Sunday, February 14, 2021

In Conversation with Natalie Grace and 'Go for Gold' Single Review.

‘Go for Gold’ is the newest single release from the 22-year-old, singer-songwriter Natalie Grace who whilst finding time to write music, is also in the midst of finishing her popular music performance degree at the BIMM Institute in London. 

The single, which was released on the 19th of January, had soon gained popularity after it had been streamed by over 1,100 listeners on Spotify in less than 24 hours. 
Natalie writes about her personal experiences of rejection as a budding artist and the opportunities which have sadly been lost, but what could make the rejection worse? - knowing that it has been achieved by someone closer to you, a best friend. This highlights the complexities of being emotionally torn between, feeling proud of your friend’s success and feeling envious.  

The honesty in the writing draws you in like an open diary. Natalie is ambitious and driven which is expressed through sporting references , ‘Every time we go for gold, you get the money, my medal is sold’, ‘I’ve had my last chance for a victory dance at the finish line, you’ve finished your run and had all your fun, now let me finish mine’. With what is considered to be her proudest release to date, the song radiates true strength and resilience. 
The vocals have a Pixie Lott-esque style which play over an electronic sound. Natalie has an incredible singing voice and after scrolling through her official Facebook page, I came across her cover of ‘Ivy’ by Mabel, if you want to see just how amazing she can sing, I suggest you check it out. I promise you won’t regret it...

Q- So, you’re currently studying in London, is that where you are from? 

I’m originally from London. I was born and brought up in North West London Harrow kind of area. I’m in my third year of my popular music performance degree. I’m on the vocals strain, so basically within that degree you have guitars, bass, drums, vocals and now keyboard, which was recently added. We have a different instrumentalist in our live performance classes, so we can play as a full band which is really nice, well, not so much at the moment obviously because, you know, we’ve got a bit of an issue going on with the world which really sucks but they have been the best years of my life, hands down. 

Q- Are you in a band or are you a solo artist? 

I am a solo artist in my own right but I do have a band that plays with me for gigs. We have eight members in the band but because I am so extra, I need three backing vocalists. We got together at the beginning of my second year at university and we were doing quite well, we had one or two gigs every month, my new year’s resolution last year, which I never normally set for myself, was to release my first single-which I did and it went really well, but my other resolution was to play a gig every month of the year. January and February were great and just before we were due to play at the O2 Academy Islington in March, that’s when it hit (lockdown). We were booked up until May-time but had to cancel. 

Q- What genre of music do you enjoy the most? 

R&B but more old school R&B, 80s soul music too which is what I was brought up with because my parents always listened to Heart, Smooth and Magic (Radio) on the way to school in the car. It’s what I grew up on and it’s what I still love to this day. 

Q- When did you find out that you had a musical ability? 

I first realised I could sing when I was about eight-years-old. I was doing a talent show with some friends at school, we just did it for fun but I never thought of it as something I could do, it didn’t register (to me) that I could sing an eighth note Mariah Carey riff at the age of eight. We would be practicing in the playground and people would tell me that I had a good singing voice and it triggered something in me. For the talent show, we performed Girls Aloud ‘Sound of The Underground’ and then two years later we did The Saturdays ‘Up’ which I have footage of and many photos. We were wearing different coloured accessories, matching beaded necklaces and headbands. We looked great… the choreography was on point too. I guess, those experiences made me realise how much I love singing. 

Q-Which artists are you currently listening to? 

The person I look up to and who I’m inspired by is Demi Lovato, I actually have her lyrics tattooed on me. I’m next level obsessed with her; she IS my person. I have always loved JoJo, I still have her first album from when she was 13-years-old which had ‘Leave (Get Out)’, ‘Baby It’s You’ and ‘Too Little Too Late’ -those were my favourite songs by her. If I’m ever playing a covers gig, there will always be a JoJo song, in fact, a few years ago, I came across a live performance video of JoJo, and I thought to myself just how good she is. She (JoJo) is incredible, her range is insane. 

