Charlyn Marie "Chan" Marshall (Template:IPAc-en Template:Respell; born January 21, 1972), better known by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, occasional actress, and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall's first band, but has become her stage name as a solo artist.
Born in Atlanta, Marshall was raised throughout the southern United States, and began performing in local bands in Atlanta in the early 1990s. After opening for Liz Phair in 1993, she worked with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar, with whom she recorded her first two albums, Dear Sir (1995) and Myra Lee (1996), on the same day in 1994. In 1996, she signed with Matador Records, and released a third album of new material with Shelley and Foljahn, What Would the Community Think. Following this, she released the critically acclaimed Moon Pix (1998), recorded with members of Dirty Three, and The Covers Record (2000), a collection of sparsely arranged cover songs.
After a brief hiatus she released You Are Free (2003), featuring guest musicians Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, followed by the soul-influenced The Greatest (2006), recorded with numerous Memphis studio musicians. A second album of cover tracks, Jukebox, was released in 2008. In 2012 she released the self-produced Sun, which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200, the highest charting album of her career to date.
Critics have noted the constant evolution of Cat Power's sound, with a mix of punk, folk and blues on her earliest albums, and elements of soul and other genres more prevalent in her later material Sun incorporated electronica.
Charlyn Marie Marshall was born January 21, 1972, in Atlanta, Georgia, the second child of Charlie Marshall, a blues musician and pianist, and Myra Lee Marshall (Russell). She has one older sister, Miranda ("Mandy"). Her parents divorced in 1979 and remarried shortly thereafter. Her mother remarried and had a son, Lenny, and the family traveled around often because of her stepfather's profession.
Marshall attended ten different schools throughout the Southern U.S. in Greensboro; Bartlett and Memphis and throughout Georgia and South Carolina. At times she was left in the care of her grandmother. She was not allowed to buy records when she was growing up, but she listened to her stepfather's record collection, which included artists Otis Redding, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Rolling Stones, as well as her parents' records, which included Black Flag, Sister Sledge, and Barry White. In sixth grade, she adopted the nickname Chan (pronounced "Shawn"), which she would later use professionally. When she was 13, she loved listening to bands like the Smiths, the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees. She had to save up to buy cassettes and the first one she got was a record by the Misfits. At age 16, she became estranged from her mother, and had no further contact with her until she was 24.
Religion was a large part of Marshall's upbringing; her father was a Jehovah's Witness, though she attended Southern Baptist churches with her grandmother, where she began singing while learning hymns.