Justin Vernon

Justin Vernon

Vernon performing with Bon Iver in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Background information
Birth name Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon
Born (1981-04-30) April 30, 1981
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States[1]
Genres Indie rock, folk, baroque pop, folktronica
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards, banjo, bass, drums, percussion, piano
Years active 1998–present
Associated acts Bon Iver, Jason Feathers, DeYarmond Edison, All Tiny Creatures, The Shouting Matches, Mount Vernon, Kanye West, Colin Stetson, Megafaun, Volcano Choir, Gayngs, James Blake, The National, The Staves, P.O.S
Website http://boniver.org/

Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon (born April 30, 1981) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the primary songwriter and frontman of indie folk band Bon Iver.[2][3][4] Vernon is also a member of the bands Volcano Choir, The Shouting Matches and Gayngs.

Early life

Vernon attended Memorial High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, graduating in 1999. He then attended college at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, and spent a semester in Ireland.[5] Vernon majored in Religious Studies and minored in Women's Studies. In an interview with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, he said that he was not ready to study music.[6]


Justin Vernon founded the band DeYarmond Edison while attending high school and college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he still resides.[7][8] DeYarmond Edison's core consisted of Vernon, Brad and Phil Cook, and Joe Westerlund. The band saw varying line-up changes during its five years of existence.

After playing in the Eau Claire music scene, the four band mates decided to leave their longtime home and move to Raleigh, North Carolina to try their musical hand in a new place. The band released two records themselves, the first self-titled and the second titled Silent Signs[9] and an EP of unreleased material is available on their Myspace page.[10] After nearly a year in Raleigh, Vernon left for Wisconsin after a breakup with the band and a girlfriend. The remaining members of DeYarmond Edison went on to form a new band called Megafaun and remain good friends with Vernon.[11]

Vernon came to international prominence with For Emma, Forever Ago, his first album with Bon Iver.

Vernon is a part of other musical groups, including Volcano Choir, which consists of Vernon and the members of the band Collections of Colonies of Bees. In 2009 Unmap was released. The collaborative group Gayngs, which includes multiple other established artists, including Megafaun, The Rosebuds and P.O.S, released Relayted in 2010.[12] Vernon contributed to seven songs on Anaïs Mitchell's 2010 album Hadestown, based on the Greek legend Orpheus and Eurydice. He is one third of The Shouting Matches, a blues-garage rock trio, along with Laarks and Peter Wolf Crier drummer Brian Moen, and former DeYarmond Edison band mate Phil Cook. They have recorded but not yet released a 5-track EP, Mouthoil.[13] and released their debut album, Grownass Man, in 2013.[14] At The Shouting Matches' 2013 shows in Milwaukee and Minneapolis, Mouthoil CDs were available as a limited release.

During the creation of Kanye West's 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Vernon was invited to collaborate on various songs and so, Vernon provided vocals on "Dark Fantasy", "Monster", "Hell Of A Life" and "Lost In The World", as well as the song "That's My Bitch" from West and Jay-Z's collaborative album Watch The Throne in 2011.[15] He was also involved in West's 2013 album Yeezus, contributing to "I Am a God", "Hold My Liquor", and "I'm In It".[16] Vernon has on several occasions served as backing vocalist for West at his live performances, notably at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2011 and Glastonbury Festival in 2015. In 2009, Vernon collaborated with Aaron Dessner on the song "Big Red Machine" for the AIDS benefit album Dark Was the Night produced by the Red Hot Organization.