Now I listen to more of her current stuff like December Baby which is very R&B and that’s why I love it because she still has that early 2000’s / late-90s R&B vibe about her. Another person I got into a few months ago was Joy Crooks. I love that she is old school R&B but also has some jazz influence, which I love because it adds something different. She has this sound, like Amy Winehouse.  She will come out with this R&B song but then adds some really jazzy chords to it which is something I would like to implement in my music as well, saying that, the single I’m about to come out with ‘Go for Gold’ is a direct half and half collaboration between me and my ex-boyfriend who is an EDM-type producer so he did all the music side of things. 

Q- Wow, how did that come about? 

When we were together last summer, he played me a bit of something that he’d started working on and then asked me if I could write something to go over it, so I took his phone that had the music file on it and I pulled out some lyrics that I had already written and started singing over it, five minutes later I came in and was like: “there you go” and then we made it in to a song.

Q- What is the single ‘Go for Gold’ about? 

At the time when I wrote the lyrics, me and my friend were going for a lot of the same opportunities because we are both very driven and very motivated but she would always be successful. She is one of my closest friends. I thought there’s nothing that can be done about it and for the sake of my own therapy; I wrote a song about it.  I was sitting on the lyrics for a couple of months before me and my ex started putting it together and I remember when I wrote it because sometimes, I’ll read my lyrics back and think: “Why did I write this? It’s crap.” but with this one I was really happy and I liked that I’d kept the metaphors with the sporting theme going throughout the whole song because normally I’ll throw in a metaphor here and there, but I like that I kept it consistent. It’s something I’ve not done before or consciously anyway. The song is more of a pop song than it is R&B; you can’t really riff all over the place on an electronic. I think it’s turned out really well and I’m very excited for it to be released.

Q- When you said about keeping the metaphors consistent do you think you will carry that on when you next write music or do you see it as experimental? 

It’s definitely something I’m going to try and do again. I haven’t written anything for a couple of weeks because there’s nothing going on in life. I have no influence from what is going on around me and we can’t go anywhere or do anything, so, life is boring as hell. The only thing going on in my head is Uni stress or stress about Coronavirus-and I’m not about to write a song about that. I came back to my Uni house after spending Christmas with my parents, as much as I love being with them, it’s so nice to just come back to a place where there isn’t a TV or a radio on whilst hearing the sound of Boris Johnson‘s voice coming from somewhere in the house. I have come back to a nice little bit of blissful ignorance whilst I finish my degree. 

Q- Are you an artist who writes about events in their life? 

Yeah, as soon as I feel something, I’ll write about it because there is no better time to do so.  If I feel something and then a week later, I don’t feel like that anymore, if I try and write a song about that particular time, it will never come out as good because I’m over that feeling. It’s very much like a form of therapy for me. When I’m feeling stressed about something or I’m overthinking something… or I feel sad, I don’t tend to write that much about being happy because I’m living in the happiness so I don’t take the time to write about it, it’s like, how I don’t want to sit and take photographs when I’m happy.  I’ve written a few happy ones here and there, like love songs but they never come out as good or satisfy me enough when I read them back. I write a lot about mental health because that is something that is very close to me. People close to me have dealt with or are struggling with it (mental health issues). I have a subfolder that is just lyrics about mental health. I also write a lot about relationships. 

Q- You did a really good cover of 'Ivy' by Mabel, why had you chosen to cover that song? 

She came and did a masterclass at Under the Bridge (London) for us, which was really cool. I knew some of her big songs that she had done, like all the chart ones where she has collaborated with other people but I hadn’t heard any of her solo stuff. I resonated with her as a person quite a lot because she’s a London girl, you can tell she’s from West London… so my kind of area, she is very down to earth. She kind of reminded me of myself even the way she talked about things at school and her accent. I didn’t know anything about her but after the masterclass I went on Spotify and found her album ‘Ivy to Roses’, I listened to the whole thing and I thought it was really good. I prefer that (Ivy to Roses) album rather than when she has collaborated with other people, it’s the R&B style that I really like.  

You can listen to ‘Go for Gold’ on Spotify and follow Natalie Grace on Facebook and Instagram for updates and more. 

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