Catherine Tift Merritt (born January 8, 1975, in Houston, Texas, but moved to Raleigh, North Carolina soon after) is a critically acclaimed American singer-songwriter, musician. She is currently based in New York. Merritt's father taught her guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. She began her professional career in 1998 with her band The Carbines playing small clubs. In her early twenties, though Tift had gigged by herself, she decided she was not very good at music and better suited for writing short stories.