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Charlyn Marie Marshall (born January 21, 1972), also known as Chan Marshall or by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer-songwriter, musician and occasional actress and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall's first band, but has come to refer to her musical projects with various backing bands. Marshall debuted with her first studio album, Dear Sir (1995), recorded with Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, and went on to release several albums throughout the 1990s, including What Would the Community Think (1996) and Moon Pix (1998) before garnering international acclaim for her albums, You Are Free (2003), and The Greatest (2006).
Marshall has been praised for her soulful melancholic vocals and raw, minimalist guitar playing.
Chan Marshall was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Marshall's father, Charlie, is a blues musician and pianist. Her parents divorced when she was a child and remarried shortly thereafter. Her mother ultimately remarried to another man, the family travelling around a lot because of her stepfather's job. Marshall attended 10 different schools throughout the Southern United States in places such as Greensboro; Barlett and Memphis and throughout Georgia and South Carolina. At times she was left with her grandmother. In interviews she stated that the constant traveling prepared her for the touring life of a professional musician. She was not allowed to buy records when she was growing up, but she listened to her stepfather's record collection which included such artists as Otis Redding, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Rolling Stones.
Marshall became estranged from her mother at 16, having no contact with her until she was 24 and says they are still not close. She went back to live with her father in Atlanta but only stayed with him until she was 18, when she moved out. Marshall claims he never taught her any music, forbidding her to play his piano. Her first instrument was a 1950s Silvertone guitar, which she did not touch for a year after buying it, because â€œIt was art in the corner.â€
After leaving home, she started playing in Atlanta with a collective of musicians made up of Glen Thrasher, Marc Moore, Damon Moore and Fletcher Liegerot, who would get together for jam sessions in a basement. The group were booked for a show and had to come up with a name quickly, when a man walked through the door of the pizzeria where Marshall worked, wearing a Caterpillar trucker cap that read: "Cat Diesel Power". Marshall immediately decided on Cat Power as the name of the band. While in Atlanta, Marshall played her first live shows as support to her friends' bands, including Magic Bone and Opal Foxx Quartet. Due to her close relationships with the various people involved, she has stated that her involvement in music at this time was primarily a social interest rather than an artistic one. She also stated in a 2007 interview for Soft Focus that the music itself was more experimental and that playing shows was often an opportunity for her and her friends to get drunk and take drugs. A number of her peers became entrenched in heroin use, and this contributed to her desire to leave Atlanta.Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments