Beck is the son of '60s underground film actress Bibbe Hansen, who worked with Andy Warhol on a number of projects including his film Prison
. Beck's grandfather Al Hansen was a member of the Fluxus art movement, which also included Yoko Ono.
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His birth name is Beck David Campbell, but his father, David Campbell, left the family when Beck was young, and he took his mother's last name, Hansen.
When he signed with Geffen Records in 1994, his contract allowed to record for other labels as well. He was able to get this clause because his song Loser
was a hit, which put him in a position to make demands.
Born in Los Angeles, Beck moved to New York when he was 17 and joined the Folk scene. He returned to Los Angeles when he ran out of money and began playing area coffeehouses, which is where he made a name for himself.
He is a regular musical guest on Saturday Night Live. By 2007, he had been on 6 times.
Because Beck's father is a Scientologist, there's a misconception that the singer has similar beliefs. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald
in 2019, Beck said:
"I'm not a Scientologist. I don't have any connection or affiliation with it.
My father has been a Scientologist for a long time, but I've pretty much just focused on my music and my work for most of my life, and tended to do my own thing. I think it's just something people ran with."
Beck's mother Bibbe was raised amid New York's Andy Warhol Factory art scene of the 1960s. She appeared in several of Warhol's short films, including Prison, which she starred in alongside Edie Sedgwick aged 13. However, Beck was unaware of her bohemian past for a long time. 'I was raised in LA, and my mother's Factory days in New York were well behind her," he told The Daily Telegraph. "I didn't even know about them until one day when I was 14 and listening to a Velvet Underground song, and she mentioned that she knew the band."
His stage moves are modeled on those of R&B stars. He says he's not afraid to look foolish, which allows for greater expression when he performs.
Beck married Marissa Ribisi, twin sister of Hollywood actor Giovanni Ribisi, in April 2004. Marissa gave birth to their son, Cosimo, shortly afterwards and a daughter; Tuesday, three years later. On February 15, 2019, Beck filed for divorce after nearly 15 years of marriage.
Beck is mysteriously sensitive about his profile, which is unexpectedly triangular. He told The Guardian: "Photographers always ask to do some from the side. Until they see how I look from the side, and then they ask to do some more from the front."