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It remains to be seen whether he will win prizes for the pink-hued cover of his forthcoming LP, Mala, which he enthusiastically describes as "water in a room full of ham".
It is Banhart's love of art that has led us to where we are today: London's Tate Britain.
Given his lethargy during the radio interview, I hoped it might perk him up. You're just trying to make me feel bad."I am, I say."Well that's very British.
Ape In Pink Marble followed four years later the lead singles Middle Names and Saturday Night both critically acclaimed.
With his Texan-Venezuela background and trailblazing 'freak folk', the singer-songwriter, artist and model is studiously unconventional – not to mention brilliant company in an art gallery, as Fiona Sturges discovers. "Exactly."There's something of Woody Allen about the 31-year-old Banhart, both in his compulsive self-analysis and his amusing line in self-mockery.
One small tear and it's over."I told you this would happen," he says, blinking. And my friends would tell you that I will cry eventually. I know I'm an idiot and there's a liberating aspect to that. It's like, because it's not really the time or place to be doing that, it just sort of happens."Like farting?
Sometimes described as freak folk, sometimes a psychedelic minstrel, his third album Nino Rojo (2004) brought him wider acclaim when the track At The Hop was used to advertise Cathedral City cheese and Little Yellow Spider featured in a commercial for Orange.
Moving to British label XL, he released the acclaimed Cripple Crow (2005) and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007) albums, and briefly made the headlines for dating Hollywood movie star Natalie Portman.