Grimes named herself after grime music after discovering the existence of the genre via Myspace. In 2010, she released her debut album, Geidi Primes on Arbutus Records (based in Montreal, Quebec), followed by Halfaxa (2010). In late 2011, she announced that she had signed with 4AD Records, who partnered with Arbutus Records to release her third album, Visions (2012). Visions met critical acclaim and was hailed by the New York Times as "one of the most impressive albums of the year so far".
Grimes' music has been noted by critics and journalists for its atypical combination of vocal elements, as well as a wide array of influences, ranging from electronica to pop, hip hop, R&B and even medieval music.
In 2013 Grimes was awarded the Webby Award for Artist of the Year. and a Juno Award for Electronic Album of the year.
Boucher was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is of Québécois, Ukrainian and Russian descent.She graduated from Lord Byng Secondary School and studied ballet for 11 years. At age 18, she moved to Montreal, Quebec to attend Montreal's McGill University to study neuroscience. During her studies, she began to record and perform under the name Grimes.However, as Grimes became a more serious endeavor for her, she began to miss a large number of classes, and began only attending to take exams, resulting in the university taking punitive actions against her and ultimately expelling her. In Montreal she began putting on concerts with her friends at Lab Synthèse, a performance space they started, which was located in an abandoned textile factory that Arbutus Records evolved out of. In 2009, two of her songs were released (under her real name, Claire Boucher) on Arbutus Records' Spring 2009 Sampler.