site logo

An Pierle Biography

Last updated: 09/17/2003 02:11:30 AM

An Pierlé is a theatrical musician who makes - seated on an ergonomic & transparent ball in a duel with her piano - very tense music, alternately controlled and energetic, sweet and violent.

Born in 1974 as An Miel Mia Pierlé, she supposedly declared at a very young age that she wanted to "act and sing and make music and dance and if possible all together". She didn't like her classical piano-education though, and enrolled at the age of 17 at the art-school Studio Herman Teirlinck in Antwerp. In her third year there she made a solo-programme with songs of her own, alone at the piano.After a few cautious tryouts in small rock-clubs - to check if the combination Pierlé/Piano also had an impact outside of the shielded environment of art school - she took a bold step to send in a cassette to Humo's Rock Rally, edition 1996. Her participation was a success, because she went all the way to the final and was spoken about more than any other band (despite the presence of Arid and Novastar).

Her impressive version of Tubeway Army & Gary Numan's "Are friends electric" became a radio-hit. The live-tape of this also was included in a British Gary Numan tribute "Random" (with contribution of Dave Clarke, The Orb, Moloko and Damon Albarn van Blur). Gary himself has stated he was mighty impressed with the version she did of the song.

The result of all this was a modest "An Pierlé"-hype, but this didn't rush her into exploiting the situation: "After the rock Rally I had to slow down a little : it all came kinda sudden, everybody heard I supposedly was fantastic so they were expecting a lot from me... But I was lucky. My name was out and that gave me the chance to develop ... Nobody cares about local talent, you have to aim internationally from the start. And it has to be very good to do that. Music is a game, but a serious one at that: I want to do this for the rest of my life, so I'd rather make one really good thing than ten worthless things", she told Knack.

The waiting for a first album took some time, because she went on a tour with the theater play "Bernadetje" of Victoria for almost two years, and played a part in the television series "Moeder waarom leven wij". During this period she did play some solo-concerts in Belgium and Holland (eg. Gentse and Lokerse Feesten, Boterhammen In Het Park, Marktrock '98, Crossing Borders, Lowlands and Pukkelpop '98).A cooperation with Kloot Per W (In the Belly) didn't produce anything, a cooperation with Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung (DAAU) made it's way onto the CD "We need New Animals" as the track "Broken".

So it wasn't until early '98 that she signed a record deal with Warner Music Benelux. After a few scrimmages to find a producer to her liking - in the end they opted to work with Karel De Bakker (soundman of Zita Swoon, A Group...) - they started the recording of what was to become "Mud Stories" in an attic above a theater hall in Ghent. On top of the takes with an electrical Yamaha CP-80 piano, they recorded extra takes on a grand piano with Jo Bogaert (Technotronic-fame). And as the official bio says: "The debut "Mud Stories" offers an multifaceted amalgam of surprisingly diverse and mostly brand new material. All in pure singer-songwriter tradition, with influences from Bach to John Cale to Dolly Parton and even Kim Wilde. An Pierlé uses delicate ingredients: an impressive voice, sometimes an electrical, sometimes an acoustic piano, here and there combined with highly effective"arrangements". To conclude from this that it is a "sweet" album would be wrong though: this "wild freshness" often hides a "distorted" side.. Pierlé clearly has has done "her own thing", and is proud of it too!"