Grimes was born Claire Boucher in Vancouver, BC Canada in 1988. She attended high school in Vancouver but moved to Montreal shortly after to write and perform under the name Grimes. She went to McGill University but was eventually expelled for missing over a year's worth of classes.
In 2009, Grimes and her boyfriend built a 20-foot houseboat named the "Velvet Glove in Cast Iron." The plan was to sail it down the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to New Orleans. Inside, the couple brought along a typewriter, chickens, potatoes, and a copy of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Unfortunately, the boat had engine trouble and harassment from the Minnesota police forced the couple to cut the trip short.
In 2011, Grimes played nine sets at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. She likes to wear elaborate outfits onstage and incorporate dancers into her shows but says festival settings are not really ideal for those kinds of elaborate setups. Grimes says that "it's a bad way to perform" because you don't get a sound check and it's just not fun.
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