GRAMMY-nominated country singer/songwriter Tift Merritt recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's Spotlight series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Merritt discussed why she enjoys performing live, her songwriting process and her Texas Public Radio show, "The Spark With Tift Merritt." Merritt also performed a brief set featuring two tracks from her 2012 solo album Traveling Alone, "Marks" and the title track.
"[It's] a great excuse to immerse myself in someone else's work," said Merritt regarding her radio program. "And I think it's really, really important when you have the privilege of having a microphone and a spotlight that you use that well. I think it's really important to turn your gaze outward."
A Houston native, Merritt released her debut solo album, Bramble Rose, in 2002. Her sophomore effort, 2004's Tambourine, peaked at No. 21 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart and garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Album at the 47th GRAMMY Awards. Merritt followed with 2008's Another Country and 2010's See You On The Moon, which peaked at No. 1 and No. 6 on the Top Heatseekers chart, respectively.
Produced by GRAMMY-nominated engineer Tucker Martine, Traveling Alone peaked at No. 10 on the Top Heatseakers chart, featuring 11 tracks written by Merritt, including the title track. In March Merritt released Night, a collaboration with classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein featuring 14 tracks, including four original songs written by Merritt.
Launched in 2008, "The Spark With Tift Merritt" is a monthly program during which Merritt conducts one-on-one interviews with artists such as GRAMMY winners Rosanne Cash, Patty Griffin and Emmylou Harris, among others.
Merritt is currently in the midst of an international tour, with dates scheduled through December.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Songwriters Hall Of Fame: Songwriters-In-The-Round (Oct. 22) and Reel To Reel: Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' (Oct. 30).