Charlyn Marie Marshall (born January 21, 1972), also known as Chan Marshall or by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer/songwriter and occasional actress and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall's first band, but has come to refer to her musical projects with various backing bands. Over a twenty year career she has produced eight studio albums, one live album and two EPs.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Marshall loved soul, rock n roll and country music from childhood and began to play guitar in experimental bands with friends. After a move to New York at age 20, Marshall recorded two lo-fi, improvised solo albums. Cat Power signed to Matador Records to release her third, more focused album, What Would the Community Think? (1996), which united her with notable indie musicians. She followed with Moon Pix (1998) and The Covers Record (2000), receiving notice for her spare, intense originals and radically stripped down takes on folk songs and familiar songs. You Are Free (2003) was more structured indie rock and brought Cat Power wider attention. Marshall followed it up with the one-take performance film, Speaking for Trees (2004), filmed in a forest. The Greatest (2006), in which she worked with classic R&B and gospel musicians, was her most recent collection of original songs, and her best-selling.
Marshall has been praised for her soulful vocals and raw, minimalist guitar playing. Cat Power's concert appearances were unconventional and unpredictable for many years, and critics often called her an erratic live act. Marshall faced substance abuse problems which she said affected her performances, and recently her act has been notably more polished, although her musical style has also changed significantly. Marshall has also done modelling work. She has been photographed by notable fashion photographers and in 2006 became a spokesperson for Chanel. She has appeared in three films, including Wong Kar-Wai's My Blueberry Nights (2007).