“That was just a real bonus Jonas there”: St Vincent has her say on the song she wrote with Taylor Swift becoming a fan-powered hit, and reveals the one piece of advice she’s given to Olivia Rodrigo

Taylor Swift and Annie Clark
(Image credit: Christopher Polk/TAS/Getty Images for TAS)

We’re guessing that not every Taylor Swift fan knows too much about St Vincent - AKA Annie Clark - but there can’t be many Swifties who haven’t heard Cruel Summer, the song from the pop superstar’s 2019 Lover album that became a viral hit last year. Clark, of course, was one of the song’s co-writers, and she recently opened up on its slow-burn success.

“That was crazy,” she told the NME. “I mean, I always thought in the context of that record [Lover], like, ‘That should be a single, it’s a great song.’ And I don’t even think it was a single; it just was a fan favourite. And it’s like the fans just decided: ‘No, this is your hit song.’ Which is so wild and so modern, you know. That was just a real bonus Jonas there. And I mean, that’s one hell of a fanbase.”

Jack Antonoff, another Cruel Summer co-writer, has also spoken of his delight at Cruel Summer eventually making it to number one, telling Jimmy Fallon last year: “The idea of a single is just, what’s the song that if you could get your friends in the room, you’d play? And what happened with Cruel Summer is a testament to that. It was always our favourite song on the album. Then with nothing, no gas in the fire, with no one on the business side doing anything, just kids started playing it more and more.”

Antonoff and Swift also shared a video thanking fans for making Cruel Summer a hit, with Antonoff revealing that the pair always thought it was the best song on Lover, but had previously concluded that it would be their “secret best song”.

St Vincent also has a writing credit on a song by another pop superstar: Olivia Rodrigo’s Obsessed. Asked by People for her thoughts on the ‘Vampire hitmaker’, Clark said: “I love Olivia, she’s just a wonderful person. But I don’t lead with advice. The only advice I have ever given Olivia was just to trust her instincts and to make exactly the record that she wants to make that’s in her heart. That’s it. What’s going to resonate with people is her authentic voice, and she did. She made a great record.”

Olivia Rodrigo Music Man guitar

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rodrigo has been spotted playing a custom purple Music Man St Vincent Goldie signature guitar when she plays Obsessed on her Guts tour, which she’s currently in the midst of.

Clark, meanwhile, is currently focusing on the release of her own album, All Born Screaming, and recently opened up to our sister magazine Future Music about the writing process.

“The hell part is sitting with yourself without getting anywhere,” she explains. “That’s the tough part, just in life. Probably only 3% of the music I made over the past three years is on this record. There have been hours and hours, tapes and tapes of just jamming alone in the studio. It might be 8am and I’m, like, making post-industrial music in my sweatpants. But eventually it becomes the song, and the things that lend themselves to a statement find their way.”

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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