Rising soul-pop artist Natalie Clark gave up her teaching career in Scotland to move to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of writing and playing music. Her sophomore EP, Head North, documents this journey from the highs to lows and everything in between.
I got the chance to talk with Natalie about her musical influences, what inspired her latest single from the EP, “Grown Ass Woman”, what she’s currently nerding out about and more! Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
Since I was wee, I’ve always loved singing, but it took me a few more years to get into writing songs. Once I caught the writing bug, I started getting excited about performing my own songs rather than just cover songs. There’s something so lovely about the experience of sharing your own songs and feeling that they’re resonating with people in some way.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
I always had the dream deep down, but didn’t have the courage to think of it as an actual career possibility. It was actually my big brother Stephen who had always encouraged me to go for it. He’d been saying for years to just do it, but finally there was a moment where he said it and I just knew in my heart I had to face my fears and at least give it a proper shot.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. Your sound would typically be classified as pop, but if you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I would probably say it’s hopeful, positive music from the heart. My songs, even the ones that are about the lows of my journey so far, they still have a hopeful thread in there! I would love to think that the songs could be helpful, uplifting and empowering to people!
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
I grew up with parents who loved all kinds of music, from jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald, to Motown, to The Beatles, to ABBA… a diverse mix of amazing, timeless music!
Let’s talk about your sophomore EP, Head North. Why did you want to name the project this?
For a few years, I’ve had a saying, ‘if in doubt, just head to the North!’ It’s like my own wee equivalent of Dory from Finding Nemo saying ‘just keep swimming’! Really, it’s just the idea of keeping going, not giving up! My hope is that listeners can feel empowered to pursue their dream, their path, their True North. It doesn’t always go swimmingly and there will be challenges along the way, but it’s always worth it.
What was the recording process like for this project? How long did it take for this to come together from start to finish?
The five songs were all written along my journey from being a school teacher in Scotland to moving to America to pursue my dream of music, so it’s taken me a few years to finally get them all recorded and ready to put out there. Some of the songs I had started recording a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t until this last year that all the pieces finally came together and I focused on completing the record!
Your latest single is “Grown Ass Woman”. What’s the story behind this song?
The song is about the costly reality of pursuing your dreams. I had just moved from Scotland to LA and couldn’t afford rent, so I was cat-sitting. I was longing to have that stable, ‘normal’ life with financial security as I’d had with a steady job in Scotland. But you have to make sacrifices when you take a leap of faith like that! It’s not always easy but it’s really worth it! My hope is that people can watch the video and listen to the song and feel empowered to keep going on their journey (while having fun along the way)!
Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Grown Ass Woman” or did it just come about organically once you were in the session?
It usually comes out of the feeling at that moment. With “Grown Ass Woman”, I wanted to buy pair of boots and a friend had reality checked me at the time as she knew I couldn’t afford them. I literally said out loud, “I’m a Grown Ass Woman and I can’t buy myself a pair of boots”. So I just picked up the guitar and started writing the song and having fun with it! It just started flowing out of that real emotion I was experiencing at the time! I wrote the chorus and then over the course of a few days, I would piece together the verses with voice memos, like when I was driving, etc.
I always love hearing about the songwriting process so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into what it was like specifically for this song.
See above! Most of my songs have been written that way too! First the feeling, the picking up the guitar or sitting at the piano and fleshing things out.
Were there any major changes made to “Grown Ass Woman” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
The song itself, lyrically and melodically, has stayed the same since I wrote it but the production has developed. I actually started recording it a couple of years ago and worked with incredible producers Jan Fairchild and Julio Tavarez. I loved it, but didn’t put it out at the time for one reason or another. Then, I revisited the song in the last year and brought it to another amazing producer, Todd Spadafore, who took Jan and Julio’s track and re-worked the rhythm section. I love how elements of all their styles came together to make the song how it now sounds! I love the energy it brings!
What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
It probably sounds quite general but I’d love to just keep expanding the reach of my music through touring not just the US but worldwide. I’ve also always had the dream of my music being used in TV and film as it’s one of the most powerful things – the alchemy when music is added to a visual and the impact that can have! This moments when you watch something and the music has such an effect on your emotions… it would be a dream come true if my music was able to add to a project like that.
Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
I have a serious obsession with empowering podcasts/shows right now, like Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory, The Rich Roll Podcast and Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness. They’re so incredible! I literally start every day with one of these to get me feeling inspired and motivated!