Duncan Sheik

Biography

When "Barely Breathing" flew up the charts in 1996, it seemed that Duncan Sheik's career was only going to get bigger and bigger. That didn't happen, but Sheik has kept growing as an artist, and he learned how to balance introspective singer-songwriting material with catchy rock hooks, pairing complex orchestral arrangements with spare instrumentation. Like Lisa Loeb's "Stay" or Natalie Umbruglia's "Torn," "Barely Breathing" was a song that initially struck a chord with alt rock audiences before being embraced by older, more mature listeners. Sheik's self-titled debut also featured delicate, orchestral folk such as the beautiful "Days Go By," that recalled the work of two tragically short-lived cult heroes: Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. Sheik kept putting out decent, above average material, but it was only really connecting with his fan base. Then, in 2001, he released Phantom Moon, which stripped his songs down to the essentials, earning deserved critical praise in the process. Sadly, the album didn't sell, and Sheik returned to a more traditional light alternative rock sound with 2002's Daylight, which housed the minor hit "On a High." With 2006's White Limousine, Duncan Sheik somehow managed to keeps his songwriting skills sharp on a set of gauzy, lovingly arranged ballads that would win discerning dream pop fans over if they didn't know it came from the same artist who charted with "Barely Breathing."

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