Cat Power’s upcoming album Wanderer, her first album since 2012’s Sun, is coming out on Domino Records. That makes it her first album in 22 years to not be released on Matador. And in a new interview with The New York Times, Chan Marshall talks candidly about the break with what she calls her “ex-label.”
Marshall says that Matador rejected Wanderer. “They said, do it again, do it over,” she explains. When she was working on the electronically-tinged Sun, she says, “It was like, ‘We need hits!’ And I did it — I got Top 10. I did the best I could to give them hits.” But with Wanderer, she didn’t want to make another Sun.
“Looking back, I know they were using me,” Marshall says, recalling a Matador executive playing an Adele album and telling her that that’s how a record is supposed to sound. “I understood that I was a product, and I always thought I was a person.”
“I had to fight a lot for little stupid things,” she adds, “But I just thought, ‘That’s what I do.’ Pavement’s going to the Bahamas or something with the label, Interpol is going to St. Lucia or wherever with the label. I remember yelling: ‘Can you take me out to dinner? I’d love to go to a fancy place!'”
Wanderer is also the first album that Marshall has made with a manager: Andy Slater, the former president of Capitol Records. “He’s taught me that I have a lot to be proud of,” Marshall says. “It’s not pretentious that I’m an artist. It’s not corny to sing songs that maybe other people think are depressing. It’s not embarrassing.”
Speaking to The New York Times, Slater calls Marshall “a true artist” and says that “We’re not getting any kind of showbiz artifice ever.” He confirms that Matador told him Wanderer was “not good enough, not strong enough to put out.”
After refusing to rerecord the album and splitting from Matador, Marshall says that she didn’t change any of the music. She did, however, add one track: “Woman,” the lead single featuring Lana Del Rey. “If I had a dime for every time/ You tell me I’m not what you need/ If I had a quarter I would pull it together/ And I would take it to the bank and then leave,” she sings.
“Chan Marshall is without question one of the most talented, brilliant artists we’ve been fortunate to know,” a representative for Matador says in a statement to The New York Times. “Our working relationship with Chan has not been without difficult moments. We’ve had disagreements over matters both artistic and business, but none of that changes our respect for her as a person or performer.”