Sufjan Stevens’ Tonya Harding-Inspired Song Is Everything

Photo: Courtesy of Neon Films.

Sufjan Stevens wrote a song as a tribute to Tonya Harding and it's as complex and beautiful as the story the song is about.

"I've been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991," Stevens admits in an essay explaining his new single.

While it was submitted for the soon-to-be-released biopic I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie, it was not used in the film, reports NPR. "She’s a complicated subject for a song partly because the hard facts of her life are so strange, disputable, heroic, unprecedented, and indelibly American," he writes.

The sonically serene song tells the story of Harding as she rises in the figuring skating world and competes for a spot on the Olympic team. "Are you lonely at night? Do you miss all the glory and the mythical story of the Olympian life?" Stevens sings, as he paints a picture of a complicated hero that undoubtedly left an impression on him.

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"The more I edited, and the more I meditated, and the more I considered the wholeness of the person of Tonya Harding, I began to feel a conviction to write something with dignity and grace, to pull back the ridiculous tabloid fodder and take stock of the real story of this strange and magnificent America hero," Stevens explains. "At the end of the day, Tonya Harding was just an ordinary woman with extraordinary talent and a tireless work ethic who set out to do her very best."

Stevens also wrote two songs, "Mystery of Love" and "Visions of Gideon," for the instant hit Call Me By Your Name, one of which can be heard in the trailer for the film.

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