Her musical inspirations span decades and she has the ability to seamlessly jump from genre to genre. I talked to Natále to learn about her upcoming EP release, world travels, and even how she found a school bus to convert into a home.
Music to me is spirit, it’s heartbeat. Music leads me, you know?
The path to the release of Natále’s newest Giving All to You—which drops in less than a week of this writing—is the culmination of what she has been working on in the last year or so. The beginning of the EP’s creation came by way of a single, “Fallin’ in Love Again,” in April 2019. The song took shape while Natále was recording in Prague, Czech Republic. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to complete the entire song while there.
“We recorded most of the song in Prague with such incredible musicians,” Natále said. “But I was so sick that we couldn’t use any of my vocal takes, except for some backing vocals. [We] re-recorded the main vocals in Maine months later while [also] recording the other three tracks on the EP.”
It was at that point where she felt the songs, though recorded in two different locations, complemented each other and together told the story of her journey—one that started in Pennsylvania.
Experiences Local and Abroad
Natále’s passion for human connection is undoubtedly shaped by her passion for globetrotting. Her story began in a diverse suburban neighborhood outside of Philadelphia where she said becoming a performer was something that she dreamed about since she was very young.
“I always loved to express myself, not necessarily realizing I was a songwriter or a singer,” she said. “It never dawned on me that it was a possibility, I just always did it. One of my first words was ‘microphone.’ I would use hairbrushes, TV remotes, anything that resembled a mic and run to my ‘stage’ (a plastic blue Fisher-Price toy box lid), and my parents would sit in front as my audience calling out my stage name and cheering me on.”
After graduating at 17, Natále, who also speaks Hebrew, moved to Tel Aviv for seven years. There she became friends with people from across the world; Costa Rica, South Africa, Turkey, and Eritrea are only a few of the countries where she has relations. Meeting people from so many different areas bolstered her interest in human connection. “I’m constantly changing and moving and learning, and I’ve found music to be the greater connector between worlds,” she said. These experiences have helped propel her to where she is now, as she awaits the release of her latest EP.
Working on the EP
The majority of the four-track mini-album, produced by Nic Coolidge and mastered by Adam Ayan, was recorded in a makeshift bedroom studio in an 1800s-era house on the coast of Maine with musicians Michael O’Hehir, and Brian Graham and Phil Rodriguez of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. The aforementioned “Fallin’ In Love Again” is the sole song recorded at Studio Faust in Prague with musicians Roman Vicha and Kuba Vejnar. A development that was completed throughout the course of about nine months or so. “It’s been a long process, like any growing thing,” she said.
Prior to “Day to Night,” Natále was working on a folk/rock album, but something within her asked her to explore her more soulful style before trying the other genres. From Stevie Wonder to Aretha Franklin, to being played Sade while still in her mother’s womb—Natále said she subconsciously drew inspiration in them all for Giving All to You. A lot of the inspiration for the EP was drawn from different areas of her life, but she said she specifically wanted to dedicate these songs to the artists she grew up listening to in Philadelphia that inspired her to sing in the first place.
“I feel after living in New England for years, I was missing that Brotherly Love vibe,” she said. “Although I was in the process of working on a completely different album at that time, these songs wanted to come out first. Like ‘hey, you gotta pay tribute to your Philly roots.’”
Rolling Out the Project
Last year, Natále dropped “Day to Night” and “Baby, It’s Alright” as singles, but the way she released those songs was not how she wanted to roll out Giving All to You. Rather than putting out individual singles, she wanted the release of the EP to be a memorable piece of work that she can look at as a chapter of her life.
“I’m happy I did it that way because I really wanted to have a physical copy I could hand out and write on, as I love giving people my music,” she said. “’Baby, It’s Alright’ is the first song on this mini-album and sort of sets the tone for the rest. The documentation of my reacquaintance with myself and God, if you will. Essentially this project is a conversational book of love letters to my highest self.“
More about the EP
I had a chance to listen to the EP and I can say that Natále’s has put forth a solid four-track project. My favorite song on Giving All to You is “It’s You,” which she talks about below. Drawing on sounds that remind me of something you’d hear from Brittany Howard and the Alabama Shakes.
The EP takes you on a musical rollercoaster with uptempo and slower tracks showing Natále’s range and—when juxtaposed to her previous releases—her genre-defying abilities. In her own words, Natále describes some of the tracks on the EP:
I woke up from a dream where I was watching someone who looked like me singing this song on stage and I remember being in the audience thinking “I love this song” and so I woke myself up out of the dream and grabbed my voice recorder, groggily mumbling some sort of rendition of this song as to not forget it in the morning. I have the original recording of this – it’s hilarious.
The song evolved over time, and I understood that it was a conversation. It was like the girl on the dream stage was future me, sending me the song to see if I’d catch it. In a sense, we have created the illusion of boundaries between being human and spirit. This idea that we possess the power if we give ourselves the opportunity to believe it is so is essentially what the song is about.
“Keep Me Hangin’ On”
I wrote this song in October 2019, in my grandmother’s apartment in Israel, where I was staying to finally relax after non-stop working and traveling. I had just finished directing/producing the “Day to Night” music video and recording in Prague. I was completely drained. I lost my voice, got sick, had little money, and was beginning to lose hope.
I couldn’t sleep that night, it was about 2 or 3 am and the full moon was shining brightly over the city. The song poured out as a prayer to God in a lower moment in my life, flowing like a mantra as I searched for the strength to keep believing.
The song eventually developed into a motivational anthem, as you hear in the uplifting children’s choir during the song’s outro. In March I had set up a recording date with children from Breakwater Learning School in Maine, which quickly halted during the shutdown. So I sent out an instructional video to different children’s parents quarantining in various regions to have their kids sing along, and we compiled those voices, layering them as if they were all together singing in unison.
The overall theme of “Keep Me Hangin’ On” is about the inspiration that comes with perseverance, and the desire to alchemize pain into beauty no matter the tribulations. It’s a prayer for strength, an ode to believing (which seems to be one of the most difficult things to do sometimes), and a reminder that we all need each other to keep on going strong.
Big Mama Bird
Natále currently resides in a 40-foot-long school that she bought when the shutdowns started in March. She said she’s had the idea to live on a school bus for years and couldn’t pass up an opportunity to do it.
“Now we have a 40 ft school bus, ‘Big Mama Bird,’” she said. “She’s a Blue Bird, and my last name means Birdie in Hebrew, so it seems only fitting. We’ve been pulling out seats and ripping her apart to build out a small recording studio and home. I’ve been building cabinets and learning the mechanics, and we’re planning to build a stage up top on her roof, next to the solar panels. It’s been a lot of work, a lot of frustrations, but ultimately I feel like if we ever need a bus to go on tour, I’ve got one.”