Cat Power Says She Left Matador Because They Wanted Her New Album to Sound Like Adele
Cat Power’s new album Wanderer is out this October on Domino Records. Her first album since 2012’s Sun, the release marks songwriter Chan Marshall departure from Matador Records, who’ve released every studio album from the musician since What Would the Community Think in 1996. In a new interview with the New York Times, Marshall says that her new album was actually rejected by Matador, who said it was “not good enough, not strong enough to put out.”
“They said, do it again, do it over,” she told the interviewer. While working on Sun, she says she received the same direction from the label. “It was like, ‘We need hits!'” she continued. “And I did it—I got Top 10. I did the best I could to give them hits.”
Marshall says that the label wanted her to leave behind the electronic sounds of Sun in an attempt to sound more like Adele. “Looking back, I know they were using me,” she says. “I understood that I was a product, and I always thought I was a person.” She mentions a Matador executive playing an Adele album in the studio, saying that that was how a record was supposed to sound.
In addition to being her first with Domino, Wanderer is also the first album that Marshall has produced with her current manager, Andy Slater, formerly of Capitol Records. “He’s taught me that I have a lot to be proud of,” Marshall said. “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.”
Slater echoed Marshall’s statements about Matador, saying that the label told him Wanderer wasn’t good enough to release. He also called her a “true artist,” adding that “We’re not getting any kind of showbiz artifice ever.”
In the midst of this fallout with Matador, Marshall says that she didn’t change any of the music. She did, however, eventually add one more song titled “Woman” and featuring Lana Del Rey. Asked if the song was a send-up to her former label Matador, she replied “Thank you for asking, but no comment.”
Matador appear understandably reluctant to discuss the end of their relationship with the songwriter. In a statement shared with the Times, a representative said: “Chan Marshall is without question one of the most talented, brilliant artists we’ve been fortunate to know. 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.”
Read the New York Times’ full interview here.