Real Name: Charlyn Marie Marshall
Born on: 21 January 1972

Charlyn ‘Chan’ Marshall is an American songwriter and singer born on 21 January 1972 in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for her minimalist style, sparse piano and guitar playing, and ethereal vocals.

Charlyn Marshall’s stage name is ‘Cat Power’. Her parents got divorced when she was still young and she stayed with her mother. Charlyn Marshall completed her higher school education at the age of 16 and moved to stay with her father Charlie, who is a blues musician and pianist. She learnt all genres of music at the age of 19 from her father.

Chan Marshall
Chan Marshall

Charlyn Marshall started her music career by playing guitar in her friend’s band under the name ‘Cat Power’ for a short period. Later Marshall realized that she preferred songwriting to performing and moved to New York City in 1992 with Glen Thrasher to continue her songwriting career. He introduced Charlyn Marshall to New York’s experimental music and free-jazz.

Charlyn Marshall’s first performance was at a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York. During this period she performed as the support act to a surf rock band ‘Man or Astro-man?’ which included her singing the word ‘no’ for 15 minutes and playing a two string guitar. Marshall became the friend of ‘God Is My Co-Pilot’ band and released her first single ‘Headlights’.

Charlyn Marshall released her first single ‘Headlights’ for indie rock artist Liz Phair in 1994. The attendees included Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, who encouraged her and played on her two albums, ‘Dear Sir’ in 1995 and ‘Myra Lee’ in 1996. Charlyn Marshall released her third album ‘What Would the Community Think’ in 1996 by singing with an independent record label ‘Matador Records’.

Cat Power - Chan Marshall
Cat Power - Chan Marshall

Charlyn Marshall toured with the band ‘Guv’ner for three months in support of the release of ‘What Would the Community Think’ in late 1996 and moved out from the sight of music. She worked as a baby sitter in Portland, Oregon and later moved to a farmhouse in South Carolina with her boyfriend Bill Callahan. Marshall released her fourth album ‘Moon Pix’ in 1998. She provided musical supplement to ‘The passion of Joan of Arc’, a silent movie in 1999.

In April 2006, Charlyn Marshall returned to live performance with the ‘Memphis Rhythm’ band and continued with her stage performances. At the same time she gave performance at a tribute concert of Bob Dylan. Charlyn Marshall has contributed guest vocals to several albums.

Charlyn Marshall won the ‘Shortlist Music Prize’ award for her album ‘The Greatest’ in 2007 and she is the first female to win this award. Charlyn Marshall was the musical guest on ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ on April 1, 2008.

Some of her albums include:

  • Dear Sir (1995)
  • Myra Lee (1996)
  • What Would the Community Think (1996)
  • Moon Pix (1998)
  • The Covers Record (2000)
  • You Are Free (2003)
  • The Greatest (2006)
  • Jukebox (2008)