Feist:  1-2-3-4

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

artist:  Feist

songwriter:  Sally Seltmann

date released:  2007 by Feist

Leslie Feist was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, in 1976.  Both her parents were artists; her father was an abstract expressionist painter and her mother, was a ceramics artist.  The couple divorced and Lyn Feist moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, and then to Calgary Alberta with her two children. 

Feist's first taste of performance came at the age of twelve when she danced with 1000 other youths for the Calgary Winter Olympics.

At the age of fifteen, Feist was already experimenting with alternative music.  Joining a Calgary punk band called Placebo, she rocked her way playing all the roles from backup music to lead vocalist.  Soon she was touring Canada, the U.S., and Europe.  It was in Toronto in 2001 that she joined an indie rock group and produced her first successful album, "Let It Die" for which she won two Juno Awards in 2004 for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Rock Album.  

Fast forward to 2007 when Feist released her solo album, "The Reminder" which contained her huge surprise hit, "1234".  Later, Feist would joke that it was her dual Canadian-American citizenship (her father was American), that landed "1234" the feature spot in an Apple iPod nano commercial and a place in major rockdom.  "1234" won another Juno Award for Feist as "Single of the Year".  Moving on to major television exposure, Feist performed her hit song on Sesame Street teaching children to count, and then on late night with Saturday Night Live.

In 2019, Feist had a major career boost when Sesame Street called for her services for a changed rendition of 1-2-3-4 for a program on its show for kids.  One of the most popular “Sesame Street” songs is “1234” a take-off on Feist’s 2007 indie hit. With a Muppet cast that includes Elmo, Rosita, some penguins and vacation-ready chickens, it’s the appearance that the Canadian singer-songwriter gets recognized for the most, she said. The “Sesame” version of the song, released in 2008, has over 240 million YouTube views; the original has about 13 million.

 Whenever she’s traveling, a breathless parent will stop her for a photo. They say, “Do you mind, my 3-year-old has watched it 7,000 times,” Feist said. “And I say yes, but I always joke: You notice me because you’re a grown-up — the 3-year-olds are really only interested in the puppets. And without fail, the kids are just sort of looking at me like, who is this weird lady in the airport?”

 In a phone interview, Feist described what it was like to perform on “Sesame Street.” “It kind of just felt like playing,” she said. “It really didn’t feel like, we’re filming something that will far outshine anything else that I will do in the rest of my life.” These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

"Getting the call “It was a no-brainer. I handed myself over, knowing that they would rewrite the lyrics and that the whole thing would be very much out of my control because the calibre [of the show] has been so high my whole life.”