Marissa Nadler (born April 5, 1981) is an American dream-folk , indie rock musician, and fine artist based in Boston. She grew up in a small town in Massachusetts and studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design, where she became interested in music more seriously, while exploring old artistic techniques such as woodcarving and encaustic painting.
Nadler writes strange, yet classic, melancholy songs. Her voice (often bathed in a wash of reverb) is what people immediately respond to in her music, described by the popular online music website Pitchfork as "a voice you would follow straight into Hades." She is known for her dreamy, atmospheric music, that although rooted in some folk traditions, manages to stay modern through use of electronics and effects.
Many describe Nadler's songs as having American Gothic leanings; her stories often take place in an imagined, idealistic time with a cast of characters of her own creation. Yet, in recent years, it has emerged that the characters are less make believe than listeners thought and are based on real people, and their real lives. Her links to American Gothic are reinforced by "Annabelle Lee", the last song on her debut album, Ballads of Living and Dying, which puts the poem of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe to a musical backing. Singing in a haunting mezzo-soprano, the foundation of her songs are her delicate acoustic guitar, often accompanied by variety of instruments, ranging from organ to theremin to electric guitar.
Marissa Nadler released her first album, Ballads of Living and Dying, on Eclipse Records in 2004.