Leslie Feist -- best known simply as Feist -- was a respected member of the Canadian alternative music community before becoming an international pop sensation with the success for her albums Let It Die and The Reminder. Feist was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 13, 1976. Her father Harold is a respected abstract painter and academic, while her mother Lyn is also a visual artist who works in ceramics. Feist was a baby when her parents divorced, and her mother relocated to Regina, Saskatchewan with young Leslie and her older brother Ben. Growing up in Regina and later Calgary, Leslie was a good student who hoped to become a writer, and developed an interest in music after joining a youth choir. When Leslie was 15, her creative ambitions took a sharp turn when she joined a Calgary-based punk band, Placebo (no relation to the later U.K.-based neo-glam outfit) in 1991. In 1993, Placebo won a Battle of the Bands that earned them a spot at a rock festival opening for the Ramones, and in 1995, the group would release an EP, Don't Drink the Bathwater. However, Feist was an inexperienced vocalist who had trouble keeping up with the group's powerful stage volume, and in 1996 she left Placebo when she began to experience damage to her vocal cords. Feist left Calgary for Toronto, and was advised by a doctor not to sing for six months. As she settled in her new hometown, Feist used her downtime from singing to work on her instrumental abilities; she taught herself guitar and began writing songs using a four-track recording setup, and also picked up the bass and played for a spell in the band Noah's Arkweld. In 1998, she became rhythm guitarist with the indie rock outfit By Divine Right, and appeared on their 1999 album Bless This Mess. During her time with By Divine Right, Feist began piecing together the songs she'd been writing and released her first album, Monarch (Lay Down Your Jeweled Head). Most copies of the disc were sold at the merch table at shows, and it received little notice at the time.