Angel Olsen was born on January 22, 1987, in St. Louis, Missouri. At age three, Olsen was adopted by a foster family that had cared for her since shortly after her birth. The difference in years between her and her parents left an impression. “Because there are so many decades of difference between us, I became more interested in what their childhood was like,” she says of her parents, both of whom died in 2021 “I fantasized about what it was like to be young in the ’30s and ’50s, more so than other kids my age.” Olsen explained that “my mother just has this capacity for children.”
Despite early adolescent aspirations to be a “pop star”, her interests later shifted in high school. Olsen became more introverted, regularly attending punk rock and noise music shows at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center and the Creepy Crawl as well as Christian rock shows throughout the city. She began learning the piano and guitar and writing her own music. At the age of 16, she joined a local band called Good Fight, self-described as “a meeting of early No Doubt and punk rock.” Two years after graduating from Tower Grove Christian High School, Olsen moved to Chicago.
She befriended country rock singer-songwriter Bonnie “Prince” Billy, who invited her to go on tour as his backing vocalist.
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