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After briefly losing the ability to sing, Natalie Merchant's voice shines anew

Natalie Merchant
Shervin Lainez
/
Courtesy of the artist
Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant's new album is something that easily could've not happened.

A few years ago, she underwent spinal cord surgery, and in the aftermath, Merchant briefly lost her ability to sing. She says that, at the time, she was content finding something else to do. After all, she was busy with parenting, teaching and advocacy work. But a chance connection with another writer, a poet named Robin Robertson, helped put Merchant's new album in motion.

Keep Your Courage revolves around love in all its forms. It's a stunning record, and her voice sounds as great as ever. In this session, Merchant talks about her songwriting technique, and she also talks about her life outside of music making, including serving on the board of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Stephen Kallao
Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.