A Toronto avant garde poet/vocalist, Meryn Cadell was doing the underground Queen Street circuit as a performance artist when she released an independent cassette simply titled "Mare-In Ka-Dell" in 1988. So now everyone could pronounce her name properly, which she aparently had a bit of trouble with. She released another independant cassette titled "Talking like Crazy" in 1989.
With some extra cash she returned to the studio to begin work on what would become angel food for thought. Stuart Raven-Hill and Graham Stairs at Intrepid Records signed her based on the strength of these sessions featuring members of The Rheostatics as her band, Barenaked Ladies' Jim Creeggan and Blue Rodeo's Bob Wiseman. Intrepid released the remixed album under the label Sire/Reprise in 1991 and the first single, "The Sweater", became a radio and video hit. Her follow-ups were "Inventory" and "Barbie" but failed to live up to the potential of "The Sweater".
In 1993 she released the single and video "Courage" (featuring members of The Infidels) from her follow-up album Bombazine on Sire/Warners. The album had another all-star line-up of guest artists: John Gzowski, George Koller, Andy Stochansky, Chris Whiteley, Ben Mink (FM), Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies), Thomas Neuspiel, Tom Third, Anne Bourne (Bourne & McLeod), The Rheostatics, Kathryn Rose, and John Alcorn.
Cadell went on hiatus from the music business after her deal with Sire fell apart trying to put as much distance as possible between her and "the sweater girl." In 1995 she got involved with the PEN charity. She also began writing a one woman movie called Going Back To Find which was shelved indefinitely due to Ontario Government arts funding cutbacks.
In 1997 she released the album 6 Blocks. Some have described it as "a great musical comeback." She did some music for the film The Hanging Garden and for the CBC radio program Definitely Not The Opera. However, as of May 2001, Meryn has no plans to go on tour again. In her characteristic quirky manner, she fails to explain: "I don't know why, but it just doesn't feel like the thing to do."
Meryn is an interesting character. Just look at how she described Britney Spears cursing at the American Music Awards:
Once there was a thing called Hair. Once there was a thing called Broadway. Once there was a thing called Spinal Tap.
Well honey, all of them have come and gone, and all we have left is Miss B. Spears performing on the American Music Awards. What a cataclysmic oxymoronic anticlimactic hilarity. It was Spinal Tap TIMES TEN.
- Meryn Cadell
- Jam! Music's Canadian Music Encyclopedia