By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Still, Clark says she feels like a fraud much of the time. "It's complicated to exist in the world—everyone feels that, whether or not you have a modest amount of notoriety," she says. "I was reading this Miranda July piece in The New Yorker, and it ends with a line about how feeling like an adult also means feeling like a fraud. I think if anyone has any kind of self-awareness, they've felt like a fraud—with other people or in relationships. I feel that way. And maybe it's more powerful to put that out there. To just own that, then to keep being, like, 'Watch me sing and dance, I've got all the bases covered, don't worry.'"
The singer's measured control seems to keep her from truly letting it all (or, even, some of it) hang out. She credits her politeness to her mother, whom she describes as a saint, and to her cultural inheritance as a Texan. She says she learned the value of professionalism from her aunt and uncle, the folk duo Tuck & Patti, whom she toured with as a teen. "It's not the '80s or the '90s anymore; it's not a gravy train," she says of the music business. "If you want to have a career for a long time, you need to act right. I know it's counterintuitive to the whole rock 'n' roll thing, but I have never acted like I was a person who was so great and unimpeachably great that I could afford to be an asshole to people, nor would I want to be. I take it seriously."
To be a rock star, a real rock star achieved and bona fide, involves more than just charisma, or good songs, or talent (talent usually least of all). One must be a capable player and have an appealing image—and, perhaps, most of all, a clear confidence that one deserves to be in front of an audience. In that regard, Annie Clark is a natural-born rock star; she just happens to be working below the arena radar. She doesn't disagree. "There are plenty of things I am not confident about, but this I can do."
St. Vincent plays Webster Hall on November 3