When you get to work directly with Natalie Merchant you quickly realize how deserved her fame truly is. With equal parts hard work, creative inspiration and tasteful, thoughtful consideration, Natalie’s own hand touches everything that bears her name. The singer/songwriter fronted the seminal alt-rock band 10,000 Maniacs before breaking off on her own in 1993 to begin an illustrious solo career that is still going strong. She writes and records music with a broad range of arrangements, from four-piece band to full orchestra. She collaborated on an illustrated children’s book with Barbara McClintock based on Leave Your Sleep, her double-album of classic children’s poetry adapted to music. She also regularly supports the needs of cause based organizations by producing concerts and films like Dear Governor Cuomo which raised awareness of the dangers of natural gas hydraulic fracturing and Shelter to raise awareness and support for victims of domestic violence. We’re proud to have worked with Natalie on all of these projects by providing her with support in web development, video post-production, and project management.
We first met Natalie in 2007 when she was looking for a team to build a more modern version of her nataliemerchant.com website. She wanted an official home for more than two decades of her work. We all wanted Natalie and her team to have the ability to edit the content of the site directly when announcing tour dates or new projects. Wordpress was not yet a shadow of what it is today and other off-the-shelf CMS solutions couldn’t provide support for the type of creative front-end that Natalie and our design team planned to create. Fortunately, we create websites made of software at Moonfarmer, so together we set off to build both a beautiful front-end UI and a completely custom Ruby on Rails content management system to support it.
Natalie took her signature hands-on approach, participating in what is, to this day, one of the best creative client collaborations in the history of Moonfarmer. Together we delivered an unprecedented anthology of Natalie’s work and made it available for free online. We supported the audio and video delivery originally with a Limelight CDN integration until Vimeo came around and we moved the entire library of videos to their trusted servers. The site’s user interface (designed by Natalie) is intuitive and pleasing to the eye with a delicate yet deliberate sense of design. While the main purpose of the site is to showcase Natalie’s work, it also contains a news section, an events calendar, mailing list and contact page that all seamlessly blends into the overall presentation. The system is still backed by the same custom RoR CMS that we delivered in 2008.
We’re proud of our continued relationship with Natalie and her team, and we look forward to every project that she produces whether she’s fighting for water and women’s rights, entertaining children and families or releasing another platinum record.