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Tasting sweet success with Peaches

3 Jun 2011, 13:45

Published: 03 Jun 2011 13:45 GMT+02:00

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These days, Berlin is crawling with foreign artists and musicians.

Drawn by the German capital’s lively nightlife and cheap rents, many come looking to stay a few months but discover they never want to go home.

But few have made it as big as Merrill Beth Nisker, the 44-year-old Canadian musician and performance artist better known by her stage name Peaches.

Since moving to Berlin 11 years ago, she has shocked and entertained fans around the world with her unique brand of raw, electronic-infused music and unabashed stage show.

Her decision to move to Germany was prompted by a trip in 1998 to see her friend, Canadian producer and musician Chilly Gonzales, in Berlin.

“I was visiting and I thought it had a great artistic feel,” she told The Local recently.

That summer, she played her first impromptu show in Berlin with Gonzales at an artsy performance space.

“I came home from this trip and wrote my first album. I sent it to a very small label I had met when I was there and they wanted to put out my music,” she said.

Her hit album “Teaches of Peaches” was subsequently released on Berlin record label Kitty-Yo in 2000 – the same year she moved permanently to Germany.

“It all just started growing organically,” she said.

With Berlin as her base, her career exploded and in just a few short years she was touring with Marilyn Manson and Queens of the Stone Age. Writing and producing her own music, she even collaborated with trash rock legend Iggy Pop on one track for her second album.

With international hype about Berlin being a cool place for artists spiking back then, she admits she was in the right place at the right time.

“It’s funny because the minute I moved to Berlin, London and New York City started to give me attention,” she said.

But instead being lured away by the brighter lights of another city, she has remained true to Berlin.

Peaches has offered her continuing support for the Berlin Festival, a still nascent attempt to bring a proper summer music festival to the German capital. And she has also started to become political engaged in her adopted hometown, recently performing at a protest against unpopular redevelopment work along a street with quirky shops and cafes in the city’s Prenzlauer Berg district.

“We hope to keep the street as it is – a promenade for the people and less about cars and parking spaces,” she told The Local, referring to the Stoppt K21 campaign for Kastanienallee.

Story continues below…

Artistically, she remains as provocative as ever, performing this spring “Peaches Does Herself,” a stage show incorporating autobiographical details of her decade in Germany.

And as Berlin continues to attract more creative types, she is also helping bring new talent to the city. Whether it’s organizing shows for musicians from New York or letting Taiwanese artists crash on her couch, Peaches said there’s no reason to fear the growing influx of foreigners.

“Berlin is an international city now,” she said. “It’s giving this city new energy. The people who move here are excited about the city. The ones who move here are all artists, writers, musicians. How can that be bad?”

Know someone who's "made it" in Germany? Email us at: editorial@thelocal.de

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Your comments about this article

14:13 June 3, 2011 by William Thirteen
yay Peaches!
15:35 June 3, 2011 by marimay
15:53 June 3, 2011 by derExDeutsche
I do enjoy her brand of shock pop ! but hell, I'm seeing a Marduk and Black Anvil show tonight. and they'll make Peaches look down right Britney Spears .
18:36 June 3, 2011 by donniaahumanoid
Peaches! I love her.

¦quot;Berlin is an international city now,¦quot; she said. ¦quot;It¦#39;s giving this city new energy. The people who move here are excited about the city. The ones who move here are all artists, writers, musicians. How can that be bad?¦quot;

That quote really gives me hope because I plan on studying film and creative writing in Berlin.
08:20 June 4, 2011 by auslanderus
23:08 June 4, 2011 by derExDeutsche
did she actually poop on stage at sxsw???
13:42 June 6, 2011 by marimay
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:18 June 6, 2011 by ND1000
She fits in well in Berlin.
16:34 June 6, 2011 by marimay
What? My comment was removed but asking about stage pooping is ok? lol
00:02 June 7, 2011 by wxman
I love her.
16:20 June 7, 2011 by wenddiver
07:40 June 8, 2011 by cdb8
as a Canadian who lived in Berlin in 2009-2010 before moving to Vancouver I had the awesome experience of seeing Peaches live at the Astra Klub. It was close to the best concert I ever saw and I have been to a lot of concerts!. I was right up front and rocked out finally in the flesh after all these years of listening to her on my headphones. Thanks to Peaches I have had a lot of better sex these past 10 years! If u can't get better sex after listening to Peaches or during listening to Peaches you are missing out! Canada lost a national treasure but thanks to Berlin she continues to make music and push the envelope. Please come to Vancouver at least once a year Peaches!
12:40 June 8, 2011 by delvek
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:13 June 8, 2011 by ErickDDiaz
Another plastic Artificial head-pop bubble gum.
01:06 June 9, 2011 by derExDeutsche
huh - wha???

most of you commenting know nothing about the teaches of peaches.
18:42 June 10, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
I think Berlin had enough freaks already.........
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