Jamestown, NY, native Natalie Merchant was a member of 10,000 Maniacs from 1981 to 1993. The singer, songwriter and instrumentalist has been a solo artist since then.
Salon posted an interview of Merchant by Stephen Duesner in May 2014. It provides insight into her art – which in part stems from a deep knowledge and love of movies:
Merchant’s love of cinema has informed the music she has made first as the frontwoman for the collegiate pop group 10,000 Maniacs in the 1980s and later as a solo artist in the 1990s. Her songs are often driven by character and story, with vivid, often historical settings and an emphasis on visual imagery. Often described as literary, her songs are actually cinematic, ranging from the kitchen-sink drama of “Like the Weather” (off 1987’s “In My Tribe”) to the widescreen apocalypse of “It’s A-Coming” (off her new album, simply titled “Natalie Merchant”).
Wikipedia does its usual comprehensive job of filling out the bio.
Above is “Jealousy” as performed on The David Letterman show in 1996. The immediacy of the performance — as opposed to carefully produced videos — overcomes substandard audio quality.
(Homepage photo: Gus Krol)