Aimee Mann is an American rock singer/songwriter, guitarist and bassist, who is best known for her song “Save Me” for the film “Magnolia” (1999). The song earned her nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Grammy Awards. Mann began her career as part of the punk rock band The Young Snakes but did not gain success until she performed with the new wave band 'Til Tuesday. She recorded three studio albums with 'Til Tuesday and had a Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hit with “Voices Carry” (#8, 1985), from the album of the same name. Following the band's breakup in 1988, she continued to pursue a career as a solo artist. She released two solo albums (1993's “Whatever” and 1995's “I'm with Stupid”) on Geffen Records before parting ways with her label. She has since released her albums through her own record label, SuperEgo Records. Her album “The Forgotten Arm” (2005) won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. Her present album, “@#%&*! Smilers” (2008), peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard 200.
Mann currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Michael Mann, whom she married in 1997. In early to mid 1980s, she was romantically involved with Michael Hausman, drummer and co-founder of 'Til Tuesday. After their split, the two maintained a good friendship, with Hausman playing drums on much of her solo work and becoming her manager. Mann then dated musician Jules Shear from the mid to late 1980s.
Childhood and Family:
Aimee Elizabeth Mann, whose nickname is Ames, was born on September 8, 1960, in Richmond, Virginia, and was raised in Bon Air, Virginia. When she was four years old, Aimee was abducted by her alienated mother and lived with her briefly in England before returning to her family in Virginia. She graduated from Richmond's Open High School in 1978 and went on to attend Berkelee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She, however, left without a degree to pursue music.
On December 29, 1997, Aimee was married to fellow singer/songwriter Michael Penn (born August 1, 1958). The two first met in the 1980s, and developed a friendship during the recording of “I'm with Stupid,” to which Penn contributed vocals. The bond later blossomed into romance and their eventual 1997 marriage. Penn is the eldest son of actor/director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan, and the brother of actors Sean Penn and the late Chris Penn. Aimee is the stepmother of Liam Penn, Penn's son from a previous marriage.
Aimee has a younger sister named Gretchen Seichrist. Her sister has released two independent albums under the name “Patches & Gretchen,” and she is also a painter.
The Forgotten Arm
After dropping out of Berklee College of Music, bassist/vocalist Aimee Mann formed her first band, The Young Snakes, in Boston in 1980s, whose members also included guitarist Doug Vargas and drummer Mike Evans, who replaced Dave Bass, who returned to his hometown, Philadelphia, after leaving the band. The band released an EP, “Bark Along with The Young Snakes,” on Ambiguous Records in 1982, and later a compilation album, “Aimee Mann & The Young Snakes,” in 2004.
Along with Berklee classmate and boyfriend Michael Hausman, Mann co-founded the new wave band 'Til Tuesday in 1982. With the original lineup of Mann on bass and vocals, Hasuman on drums, Robert Holmes on guitar and Joey Pesce on keyboards, the band first came to prominence as the winner of the 1983 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble in Boston, six months after its formation, and was eventually signed to Epic Records. The band's debut album, “Voices Carry” (1985), peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200. The album's title track reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 14 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks. The “Voices Carry” video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist. The album also spawned two more singes: “Looking over My Shoulder” and “Love in a Vacuum,” with the first peaking at No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Mann and her bandmates returned with their sophomore effort, “Welcome Home,” in 1986. The album peaked at No. 49 on the Billboard 200 and produced two singles: “What About Love” (1986), which reached No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 9 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, and “Coming up Close” (1987), which reached No. 59 and No. 37 on the Same charts, respectively. Pesce left the band after the release of the album and was replaced by Michael Montes.
In 1987, Mann was featured on the “Back to the Beach” soundtrack singing “Sign of Love,” written by Mark Goldenberg & Jennifer Condos and produced by John Boylan. She also sang part of the chorus on the Rush song “Time Stand Still,” from the 1987 album “Hold Your Fire.” The single reached No. 3 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts. The same year, she also provided backing vocals on Cyndi Lauper's song, “The Faraway Nearby,” from the album “True Colors.”
In 1988, 'Til Tuesday released the third studio album “Everything's Different Now,” which charted at No. 124 on the Billboard 200. It's single “(Believed You Were) Lucky” peaked at No. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 30 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. The band broke up after the failure of their third album. However, Mann continued to tour under the 'Til Tuesday name with various session artists, while legal problems with the band's label Epic prevented her from starting work on a solo record for several years. Meanwhile, Hausman served as her manager, a post he retains to this day.
