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Cat Power

Musician

Cat Power is the musical nom de plume of vocalist, songwriter, musician, and producer Chan Marshall. She has been writing and releasing music for over two decades. Her 10th studio album, Wanderer, will be released in 2018.

You’ve been making records now for close to two decades. Do you find that the process of writing songs gets more or less difficult the more you do it? Also, how do you write a song?

It’s never been difficult. Actually, it’s always super easy. It’s almost always the same process. It’s a feeling. That said, writing a song is very different from recording a song. Recording is the part that can be hard.

You’ve been making records now for close to two decades. Do you find that the process of writing songs gets more or less difficult the more you do it? Also, how do you write a song?

I’ve always written alone. At soundcheck with the band or something maybe I’ll make some shit up, or sometimes on tour alone I’ll sometimes make something up; but whether I go back and remember it, or choose to do it again, is another story. But usually it’s pretty easy. It’s just a feeling—whether it’s in the morning, middle of the night, at a hotel, my grandma’s house, at home, friend’s house, on the beach, whatever—it doesn’t matter where I am. There’s a feeling that comes over you that’s undeniable, it almost feels like you’re hungry, but it’s not for anything going in. It’s for something coming out. When it feels best it’s simple and it’s easy.

You’ve been making records now for close to two decades. Do you find that the process of writing songs gets more or less difficult the more you do it? Also, how do you write a song?

When I was in high school I would write. That was what I did—write and paint. It made me feel better. Once I had an instrument, I found it easier to calm down. Writing, painting, playing music, whatever, it all made it easier to quiet the pain, or whatever it was that I was feeling—the tension, the mysterious blob inside that was just always there. Sometimes when I’m writing a song maybe I am thinking about something really horrible or sad or even something beautiful, but sometimes I’m not even thinking about anything. It’s always just that feeling… and I don’t always know what the feeling is telling me.

You’ve been making records now for close to two decades. Do you find that the process of writing songs gets more or less difficult the more you do it? Also, how do you write a song?

When I’m feeling a certain way, and I’m with a guitar, it opens a channel, a chakra or something. Same with a piano. It’s like there’s a vibration in the room that fills up the void, fills up the ears and the body. Then out comes the melody and the words, always together. Once I repeat it a couple of times it becomes a song. “Ok, there’s a song.” Once it feels like a song, I’ll write it down or record it on a tape recorder or something. It almost feels like you’re breaking time somehow when you’re in that creative space. It’s like everything else falls away. It’s kind of like having a fever or something—the fever breaks and then you’re like, “Whoa, what time is it? How long was I out?”

You’ve been making records now for close to two decades. Do you find that the process of writing songs gets more or less difficult the more you do it? Also, how do you write a song?

And afterwards you might still feel equally as destroyed or equally starved or still just as angry—whatever you were feeling before. You might still feel the same exact way that you felt before you purged it, before you allowed yourself the acknowledgement and the time and the place in the universe to actually feel whatever it was you needed to feel without suppressing it or ignoring it. Even though you might feel the same way, at least you know that it’s real. Making a song is a way of not being alone in the way you feel.

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