Q has called Natalie Merchant “among the most compelling and distinctive voices of the last decade,” while Vogue has said she is “one of the most successful and enduring alternative artists to emerge from the Eighties intact and uncompromised.” As lead vocalist, lyricist, and sometimes pianist of seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant released six critically acclaimed studio albums. She left the group in 1993, and in 1995 released her multi-platinum solo debut, Tigerlily, followed by the platinum Ophelia (1998) and Motherland (2001). In 2003 she released an album of traditional and contemporary folk music, The House Carpenter’s Daughter, which also coincided with the birth of her child.
In 2010, Merchant returned with a thematic double album, Leave Your Sleep, her debut for Nonesuch Records. For this meditation on childhood and mothering Merchant set 19th- and 20th century American and British children’s poetry to music. In 2014, Nonesuch released Natalie Merchant, her sixth solo album and first of entirely original songs in thirteen years. Merchant remains dedicated to a wide array of social justice and environmental causes. Recently, she spearheaded the making of the protest concert film Dear Governor Cuomo (2013) with New Yorkers Against Fracking, actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo, and filmmakers Jon Bowermaster and Alex Gibney, and she directed and produced SHELTER: A Concert Film to Benefit Victims of Domestic Violence (2014). 2015 saw the release of Merchant’s Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings, a collection of all-new recordings revisiting Merchant’s multi-platinum solo debut, Tigerlily.
In 2017 Nonesuch released The Natalie Merchant Collection – a deluxe box set compiled by Natalie herself, which comprised ten discs, including all eight of her solo studio albums from the past three decades, an album of new recordings, and an album of rare and previously unreleased tracks. The package included a 100-page lyric book and pictorial history.