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INTERVIEW: Natasha England

Hi Natasha, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Somehow”?

Hi, I’m great thanks! Of course, I am more than happy to answer all these questions and thank you for this opportunity for me to give you a better insight into me and my music….

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Unfortunately, this song was inspired by my own, friends and other’s experiences. Many people find themselves in this sad and sometimes frightening situation, trapped in a previously loving relationship that for any one of a myriad of reasons has turned bad and it is realisation that the person that is causing the problem and the pain is never going to change, you must change and leave.  It is a sad but liberating song and I would love it if this song was to inspire any one person to break away from any situation or person that causes them pain.

Love really does mean Love… not pain… ‘Somehow’, whatever it takes you can and will overcome this bad experience and you will break free and by doing so you will become much stronger. You can find yourself again and be free to express yourself without fear of reprisals. It is better to be in no relationship than to be in a bad or dysfunctional one, nothing good will come from being in a controlling or abusive relationship. If there are children involved, then think of these children and do whatever it takes to get them and yourself away from this situation. If you need help, there are lots of agencies and charities that can and will help. Only by leaving can you have the space and opportunity to rediscover yourself again, love yourself and live your life, free to express yourself and find real love.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I did previously do a full video for ‘Somehow’ but unfortunately the company that did this video completely screwed up the complete shoot and footage and I got no useable footage from this shoot. It was a real shame because it should have been a great video. An expensive exercise that left me with no video, out of pocket and out of time. I had to have something quickly, so I had a lyric video done of the single ‘Somehow’… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvTCVAG4pFA

I actually like this lyric video as it really gets the song and the words and emotion of the song across. There is also a lyric video for ‘Hook  Line & Sinker’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYeuo4FfHS0

How was the recording and writing process?

I have written so many songs over the years and I have included some of these on the album along with more recent ones, ‘Hook Line & Sinker’ was written whilst I was in the studio recording the album. Tom Newman played me few notes of an Ude earlier in the day at his home before I went into the studio that day and it was this instrument and sound along with my memories of a trip to Morocco and Marrakech that inspired me to write this song.

This song was written within an hour and recording started soon after. Steve Fearnley the engineer and co-producer is the male voice on it, and he did a fantastic job. We bounced off each other and it all came together very quickly. I also wrote a video storyboard as I wrote this song, both song and visuals came together at the same time.

I am very lucky that I can get inspired  by an emotion, sound, note, chord or sound along with an event, situation or a moment of reflection and immediately I start to write, it is all very spontaneous and I hold that thought until the record button is pressed and that is when it all starts to make sense. Once inspired, it is the first place I go to that is the most honest place and it is the essence of the song. I rarely change anything. It is the first time I sing the melody. play a note and record that captures the true emotion. I play everything badly but enough to write and once I am in the studio, I want to recreate the vibe and mood of that first demo recording and put the final touches to the picture I am painting. I had some wonderful musicians on the album and I had fun working with them and they have all helped enhance the music.

I recorded the album and single in the grounds of Narrow Water Castle in Warrenpoint N. Ireland. I loved working with my old producer, Tom Newman again and Steve Fearnley at Narrow Water Studios and I finished some of the mixes in the Isle of White where Tom now lives. Tom and Steve co-produced the album. It was a good mix of kindred spirits and we were all on the same page and had a great time working and recording together. I had complete freedom of expression during the whole recording process, from the start through to the mixes and mastering.

I would spend 10 days to 2 weeks there at a time and I stayed with Tom Newman in another old courtyard adjoining the castle. Tom’s place was big and very old but full of character and a little damp and it could be very cold in the winter. Fortunately, there was an open fire and every day I would collect wood on my walk to the studio and around the grounds so as I could make a roaring fire when I got back to Tom’s. Despite the cold it was a wonderful experience with Toms place a few steps through an arch in the wall off the courtyard adjoining the castle. Although it was a very beautiful location in the snow, having spent one winter there I tried to avoid the winter months and go there in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. The owner of the castle, Marcus was a real character, he still worked the land himself and had prize cattle and had won several awards for having the best pastures and grass. Marcus was very down to earth which was very refreshing for someone who owned a castle and extensive grounds.  The castle and grounds were stunning and I often walked the mile or so through the grounds past the fields to the other old Courtyard where the studios were housed. It was quite a magical location overlooking Carlingford Loch and only a 15/ 20 minute walk to Warrenpoint and the harbour. I made several trips flying back and forth to Ireland and I got to know and love this beautiful area. Unfortunately, I did not have as much time to spend exploring this area as I would have liked as I was in the studio most days, all day until late but when I did have time off, I loved to get out and explore the surrounding area.

What role does Glasgow play in your music?

I was born in Calderpark Zoo, Mount Vernon, Glasgow.  My mother gave birth in the ambulance on the Zoo side of a shared access road to the maternity home, so technically I was born in the Zoo.

I am very happy that I was born so close to the zoo as I am passionate about nature and all animals. I was a very active tomboy who was forever finding and saving injured animals and birds. I had a wonderful childhood surrounded by animals, nature and music. Most of my childhood was spent 11 miles outside of Glasgow close to the Clyde Valley in Lanarkshire, I lived walking distance from Hamilton Racecourse and there were lots of countryside around in which to explore and play.

