Sixpence None the Richer
- Wednesday, March 04, 2009
The story of Sixpence None the Richer is the tale of two remarkable people who both embraced culture and sought to shake it, leaving an indelible mark on the face of pop music. Though many artists had sacrificed either their faith or their art for the sake of commercial success, Sixpence maintained a rare combination of artistic integrity and steadfast conviction in the wake of mass appeal, all the while unashamedly presenting a philosophy of faith that often left the watching world speechless.
The journey first began for vocalist Leigh Nash and songwriter/guitarist Matt Slocum, both of New Braunfels, Texas, with the release of their acclaimed but little-distributed debut, The Fatherless and the Widow (REX Records, 1994). This sparsely-produced record startled critics with the way Nash perfectly owned Slocum's songwriting, breathing an effervescent life into each line as though it were her own. Already, Sixpence had found the combination of wrenching lyrical depth and brave vocals that would captivate thousands as the band's career progressed.
The band's 1995 follow-up, This Beautiful Mess, met with growing acclaim, but suffered from REX's demise shortly after its release. Sixpence then found a welcome home in newly-formed indie-label Squint Entertainment, the brainchild of legendary producer Steve Taylor. With a resolute commitment to introducing people everywhere to the band's music, Squint prepared to launch the momentous album that would move Sixpence into its spotlit pop center.
First released in 1997, Sixpence None the Richer spent more than a year on shelves before its winsome love song, "Kiss Me," landed on the soundtrack to Miramax Film's "She's All That." Seemingly overnight, Sixpence found themselves with the #1 pop song in the U.S., as "Kiss Me" became the most-played song in 11 countries and topped VH1's "Video Countdown." The GRAMMY-nominated sonnet appeared on sitcoms and soaps, and landed the band on Leno, Letterman, and morning talk's crown jewels as well. Even England's royal family couldn't resist the single's charms, playing the song for over 200 million viewers at Prince Edward's 1999 wedding.
In due time, Sixpence followed that success with its cover of the La's hit "There She Goes," adding an eleventh-hour recording of the song to its soon-to-be platinum-selling project. Establishing Sixpence as a legitimate "Breakthrough Artist," according to
Sixpence's final studio album, 2002's Divine Discontent, recorded the band's struggle to come to terms with the obligations of its commercial success. Divine Discontent delivered another Top 10 single with its cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," and a Top 20 with "Breathe Your Name," while giving the band a chance to take stock of its creative journey and reiterate its deep-seated convictions.
The Best of Sixpence None the Richer finally gathers these many, varied songs into one comprehensive collection. The project covers wide topical ground, from cult pop classics like Abba's "Dancing Queen," that Sixpence covered for the 1999 political satire Dick (Sony Pictures), to such philosophically-defining treatises as "The Ground You Shook," a poignantly understated contribution Sixpence made to the tribute album Roaring Lambs, titled after Bob Briner's best-selling book by the same name.
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