“Music and Community Engagement” with Singer and Songwriter Natalie Merchant
Thursday, April 11, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm| $20
Sponsored by the Scrimshaw Distinguished Visiting Artist Fund.
Over her 30-year career Natalie Merchant has earned a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer.
Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released two platinum and four gold records with the group between 1981 and 1993. In 1994 Merchant embarked upon a solo career with a self-produced debut album, Tigerlily (1995) which sold over 5 million copies. In the years following, she released Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999) and Motherland (2001). In 2003, she left Elektra Records and independently released an album of traditional and contemporary folk music, The House Carpenter’s Daughter on her own label, Myth America Records. In 2005, Merchant offered a collection of her most rare and best-known material for a double album, Retrospective. In 2010, she released a double album through Nonesuch Records entitled, Leave Your Sleep. This thematic work included 26 musical adaptations of classic and contemporary poems that touched upon various aspects of childhood.
An eponymous album of original material followed in 2014 and in 2015 Merchant celebrated the 20th anniversary of her first solo album by releasing Paradise is There, reinterpretations of the songs from Tigerlily with a string quartet. Most recently, Nonesuch released a 10-CD box set of her solo work with the addition of a new album entitled Butterfly (2017).
Throughout her career Merchant has been dedicated to supporting a variety of non-profit organizations by lending both financial support and raising public awareness. Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Doctors Without Borders, Tibet House, Greenpeace, the Southern Center for Human Rights and Planned Parenthood are among the social justice groups to which she has been devoted.
Merchant is currently an artist-in-residence with the Commission on Economic Opportunity in Troy, New York. During her four-year residency, she will develop a music, poetry and dance curriculum for CEO’s Head Start program. As part of this effort, she has written, rehearsed and produced a musical theater piece with 160 preschool children called, Happy Birthday Mother Goose.