I was spoilt for choice with music when I was growing up, the Scots love to sing and play music and with all the great music being played on the radio. The Classic Rock, Soul, Tamla, Folk, Jazz and my favourite, ‘the Blues’. The music and artists that inspired me growing up are the artists that now fill the Music Hall of Fame. It was one of the best periods of music and there was something for everyone and I loved all the artists and genres equally. There were so many artists that inspired me from so many genres.

Apart from being incredible active and involved in all sports I grew up listening and playing music, it was all around me from my early childhood, Robert Burns and Scottish tunes through every genre of music. I sang in the church and school choirs and if there was a get together, wedding, celebrations or party everyone had to do their turn and sing. Even at Halloween we were all expected to sing, dance or both for any treats. I sang in a folk group and I sang in a blues band at 14 before I came to London to follow a career in music. I have since sang rock, jazz, soul, blues and funk and most other genres. I would say my roots are blues although I am extremely eclectic in my love of music, as long as the music moves or touches me in some way. Music can inspire you to dance, smile, cry, think, reflect… and it is either good or bad regardless of genre.

I keep a very open mind when it comes to music and the electronic experimental album I did with Robert Logan ‘Deeper into Reality’ is a perfect example of combining different genres and talents. Robert had always been an instrumentalist before collaborating with me. It was a meeting of minds and talents and we just channeled this and everything we recorded was written and recorded simultaneously. This album got great reviews and I am very proud of it, I would love to work with Robert Logan again. The Scots love to sing or listen to music and there is a lot of soul and blues in Scottish voices , years of  laments – it is inherent.

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time in Glasgow and Edinburgh going to clubs and venues to see various bands, I was technically too young to get in these venues, but I could make myself up to look older so as I would get in. I actually sang some jazz and blues at different venues when I was way too young to be there in the first place.

How did time serve as an advantage for you?

I have spent many years living, travelling and experiencing life whilst making music and all the time learning more about life and what really matters to all of us, love and companionship is the most important component to happiness in life and it is what we all crave, but so is freedom to express yourself and be who you truly are. Relationships can be a minefield of emotions, amazing highs and painful lows. The album is all about the highs and lows in relationships and I and so many others have lived these songs.  It is still better ‘to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all’ but you must understand that love does really mean love. You have to be honest with yourself, don’t settle for anything less, you will find love again and true love will not hurt you, only inspire you….

To love someone, you have to respect them and they in turn have to respect you. If they cause you pain and/or are abusive they obviously have no respect for you and how can you love someone that has no respect for you, it is an impossible task and where there is no love there is only fear. It is hard for some to leave the person who they have loved and still love but there is always a solution to every problem. In my songs I tell it how it is, good and bad, love is worth fighting for but not worth fighting. Sometimes you have to break away. I hope that I can inspire other’s to be honest with themselves and change anything in their life that causes them pain or prevents them being free to be themselves.

Did you feel any pressure while working on this new material?

No, I love writing new material, it is about being in the zone and losing yourself in the music.  My songs are the vehicle for me to express my feelings and emotions and I find it quite cathartic to put this music down and record. I had so many songs to choose from and yet I still wrote a couple of songs whilst in the studio, Hook Line & Sinker which is on the album and Wake Up and two of a Kind on the album. I love writing and recording new songs and it is so rewarding when you do get the chance to go into the studio and record this for real and you achieve your aim and have retained and captured the essence and mood of the original thought and demo whilst having the chance to add and enhance the song to its full potential. I have so many songs written over these years as I’m continuing to write, I am not sure if I will ever catch up with recording all of my songs but I’ll try and do as many as possible.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?

When I collaborate, I don’t plan anything in advance, and I don’t open my mouth or play a note until the record button has been pressed. I go with a blank page. We just start and the music, melodies and words just come, and we follow each other, it is all very natural. I get in the zone and I know what I am doing when I am writing spontaneously, and I get lost in the music and the moment and when I play it back it all seems to make sense and I very rarely change any melody or words. The reason that I don’t sing until the record button is on is because there have been times in the past when I am working with someone and we start to write and arrange the song there and then, and it is working great. When we are finish, we both know that we have done something special. I have been very lucky with the musicians that I have collaborated with and I have had a great rapport and connection with all of them. When it works, it is like we are in each other’s heads and we can read each other’s minds and moves. Although I write mostly on my own, I do love to collaborate. It is the true passion of music that inspires and creates whether alone or with other musicians.

Tell us about your latest album –

The album is now finished and out with a great response, I really appreciate the support of all the reviewers and feedback. I have so many more songs that I have written and will write that I would love to record as soon as it is feasible. If money was no object, I would be in the studio now putting these tracks down and getting them out. I will never stop making music, playing and recording it and getting it out there. This music is a large part of who I and I am free to express the feelings and emotions that touch all of us. I am passionate about music and I would be a very sad if music was not in my life.  Music inspires us to do many things, reflect, think, dance, cry, empower, confront. One of the most important and influential mediums in the world, crossing all language barriers. Love and Music can conquer all and help us all to find a peace and harmony.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, I am rehearsing with the band at the moment and I hope to go on the road as soon as I can. Playing live is what I love most of all, there is the band and the audience and no bullshit in between. It is the best feeling in the world to be on stage performing and to have the audience loving every moment.

What else is happening next in Natasha England’s world?

Staying fit and healthy and working on getting out there and performing live, continue to write and record and do whatever I can to get the airplay I need to get my music heard and through my music, hopefully I can inspire others to rise above adversity and break the chains that bind them and to keep going and follow their dreams and be happy.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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