Natalie Merchant made her name fronting American college rock favourites 10,000 Maniacs, launched her solo career in 1993 with Tigerlily and - after seven studio albums - remains one of the most revered singer songwriters of her generation.
The song I wrote: Lulu from album ‘Natalie Merchant’, 2014
The song I wish I had written: Ode To Billie Jo, Bobbie Gentry, 1967
The song I’m writing: Untitled, 2019
John says: I met Natalie one morning in the dining room of her central London hotel, the Cafe Royal. They let us use the piano, as staff quietly set the tables for lunch around us. None of them could have been prepared for such an emotional soundtrack to their daily work as Natalie - explaining the song she’s writing - talked about a friend whose husband and two children had all died in a single year. She’s been writing a song that takes on the themes of grief, loss and acceptance for many years and played it for me as she choked back tears. Heartbreaking, but also an amazing reminder of the cathartic power of music.