Mann's solo career began with the release of her album, “Whatever,” on May 11, 1993, which she produced along with Tony Berg, Jon Brion, and Hausman. The album received generally positive reviews from critics, but sold modestly. It peaked at No. 127 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers. Its single “I Should've Known” reached No. 16 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and No. 45 on the UK Singles chart. Her second solo album, “I'm with Stupid,” followed in November 1995 through Geffen Records. Like its predecessor, the album, which was produced by Jon Brion, was met with critical acclaim though sales were poor. It peaked at No. 82 on the Billboard 200. The single “That's Just What You Are,” which she co-wrote with Brion, peaked at No. 24 on the Modern Rock Tracks and No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another single, “Long Shot” charted at the UK at No. 126.
Mann recorded “Bachelor No. 2.” her label saw no hit singles in the material and ordered her back to the studio. The album discarded while Mann and the label fought.
In 1997, Mann recorded “Nobody Does It Better,” a cover of the Carly Simon theme for “The Spy Who Loved Me” on the compilation, “Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project.” In the following year, she made her acting debut in the Coen brothers' “The Big Lebowski,” where she had a cameo role as Nihilist Woman.
Mann was put back on prominence through her collaboration with director Paul W Anderson on the soundtrack of “Magnolia” (1999), to which she contributed eight songs. The song “Save Me,” which she performed, wrote and produced, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song, a Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Motion Picture and a Grammy for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Subsequently Mann emerged as a sought after soundtrack contributor. Also in 1999, she performed the song “You Could Make A Killing” on the soundtrack of the film “Cruel Intentions.”
Disenchanted with both the futile promotion and artistic interfering by her record label, Mann decided to go independent and established her own record label, SuperEgo Records, in 1999. On May 2, 2000, she released her third studio album “Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo.” Thanks in part to the success of the “Magnolia” soundtrack, the album went on to gain a worldwide release and attain goodly sales. The album reached No. 20 on the Top Internet Albums in 2000 and No. 48 on the Top Independent Albums in 2001. Meanwhile, in the new millennium, Mann ventured into a club tour with her husband, Michael Penn.
Mann resurfaced with her fourth studio album, “Lost in Space,” on August 27, 2002. It peaked at No. 35 on both the Billboard 200 and the Top Internet Album and No. 31 on the Top Independent Album. The song “Today's The Day” appeared on the 2002 movie “Enough.” She performed the songs from “Lost in Space,” “This Is How It Goes” and “Pavlov's Bell,” during a guest appearance on an episode of “ Buffy the Vampire Slayer” called “Sleeper” (2002). Mann supported the album with a “Lost In Space Tour 2003-2004.” A live album titled “Live at St. Ann's Warehouse,” which recorded at a series of June 2004 shows in Brooklyn, was launched on November 2, 2004.
On May 3, 2005, Mann released her fifth album, “The Forgotten Arm,” which was produced by Joe Henry. A concept album set in the 1970s about two lovers who meet at the Virginia State Fair and go on the run, the album earned weaker reviews overall. The album indicated Mann's interest in boxing in its story and illustrations. It won a 2006 Grammy for Best Recording Package, which Mann shared with art director Gail Marowitz.
Between 2004 and 2005, Mann also collaborated with many artists. She provided co-vocals on Jim White's “Static on the Radio,” the first track on White's 2004 album, “Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See,” and sang backup on William Shatner's “That's Me Trying,” from his 2004 album “Has Been,” as well as on Jim Boggia's “Where's the Party?” on his album, “Safe in Sound” (2005). She also sang lead vocals on “Hearts” by Tim And Eric on their 2006 album, “Awesome Record, Great Songs,” and worked with Bettye LaVette on the song “How Am I Different,” from LaVette's album, “I've Got My Own Hell to Raise.”
On October 31, 2006, Mann released her first full length Christmas album, “One More Drifter in the Snow.” the album was produced by Paul Bryan and consisted covers of “standard great Christmas classics” and two original compositions: “Christmastime,” written by Mr. Penn, and “Calling on Mary.”
With Zach Gill, Mann performed and wrote the song “At the Edge of the World” for the soundtrack of a 2007 documentary film from the National Geographic Society, “Arctic Tale.” The song played on the film's opening credits. She also wrote and performed “The Great Beyond” for the soundtrack.
June 2, 2008 saw the release of her seventh studio album, “@#%&*! Smilers.” Produced by her bassist Paul Bryan, the album reached No. 32 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Independent Albums.
In 2011, Mann made a guest appearance as a cleaning woman in an episode of the television series “Portlandia,” which debuted on the Independent Film Channel on January 21, 2011.
Grammy: Best Recording Package, “The Forgotten Arm,” 2006
MTV Video Music: Best New Artist, “Voices Carry,” 1985