome his stage fright, and--with the help of his boyfriend, Alan Wyffels--taken his music on the road. (His first performance was so nerve-wracking that he blacked out.) Now, as a newly sober, much-buzzed-about musician, Hadreas plans on releasing some new songs as soon as he can.

 


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