He has produced albums for other artists, including Land of Talk's 2008 album Some Are Lakes[17] and Kathleen Edwards' 2012 album Voyageur.[18]

Bon Iver won Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album at the 2012 Grammys.[19]

On September 25, 2012, Vernon walked away from Bon Iver temporarily, virtually putting an end to the band for the time being. When asked for reasoning, he replied, " [I'm] winding it down. I look at it like a faucet. I have to turn it off and walk away from it because so much of how that music comes together is subconscious or discovering. There's so much attention on the band, it can be distracting at times. I really feel the need to walk away from it while I still care about it. And then if I come back to it – if at all – I'll feel better about it and be renewed or something to do that."[20]

He has since played new music at the Eaux Claires festival in July 2015 in his hometown of Eau Claire, WI. Vernon curated this festival along with The National member Aaron Dessner.[21]

In 2012, Vernon began Chigliak, an imprint of Jagjaguwar, dedicated to albums that have had limited or non-commercial releases.[22]

In 2014, Jason Feathers, a collaboration with indie rapper Astronautalis, released De Oro.

In August 2016, Vernon and Aaron Dessner curated the second annual Eaux Claires festival.[23] On the opening night of the festival, Bon Iver debuted their third album, 22, A Million, in front of a live audience.[24] 22, A Million was released on September 30, 2016.[25]

Personal life

In 2011, Vernon began a relationship with Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards.[26] The couple has since split.[27]


Solo albums

With Mount Vernon

With DeYarmond Edison

With Bon Iver

With Volcano Choir

With The Shouting Matches

With Jason Feathers

Other collaborations


  1. "Justin Vernon". AskMen.com. December 13, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  2. "55th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees". Grammy.org/CBS. February 10, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  3. Judki, Maura (February 13, 2012). "Bon Iver's Best New Artist win confuses Grammy viewers". Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  4. Caramanica, Jon (June 3, 2011). "Who, What and Where is Bon Iver?". New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  5. Szymanski, Ken. "BON IVER: Back Tracks". Volume One Magazine. December 4, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  6. Colbert, Stephen (June 20, 2011). "Interview of Justin Vernon". Colbert Report. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  7. Foley, Ryan (September 11, 2007). "Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago". Stylus Magazine.
  8. Deusner, Stephen (October 4, 2007). "Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009.
  9. Anderson, Derek. "A new residency (DeYarmond Edison)". Indy Week. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  10. "DeYarmond Edison". MySpace. April 12, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  11. Allen, Dustin (February 11, 2008). "Out of the Bungalow: An Interview With Bon Iver". Treblezine.com. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  12. Kathy (February 17, 2010). "Jagjaguwar Introduces GAYNGS, New Album Relayted Coming in May". Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  13. "The Shouting Matches". December 9, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  14. Stephen Thompson (April 7, 2013). "First Listen: The Shouting Matches, 'Grownass Man'". NPR. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  15. Dombal, Ryan (August 13, 2010). "Justin Vernon Talks Kanye Collaboration, Gayngs: Bon Iver leader tells all about his work with one of the biggest pop stars on earth". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  16. "Yeezus Liner Notes | Complex".
  17. McNair, Bear (2008). "Land of Talk: Some Are Lakes (Saddle Creek)". Tinymixtapes.com. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  18. Adams, Gregory (October 11, 2011). "Kathleen Edwards Unveils 'Voyageur'". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  19. Wappler, Margaret (February 12, 2012). "Grammys 2012: Bon Iver wins for best new artist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  20. "Bon Iver 'Winding It Down,' Justin Vernon Says". Rolling Stone. September 25, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  21. Harley Brown (2014-12-17). "Eaux Claires Music Festival, Curated by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, Announced for Summer 2015". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  22. Pelly, Jenn (January 9, 2012). "Bon Iver's Justin Vernon Launches Record Label, Chigliak". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  23. Polanco, Luis. "Eaux Claires Festival Announces 2016 Dates". Billboard. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  24. Brennan, Collin. "Bon Iver debut new album 22, A Million in full at Eaux Claires Festival — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  25. Kreps, Daniel (August 12, 2016). "Bon Iver Announce New LP '22, A Million,' Unveil Two Tracks". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  26. Ferguson, Wm. (October 11, 2011). "Justin Vernon, the Good Boyfriend". The New York Times.
  27. Downing, Andy (September 25, 2012). "Kathleen Edwards gets personal on new album". 77 Square. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
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