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How Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, Survived Herself–and Became the Indie Rock Queen.
Chan Marshall’s stark lyrics, minimal arrangements,and wounded, smoky vocals, were an instant indie hit in the nineties–but her mental instability nearly derailed her career. How this sensitive but headstrong Georgian daughter of an unstable mother and a relatively unknown musician father–managed to make it big, burn out, and rise up again to become not only the darling of the indie music scene but also a fashion and Hollywood icon is the fabric of this irresistible story.
Covering her musical beginnings in the south and her booze-soaked rise to fame in New York City to her eventual breakdown and subsequent reclamation of herself and her music, Cat Power delves into the soul of this fragile but ferociously gifted young talent. With seven albums behind her, the hottest designers clamoring to dress her, and perpetually sold-out venues, Marshall is at the height of her career–a perfect vantage point from which to look at her notorious and intriguing history.
From interviews with her family, musicians such as Thurston Moore, Nick Cave, Dave Grohl, and Jack White, past loves like Bill Callahan and Vincent Gallo, and current friends such as Karl Lagerfeld and Wong Kar-Wai, Elizabeth Goodman gives us the real Chan Marshall–the little girl, the woman, the artist.
The tumultuous life and career of Chan Marshall, the voice behind indie rock band Cat Power, is explored in Goodman's solid biography. Despite, or perhaps because of, Marshall's refusal to be interviewed for the book, Goodman, the editor-at-large at Blender, is able to peel back the layers of the singer's life, mixing original interviews with Marshall's friends and family and published quotes from Marshall herself. Born in 1972, Marshall grew up all over the South, the daughter of a schizophrenic mother and a wannabe rocker father, finding solace in music early on. From her first tentative forays into writing songs while living in Cabbagetown, Atlanta's bohemian enclave, to her shoot to indie and mainstream fame after moving to New York in the 1990s and signing with Matador Records, Marshall seemed certain of a bright future. Crippling self-doubt, coupled with a penchant for alcohol, led to Marshall's much-publicized breakdown. But Marshall endured, releasing the latest Cat Power record, Dark End of the Street, in 2008. Goodman's respect for Marshall's music is evident, but it's her objectivity when faced with reporting some of the singer's less than admirable traits that make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.