Aimee Mann discovered her voice in punk rock during her years at Berklee College of Music in the late 1970s. The iconoclastic singer, who also plays multiple instruments, enrolled at Berklee in 1978, got her Bachelor of Music in 1980, and subsequently joined the Boston punk band the Young Snakes. Her singing, performing, and recording career spans decades.
Born in 1960, Mann grew up in Bon Air, Virginia, and went to high school in nearby Richmond. While at Berklee, she met Michael Hausman, with whom she formed the new wave band ’Til Tuesday, with Mann playing bass guitar and singing. The title track of their debut album, Voices Carry, won an MTV Video Music Award in 1985.
After five years with ’Til Tuesday, Mann set out on a solo career of singing, songwriting, and playing guitar and bass. Her confessional lyrics chart not only her experiences but also a wide range of human foibles and interactions. Outspoken about musicians’ rights to ownership of their material, she has spent years demanding control over her masters.
Mann has recorded albums such as One More Drifter in the Snow and Charmer, written songs for the film Magnolia (including “Save Me,” which was nominated for Academy and Grammy awards), acted in the television series Portlandia, and been a judge for music contests. In 2011, she was invited to the White House to perform as part of a poetry jam along with Billy Collins, Common, and Steve Martin. In 2016, Mann covered the Carpenters’ 1973 hit “Yesterday Once More” for the HBO series Vinyl. Along with Ted Leo, she has appeared on Conan O'Brien's talk show, Conan, and performed at venues across the country as part of the group the Both. In fall 2016, Mann contributed a song, “Can’t You Tell,” to the 30 Days, 30 Songs project promoting civic involvement in the voting process.
Mann's first Grammy, received in 2006, was for Best Recording Package for the artwork she contributed to her album The Forgotten Arm. In 2018, Mann took home her second Grammy for her album Mental Illness, the winner for Best Folk Album.