Natalie Anne Merchant (born October 26, 1963) is an American alternative rock singer-songwriter. She joined the folk rock band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981, and was lead singer and primary lyricist for the group. She remained with the group for their first five albums and left it to begin her solo career in 1993. She has since released seven studio albums. Natalie Merchant was born October 26, 1963, in Jamestown, New York, the third of four children of Anthony and Ann Merchant.