Cristin Milioti has released a cover of Bon Iver’s “715 Creeks,” from the band’s 2016 album 22, a Million.
The song marks the How I Met Your Mother and Palm Springs actor’s first solo single, although this is far from her first foray into music: She performed in David Bowie’s Off-Broadway stage show Lazarus and received a Grammy win and a Tony Award nomination for her role in the stage adaptation of Once.
Milioti tells Rolling Stone that she recorded “715 Creeks” around two years ago, while she was shooting the film Palm Springs, but that she had performed it at concerts several times before. Instead of replicating the robotic, layered vocal effects of Justin Vernon’s Messina production software, Milioti arranged the song into simple piano chords and was occasionally joined by a cellist onstage.
“It was always wild because people would come up to me afterward and be like, ‘What was that song?’ even though I would say who it was and everything,” Milioti says. “I do think that song is so special; it just gets in your marrow.
With the recorded version, there was the addition of an ARP 2600, a Rhodes, and other “old-school synthesizers” into the mix. But Milioti wanted to keep the raw emotion of “715 Creeks” front and center.
“I think [22, a Million] is a masterpiece, but there’s something about that song that, on an album of masterpieces, that’s the one that always punches me in the heart,” she says. “The first time I heard that song, I burst into tears.” She credits the simplicity of the song — which features little else besides Justin Vernon’s modulated voice layered on top of itself — for drawing her in: “He’s such an incredible builder of soundscapes. It was just shattering to me.”
Milioti plans to release subsequent singles of original material in the coming months.