St. Vincent was born Annie Erin Clark in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her parents divorced when she was three years old; Clark's mom is a social worker and administrator and her stepfather works in corporate tax administration.
Music was Annie's principal obsession from an early age. She told The Guardian
: "I was a 10-year-old fan of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and I would've got into a fist fight defending them. Art mattered."
Annie Clark's maternal uncle, Tuck Andress, is one half of the jazz duo Tuck & Patti. As a teenager, Clark was a roadie for the band on tour, which served as her introduction to the music business. Years later, Tuck played returned the favor when he played guitar on three of St. Vincent's MASSEDUCTION tracks. His wife Patti also contributed vocals to the album.
Clark attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts for three years before dropping out to become a full-time musician. She toured as a multi-instrumentalist for the Polyphonic Spree and later as a guitarist for Sufjan Stevens.
Clark moved to New York in 2006. She took her St. Vincent moniker from a line in the 2004 Nick Cave song "There She Goes, My Beautiful World." The lyric is about St. Vincent's hospital in Greenwich Village, where a drunken Dylan Thomas passed away.
Clark described her songwriting process during a Reddit AMA: "I collect ideas, words, melodies when I'm on the road. When it's time to write an album, I go to work every day. 10-7. Day job!"
She has designed and launched her own line of guitars, the St. Vincent signature series, for Ernie Ball Music Man. Clark recalled to Q Magazine:
"I went to the Ernie Ball factory in San Luis Obispo (in California) and they said to me, 'Why don't you draw a guitar?' I was astounded when I drew little sketches and they said, 'We can make this.' I took everything I knew about playing guitar and performing with guitars and put it into this. I did about 15 prototypes, with different kinds of wood and pick ups and shapes. I tried to get it as lightweight as possible. I wanted it to be something that was going to be really light because I'm a small person - a lot of guitars I love are just too heavy for me."
Clark believes in sexual fluidity; she has dated model Cara Delevingne and actress Kristen Stewart.
Clark said that her favorite birthday gift was a guitar signed by David Bowie from Cara Delevingne.