Although sporting hooded pajamas and sunglasses, singer-songwriter Angel Olsen (born January 22, 1987) first gained media attention as the stand-out singer from Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s backing sextet, the Babblers. Prior to her work with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Olsen first received her first keyboard as a parting gift from her biological mother before being adopted by a foster family. Growing up, Olsen attended many local St. Louis punk rock and noise shows, inspiring her to move out to Chicago where she began learning the guitar and writing her own music. She released her first album, Half Way Home (2012), with critics praising her expansive vocal range and tender, yet heartbreaking lyrics about the loss of a mother figure and selfish betrayal. Due to her debut album;s success, Olsen signed with Jagjaguwar prior to the release of her first full-band record, Burn Your Fire for No Witness.
Released on February 17, 2014, Burn Your Fire for No Witness showcased Olsen’s blossoming, more confident sound. Although writing mostly about solitude on songs such as “Hi-Five", stating, “I feel so lonesome I could cry” and being caught within the idealistic thoughts of her own mind on “Enemy”, the album utilizes twangy folk riffs, yet minimal arrangements to showcase her growing out of her own self-doubt. Similarly, Olsen's 2016 album, My Woman, wrestles with unrequited life on “Never Be Mine”, but reckons the only way to deal with this is to retain autonomy over her emotions on her folk-rock anthem “Shut Up and Kiss Me”. Her 2017 album, Phases, a collection of B-sides, demos and covers showcases these distinct eras, essentially producing an amalgamation of these distinct records, with lyrics treading between both vulnerability and dominance. Olsen’s fourth album, No Mirrors, was released in early October 2019 to huge critical acclaim and featured singles “All Mirrors” and “Lark”.
Apart from her solo music, Olsen has collaborated with numerous musicians such as LeRoy Bach of Wilco and is featured on the track “True Blue” on Mark Ronson’s emo-pop album, Late Night Feelings.