A seasoned songwriter, radio personality, voiceover artist and actress, Natalie Nicole has many strings to her bow, but it’s music that allows Natalie Nicole to capture the changes around her most clearly. Natalie Nicole has stepped back from radio and focused on her latest release, “Slip of the Tongue”, which brings together jazz and pop influences peppered with flirtation and honesty.
Learn more about Natalie Nicole and the latest project in the interview with Candice Grace of Crossroads Deal below:
Natalie, you worked in radio for over a decade. How did you get into the field? Did it lead you to become involved in music or vice versa?
I had always wanted to get into radio as a child, often pretending to be a DJ on my Panasonic tape recorder, and recording weekly commercials on my voicemail as soon as mother let me have my own phone line. Through a stroke of luck in spotting a part time radio position in a local newspaper, I found a back door into radio when they were pinched for weekend workers. I picked up any and all hours I could – overnights, evenings, double shifts – and quickly proved myself. In a matter of months they moved me into morning news when our morning news gal left. I was still doing news during 9/11.
Music was something I fell into a bit more casually. Mother has a master’s in music and plays professionally for events ranging from a ball at the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion or Muhammad Ali’s birthday party to more pedestrian recitals and ballet classes. I hid my piano playing from her for a while; people were always asking if I had picked up her torch and were always wanting to know if I played. I would sneak down to a church basement and play when no one was in earshot. I tinkered around, sounding out my favorite tunes or reading what sheet music I could find until I was in my teens and made songwriting a more regular hobby with the purchase of a swanky $400 keyboard. I’d been songwriting since the age of 5 or younger, keeping a lengthy catalog of poems and songs I’d written tucked away in colorful folders. My brother, too, did a lot of songwriting and recording at home, though he was more into the hard rock and metal side of things. My eldest sister also sings and took professional voice lessons, so I gleaned a little something from all of them by proxy.
Do you think being behind the curtain (so to speak) in radio informed your music?
Greatly. I learned a lot about what was radio worthy or ready for mainstream mass media and what was a little too rough around the edges. I learned much about what songs most affected listeners, also, as I was taking their calls to request songs frequently. I got tired of the over used chord progressions, lyrics and meaningless fodder for so many popular songs. I also got a first hand view of how record labels treat talent, and how exceedingly gifted artists were having to spend the larger part of their days pandering to media attention rather than doing what they loved. It’s had a heavy persuasion on my avoidance of the music machine.
“Slip of the Tongue” will be your first hardcopy CD release for a few years now. Why, in this age of iTunes and iPods, have you chosen to release this album in a physical format as well as digitally?
I’ve had radio stations request hard copy CDs for years. More and more radio stations are turning to online digital distribution hubs for their new music over CDs, but not all stations have fully made this transition. The bulk of my previous releases have been purely digital, which was great for fans, making everything easily accessible in multiple countries and saving them the trouble of ripping mp3s into their players, but it was a hang up for some of those radio stations and broadcasters.
I confess I still prefer a real CD myself; I don’t mind mp3 downloads for one or two songs from an artist, but if I really love their style, I want the full album in the track order that they released it. There’s nothing like just being able to pop that into a car stereo for full surround sound.
What can listeners expect from the new album?
This next album, whose tracklist is designed of roughly 50% previously unreleased songs and 50% favorite fan tunes, includes numerous collaborations like “Santa Monica” (with film composer Michael Gordon Shapiro), “Winter Nights” (with New Zealand artist Bryce Langston), “Slip & Say” (with New York pianist Craig Swanson), and my favorite ethereal cuts of “Breathing Hope” and “Celtic Bee,” to start. There are also fresh jazz and acoustic pieces brought to life by a collaboration with Benson Russell at Ohm Recording Studios. He’s added a lot of texture to songs like “Here Now” and “Can’t Take This Anymore.” There’s a huge amount of talent from songwriting partners I’ve gotten to know and love over the last few years, like Judith de los Santos, Dana Bisignano, and the late Taylor Andrew Weidner (Bluessunn).
For more about Natalie Nicole, see NatalieNicoleGilbert.com.
Natalie Nicole’s latest album Slip of the Tongue is available to purchase on iTunes and NNGmusic.com.