Natalie Merchant Biography
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Natalie Anne Merchant
Born in: Jamestown, New York, USA
Spouse/Ex-: Daniel de la Calle (m. 2003–2012)
father: Anthony Merchant
mother: Ann Merchant
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Jamestown Community College
Natalie Merchant is an alternative rock singer and songwriter who rose to fame with her debut album ‘Tigerlily’. One the most accomplished musicians of present era, she has been lauded for her creativity and extremely emotional lyrics. Many of her songs are an outcry of women rights, asserting their status quo and the abuses inflicted on them. While some others, especially from the album ‘Motherland’ are dedicated to the victims of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Certain other themes of her songs include, childhood and innocence which she composed keeping in mind the 19th and 20th century British and American poems on childhood. Today, she is one of the most versatile and ingenious artists in the music industry of America and has been highly regarded by the critics. Her career which began in the late 1990s is marked by some songs which she performed for the band ‘10,000 Maniacs’ and several solo songs after splitting from the band. Almost all her albums have been well-received, though she has not yet received any awards. However, she has collaborated with the greatest singers of today, to produce some of her tracks. She has also been accompanied by them on several tours and stage performances. Merchant is also known for her social activism and philanthropic works. Read about her life and career in the biography below.
- Natalie was born to Anthony and Ann Merchant; she has three other siblings—two elder and one younger. Her parents divorced when she was just eight.
- She stayed with her mother who was a music enthusiast and motivated her children to learn music and discouraged watching TV. She grew up studying classical music and at age of sixteen she dropped out of high school to work in a health food store.
- She attended the Jamestown Community College and also joined the alternative rock band ‘Still Life’ in 1981, which later came to be known as ‘10,000 Maniacs’.
- As the lead singer and songwriter for ‘10,000 Maniacs’ she sang for the album ‘Human Conflict Number Five’. She was a part of the band till 1993, during which she sang lead vocals for seven studio albums.
- In 1995, she wrote and released her debut album ‘Tigerlily’ from which, the song ‘Beloved Wife’, was used in the famous movie ‘Message in a Bottle’.
- Following the success of her album, she grouped a number of young artists to form her band, but they could not remain together for long and the band spilt a little later.
- Her second album, ‘Ophelia’ was released in 1998 which was based on the problems faced by women, from times immemorial. The most famous song from the album is ‘Kind and Generous’ which was frequently played on the VH1 radio.
- The same year she also recorded the song ‘But Not for Me’—originally by the legendary singer George Gershwin—for Red Hot Organization, a charitable institution.
- In 2000, she went on a folk tour in the U.S. with the country music band ‘Wilco’.
- In 2001, she released her third album ‘Motherland’ in collaboration with Elektra Records. The album was a massive hit, peaking at the Billboard 200 and earning a place in the Top Internet Albums of 2001.
- For a year and a half, Merchant embarked on world tour to endorse her album and in 2002 she teamed up with rock musician Chris Isaak to perform at different places.
- In 2002, after her contract with Elektra expired, she created her won recording label ‘Myth America Records’ and released her next album ‘The House Carpenter's Daughter’ in 2003.
- Iin 2009, she signed a contract with Nonesuch Records and on April 13, 2010, her fifth solo album ‘Leave Your Sleep’ was officially released.
- In 2011, she contributed the song ‘Learning the Game’ to the tribute album ‘Listen to Me: Buddy Holly’ in commemoration of Buddy Holly, one of the pioneers of rock and roll.
- ‘Tigerlily’, Merchant’s debut solo album shot her to fame instantly, reaching no. 13 spot on the Billboard Top 200 and selling over 5 million copies. Till date, it is the most successful album by this singer.
- The album ‘Ophelia’ was also successful, thanks to the single ‘Kind & Generous’ which made it to the Top 10 on Billboard 200.
- ‘Motherland’ her third solo album peaked at no. 30 on the Billboard 200 and ‘Leave Your Sleep’ her fifth solo album was also a huge hit, reaching no. 1 on the Billboard Top Folk Albums.
- Her first solo album ‘Tigerlily’ was a huge success and received 5 times platinum certification.
- ‘Ophelia’ which was also very successful was given a platinum certification while her third solo album ‘Motherland’ received a gold certification in the U.S.
- Merchant tied the knot with Daniel de la Calle in 2003 and had a daughter with him. Later, in 2012 she confirmed her divorce, in an interview.
- She is a vegetarian and likes to paint at times. Her paintings can be found in her official website. She is also fond of gardening and prefers to live in the “countryside, rather than the city”.
- The serial killer Aileen Wuornos asked to play the song, ‘Carnival’ from the album ‘Tigerlily’ by this famous musician, at her wake after her execution.
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