A Primer on Grimes, the Experimental Pop Star Who Just Had Her First Baby With Elon Musk

Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock.

Elon Musk is a household name; his partner, Grimes, should be too. But after the couple welcomed their first baby together on May 4, 2020, many were still wondering: Who is Grimes, Elon Musk’s girlfriend? The 32-year-old Canadian enigma has managed to toe the line between bonafide pop stardom and niche appeal for over a decade, so it’s a question she practically eludes. Nobody really knows Grimes.

So, your unfamiliarity is (sorta) the point. It’s difficult to pin her down. What we do know about Grimes, the producing-illustrating-singing-directing-extraordinaire, is that she’s been releasing music since the early 2000s and crafting her self-described “ethereal nu-metal” sound ever since. With five albums under her belt—most recently the critically-lauded Miss Anthropocene—it’s fair to say that the new mother has long afforded a title far beyond that of just “Elon Musk’s girlfriend.”

Allow us to prove it. Here’s everything you need to know about Grimes and *her* boyfriend, Elon Musk.

Her real name is Claire Boucher.

If you’re a fan of UK grime, then you’ll take comfort in the fact that Grimes is, too. It’s evidently how her stage name was inspired. In a series of since-deleted tweets, the singer shared how she went from going by Claire to Grimes:

“On Myspace, your genre could be grime and you could have 3 genres so I was plural grime, before knowing what grime was,” she wrote. “I was very pleased to discover that I actually loved grime music. Dizzee [Rascal] is one of my all-time favorite musicians, [I] discovered him whilst googling ‘grime,’ guess I am so named ’cause I like Dizzee, Wiley, etc.”

That’s a bit of a different origin story than what previous interviews revealed, but Boucher explained that she was “embarrassed” at the time to tell the truth. Instead, she’d often tell reporters that her name was inspired by Frank Grimes of The Simpsons or the artist Ken Grimes.

She’s studied neuroscience.

I mean, you’d expect as much if she’s able to talk science and space with Musk. But many don’t know that aside from her musical prowess, Grimes studied neuroscience and philosophy, with a minor in Russian, for some time at McGill University in Montreal.

According to a 2012 profile in The Globe and Mail, the space-program hopeful lacked the prerequisites that most of her science courses required. Still, “she managed to take – and pass – the courses anyway.” It’s a noted “information addiction” that fans of Grimes have come to know her for, with the star going through phases of learning new skills and languages.

She met Musk over an AI joke.

Only Grimes could bond with a tech billionaire over artificial intelligence. The pair both happened to come up with the same joke about “Rococo basilisk,” a twist on an 18-century art style coupled with Roko’s Basilisk artificial intelligence theory. The latter suggests that A.I. is capable of punishing anyone who didn’t help in its creation.

When Musk thought he came up with the joke, he soon realized that Grimes had already beat him to it with a character from her 2015 “Flesh without Blood” music video. He reached out to her in 2018 over it, and the rest is history.

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