“Peaches” is the stage name of popular Canadian electronic musician and performance artist Merrill Beth Nisker, who is known for her provocative and overtly sexual compositions and performances. She began her journey with a folk trio and eventually became an internationally famed artist. Her compositions have been used in many well-known films and TV projects, such as 'Ugly Betty,' 'Mean Girls,' 'Jackass Number Two,' 'My Little Eye,' Drive Angry, 'Lost in Translation,' 'Lost Girl,' 'The L Word,' 'South Park,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' '30 Rock,' 'True Blood,' and 'Letterkenny.' However, Peaches has earned a fair share of notoriety, too. Some of her lyrics and performances have been rejected due to them being potentially offensive. A lot of her songs are themed on gender identity. For instance, the cover of her album 'Fatherfucker' showed her sporting a beard. Her costumes are often glamorous, futuristic, and bizarre, and they reflect her personality. She is also noted for her flamboyant and quirky sense of style that pushes the limits of gender identity. Peaches has always carried a persona that is admired by a certain group of people. However, she has mostly faced criticism for being bold and vocal about many taboo topics. Like her songs, her live performances, too, are loud yet thought-provoking. She receives inspiration from artists such as John Waters, Cindy Sherman, and Paul McCarthy. The films 'Tron,' 'Liquid Sky,' 'Grease,' and 'Phantom of the Paradise' have inspired her live shows. At a point in her life, Peaches suffered cancer and heartbreak, both at the same time, which later became the theme of her next album, 'The Teaches of Peaches.' The album later became a feminist classic. Despite all the criticism, the fact that her work propagates sexual freedom and reversal of gender roles cannot be denied.
- Peaches was born Merrill Beth Nisker, on November 11, 1966, in Toronto, Ontario, into a Jewish family. However, her family was not a staunch follower of Judaism. Her maternal grandparents were Polish immigrants settled in Canada, while her paternal grandparents were from Ukraine.
- Peaches completed her schooling from a private Jewish school. At school, she was tagged as a “class clown.” She loved entertaining people, but people around her always mocked her ability.
- Growing up, Peaches had experienced antisemitism (discrimination against Jews). Students from a nearby Catholic school once threw stones at her, calling her a "dirty Jew." Peaches worked as a music and drama teacher at the 'Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto' before she became a celebrity.
- In the early 1990s, Peaches was a member of the folk trio 'Mermaid Cafe.' She released her debut solo album, 'Fancypants Hoodlum,' in 1995, under her birth name. The same year, Peaches started a noisy four-piece rock band named 'The Shit,' along with Chilly Gonzales, bassist Sticky, and Dominique Salole (aka Mocky). Following the release of 'The Shit,' Peaches was projected as an absurd, offensive, and highly sexual music artist. It was around this time that she adopted her stage name.
- The name "Peaches" was taken from the song 'Four Women' by Nina Simone. Peaches completed a six-track EP titled 'Lovertits,' after which she moved to Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, she performed with Chilly Gonzales. She then earned a contract with the label 'Kitty-Yo,' which then produced and recorded her album 'The Teaches of Peaches.'
- Back in Toronto, Peaches released 'Lovertits' in the summer of 2000, followed by 'The Teaches of Peaches' that fall. She had started writing 'The Teaches of Peaches' at the age of 33, while she was going through a terrible break-up. Following the release, Peaches signed a contract with 'Sony.'
- Her outrageous sexuality on screen was met with rejection, and 'Sony' terminated the contract after the release of her big-budget video for the song 'Set It Off.' The video showed her growing her pubic and armpit hair. Following this, her performance on the British TV show 'Top of the Pops' was considered too racy to be aired. Peaches directed and starred in 'Chromezone XXX,' the 2001 Super-8 bike porn.
- In 2002, Peaches made an appearance in the short 'Hideous Man.' She then released her self-composed third album, 'Fatherfucker,' through 'Kitty-Yo' in 2003. For 'Fatherfucker,' Peaches earned a ‘GLAAD Media Award’ nomination for ‘Outstanding Music Artist.’
- In 2004, Peaches featured in the documentary 'Clash of Cultures.' She also appeared in an episode of the miniseries 'Sex ‘n' Pop' and in the TV documentary series 'Durch die Nacht mit...' (with Heike Makatsch and Marilyn Manson).
- Peaches collaborated with a bunch of musicians for her fourth album, 'Impeach My Bush,' released in July 2006. Following this, she created a live backing band called 'The Herms' (short for “hermaphrodites”), which gained massive prominence for its overtly sexual themes.
- In August 2006, Peaches did an advertisement campaign against seal culling, named 'Fur is Dead,' for ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA). She was then seen in 'Flight of the Conchords: A Texan Odyssey,' a documentary series aired in New Zealand, and in two episodes (2006 and 2007) of the weekly talk show 'The Henry Rollins Show.'
- In 2007, Peaches did a print-ad campaign for 'Vestal’ watches, which was featured in the magazine 'The Fader.' The same year, she received a 'GLAAD Media' nomination for 'Impeach My Bush.' Her song 'Boys Wanna Be Her' was chosen as the theme song for the 'TBS' series 'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.' It was later used for the online teaser of the live-action feature film 'Bad Kids Go to Hell' (2012).
- In May 2009, Peaches released her fifth album, 'I Feel Cream,' in Europe and North America. She and the band 'Sweet Machine' performed at the sold-out 'Big Day Out' (BDO) festivals while on their 2010 Australia tour. Peaches and Shunda K performed their collaboration, 'Billionaire,' at the ‘BDO’ festivals. Peaches hosted an episode of the 'MTV2' weekly music program 'Subterranean.'
- On March 14, 2010, Peaches received the ‘Electronic Artist of the Year’ award at the 10th annual ‘Independent Music Awards.' The same month, the copyright authorities of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' rejected her one-woman version of the musical. However, Peaches succeeded in performing the act from March 25 to 27, at Berlin's ‘HAU1,’ after the matter earned the attention of several media outlets and thus made the authorities agree.
- Peaches appeared in the 2010 Canadian feature film 'Ivory Tower.' She was featured in the song 'My Girls' from Christina Aguilera's fourth studio album, 'Bionic.' Later that year, Peaches released her single 'Jonny' as part of her tribute series to 'Suicide' band member Alan Vega.
- 'Peaches Does Herself' is a semi-biographical musical/concert film featuring a bunch of songs by the band 'Sweet Machine.' It premiered at the ‘Toronto International Film Festival' on September 13, 2012. The following month, Peaches released her digital single 'Burst!'
- On September 25, 2015, Peaches released her sixth studio album, 'RUB,' which is also the name of her line of vegan, cruelty- and silicone-free massage oil launched in collaboration with 'Neighbourhood Botanicals,' a London-based skincare and massage oil brand. In May 2016, Peaches performed 'Bodyline' in a fourth-season episode of the Canadian TV series 'Orphan Black.' On April 29, 2017, she performed 'Boys Wanna Be Her' at the 'Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner.'
- 'RUB' was produced by Vice Cooler at the Los Angeles garage owned by Peaches.
- In 2001, famous artist Cynthia Plaster Caster, known for making molds of male rockers' genitalia, chose her 34AA bust for her next cast. With that, her bust became one of the first female busts to be cast by Cynthia.
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