The electronic pop music artist Claire Boucher, known professionally as Grimes, has criticized her record label on social media following delays to her upcoming album. The young and successful songwriter joined the 4AD label in 2011 and has since enjoyed two critically acclaimed albums working with them. But tensions seem to be running high, and the artist has now spoken out publicly about the troubles and her desires to join a new label or even go independent.
Earlier in the year, Grimes mentioned plans to release her new album, but updated the Instagram post to say that her plans had changed because “the music industry is trash.” She then put out a more recent post on February 24th saying that she was “back in the studio making a million beats,” which seemed to be good news for fans.
In response to a fan, Boucher then commented on the post, saying that she will be “working on one final album for my sh*t record label and then my first album on a label of my choosing.” She said she must take “one last hit” and added that there are crazy and mad events going on behind the scenes in her career and that there’s a lot of ego in the indie industry.
Grimes later suggested that her management with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is not to blame and that they have encouraged and supported her. The tensions seem to fall between her and record label 4AD. Both captions have now been deleted, and Grimes has since apologized for calling her label “sh*t” and “spreading bad vibes.”
Claire Boucher released two studio albums before joining with 4AD in 2011. Her first album with the record label, Visions, released in 2012, had huge success and even won the Juno Award for Electronic Album of the Year. “Genesis” and “Oblivion” were particularly notable tracks from the album.
Next came Grimes’ 2015 album Art Angles, which, once again, was a critically acclaimed success and was nominated for Alternative Album of the Year and Record Package of the Year at the Juno Awards. Aside from her music and visual art, Grimes is also a big gamer and regularly streams on the Twitch platform where everyone from COD players to poker players show off their skills to the world.
Though Grimes previously hinted last year that new music wasn’t far away, the recent deleted Instagram posts reveal that delays can be expected. Grimes does mention that the upcoming album will be highly collaborative. “Fans can expect an interesting and innovative approach to pop music and a theme of “glorious light,” according to Boucher. The album following this, which is looking not to be on the 4AD label, will represent “darkness and chaos.”
Grimes’ message highlights massive issues with record labels, the music industry and female creativity that have long been a problem. Madonna mentioned this in a recent post when she said, “remember when I was… allowed to be visionary and not have to go to songwriting camps.”
Kesha fought against her label in recent years, and before that, Aimee Mann was locked in lengthy battles for her rights as an artist in the ’80s and ’90s. Musicians, especially women, tend to face creative limitations, commercial funnels and worse. Grimes is the latest in a long line of artists who are speaking out against an industry that tends to stifle individuality and creative freedom.