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“They had said that I needed top producer, famous band. I was so happy with everything I had created, and out of thin air.” Marshall still carries the sting from discovering, months after the fact, that upon hearing she was hospitalized they pulled all the marketing on a point that Matador disputes. It was as if I didn’t know this person I was now, because I had gone through something life-changing. I was on page one, and I felt invisible, because I had no idea.” And that is when Marshall discovered she was pregnant. Instantly I understood that now it’s time to play the protection ball game, and no one fucking wins this game but me,” Marshall explains. Her recording engineer moved from France into the spare room. There’s a cultural hunger for this — babies tempering one’s selfish practice of art is taken as proof of against ambivalence, as if the demands of motherhood cannot possibly align with art-making, for motherhood is defined as an act of sacrifice.And I chose to become very stubborn and did everything myself,” she explains. “They weren’t betting on the horse to win.” She says she fundamentally misunderstood the transactional nature of her connection to the label as something close to kin, “Just because somebody told me I was their family, I didn’t need to believe them. As Adrienne Rich wrote, the suffering of the mother is the primary way culture identifies a woman as a mother.In the pictures on her phone, he is on a playground near their home in Miami, the fronds of distant palms ringing his towhead like a halo, her smile huge.Marshall vapes, speaking freely if somewhat elliptically, using eye contact like punctuation to underscore her point, and offers me water with the solicitousness of a great waitress. For Cat Power fans, the history of Chan Marshall’s “okayness” hasn’t necessarily been a spectator sport or subject of curiosity so much as a factor in deciding whether to see her perform or even pick up her new album.
Turns out carrying a grudge and having something to prove might have been good for Cat Power — as was giving birth three years ago to the son, Boaz, who adorns the cover of her just-released 10th album, Wanderer.Marshall comes across as confident, a charming grown-ass woman of 46, and I’d say she’s perfectly goddamn fine. Ursa Major earrings, 5, and rings, 5-,050, at Since her 1996 breakout, , speculating on Marshall’s well-being has been based on whether she has rambled and gambled the audience’s patience at her shows; or if she was curt or lax about her boundaries; or canceled a tour to take care of her mental or physical health, as she did after releasing 2006’s .Right: Balenciaga dress, ,800 at Balenciaga New York Soho. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Cat Power’s songs’ persistent lament evokes the idea she’s more than an enigma and vessel for expectation.Yet, there are small, augmenting clues of another life: her son’s Most everything in New York has transformed for Marshall, she says. “I got a waffle from Veselka, and took my boy to Tompkins Square Park — [the squirrels] just didn’t want that waffle.” She’s careful to qualify her nostalgia.“I don’t go back to the past too much, ‘cause there’s always so much growth to people’s lives,” but it’s clear she’s talking about her own as much as any one she ran with back in the day. Since then, multiple tours have been called comebacks, and her album releases have tended to follow, or at least coincide with, personal cataclysm: break-ups, hospitalizations ( charts — a first for Marshall — but that day she was in intensive care, by her own account “fighting to stay alive,” one of several hospitalizations before she would be diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that year.