Sufjan Stevens has shared beautiful new song 'Tonya Harding'.
The song is a one off release, inspired by the life of controversial American figure skater Tonya Harding In a note, Sufjan explains that he has "been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991."
"The hard facts of her life are so strange, disputable, heroic, unprecedented, and indelibly American," he writes, "a poor outsider, her rise to fame in the skating rink was seen, by some, as a blemish on a sport that favoured sophistication and style".
"Tonya’s skating technique was feisty, fierce, and full of athleticism, and her flamboyant outfits were often hand-made by her mother (who was abusive and overbearing). (They couldn’t afford Vera Wang.)"
Tonya Harding's reputation lay in tatters following the Nancy Kerrigan incident. Sufjan explains: "In January 1994, Tonya’s then-boyfriend Jeff Gillooly hired an assailant, Shane Stant, to break fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s leg at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, so that she would be unable to compete at the upcoming Winter Olympics. The after-math of the attack was recorded on camera and ultimately set off a media frenzy (and an FBI investigation)."
The note also details Tonya's post-skating life, including a sex tape sold to Penthouse, a short-spanned boxing career, and vintage automobile racing. "She was a reality TV star before such a thing even existed," he explains. "But she was also simply un-categorical: American’s sweetheart with a dark twist. But I believe this is what made her so interesting, and a true American hero. In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination."
"Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest. She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend."
Stephen Halker drafts the cover art (up top!) while 'Tonya Harding' will be available on limited edition cassette and seven inch vinyl.
Tune in below.
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