A. Neko Case is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her solo career and her contributions as a member of the Canadian indie rock group The New Pornographers.
Case, born in Alexandria, Virginia, is the daughter of Diana Mary Dubbs and James Bamford Case. Case’s paternal family surname was originally Shevchenko. Her father, a Vietnam veteran serving in the United States Air Force was based in Virginia when she was born. Case’s parents, who were teenagers when they had her, were of Ukrainian ancestry. Her parents divorced when Case began school.
Case left home at 15. At 18 years of age, she worked as a drummer for the Del Logs and the Propanes, playing in venues including a punk club called the Community World Theater. She attended the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, graduating with a BFA in 1998.
She left Canada for Seattle, Washington. Before leaving, Case recorded vocals for a few songs that ended up on Mass Romantic, The New Pornographers’ first album.
Released on November 28, 2000, Mass Romantic became a surprise success. Although the band was originally conceived as a side project for its members, The New Pornographers remain a prominent presence in the indie rock world, having released its seventh album Whiteout Conditions on April 7, 2017.
In addition to recording with The New Pornographers, Case frequently collaborates with other Canadian musicians, including The Sadies and Carolyn Mark, and has recorded material by several noted Canadian songwriters, in particular on her 2001 EP Canadian Amp. As a result, she is also considered a significant figure in Canadian music—both CBC Radio 3 and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada have referred to Case as an “honourary Canadian”.
Case recorded and toured for several years as Neko Case & Her Boyfriends before performing solely under her name. She primarily performs her own material, but also performs and has recorded cover versions of songs by artists such as My Morning Jacket, Harry Nilsson, Loretta Lynn, Tom Waits, Nick Lowe, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Scott Walker, Randy Newman, Queen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sparks and Hank Williams.
In April 2003, Case was voted the “Sexiest Babe of Indie Rock” in a Playboy.com internet poll, receiving 32% of the vote. Playboy asked her to pose nude for the magazine, but she declined their offer. She told Entertainment Weekly that “I didn’t want to be the girl who posed in Playboy and then—by the way—made some music. I would be really fucking irritated if after a show somebody came up to me and handed me some naked picture of myself and wanted me to sign it instead of my CD.” In later interviews, she declined to discuss the survey at all.
In 2016, Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs announced the case/lang/veirs project, with an album released in June 2016.