This New York City native has no fear taking her performance from underground on a NYC subway platform to some of the worlds premier stages and arenas. Natalie has performed at Lincoln Center, Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas, Carnegie Hall, Nassau Coliseum and Shea Stadium among many other venues.
Featured on the front page of the New York Times, Natalie’s soulful voice carries over multiple trains in the underground subway and her intimate songs stop even the most hurried NYC commuters in their tracks. She has been praised by songwriting legends such as Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary who stopped to listen to her perform on the subway and introduce himself.
Admiring music from a young age, Natalie’s passion and persistence led to admission into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, the acclaimed FAME school. There, she received classical voice training from coaches of the Juilliard School and the NYC Opera. After securing her second solo at Carnegie Hall, Natalie began strumming her guitar and writing lyrics, pursuing what would soon become her vitality.
Upon releasing her debut album, Natalie kicked off a rollerblading tour from Miami, FL to NYC over 1500 miles raising money for charity in concerts along the way. She bladed anywhere from 20-80 miles a day depending on the terrain and schedule and played shows at night selling the CD and donating the profits to Children International.
Her passionate voice and music is a means to articulate her response to current affairs as well as reveal parts of her inner self with the world. Inspired by music greats like Carole King and Sheryl Crow Natalie often finds herself being compared to them. When you see a live show you will realize you're in the presence of a legend in the making. Whether she is singing to 7 or 17,000 she is sure to amaze you!
Natalie has opened for and performed with: Dave Mason of Traffic, Richard Cheese and Lounge against the Machine, Ellis Paul, Jonathan Coulton, Kal David, JD Souther, Jill Sobule, Lucy Kaplansky and Javier Colon.
Sundance Film Festival - UT
Comic Con - CA
Virgin Mobile Free Fest - MD
Women's Redrock Music Festival - UT
Sailfest - CT
Northwoods Music Festival - WI
Plymouth Folk and Blues Festival - VT
South Norwalk Arts Festival - CT
Cape May Singer Songwriter - NJ
Dewey Beach Music Festival - DE
Make Music New York - NYC
South Park Music Tour - CO
The Watermelon Festival - CA
The NAMM Show - CA
TEDxOjai - CA
New Media Expo Conference - Vegas
Folk Alliance SERFA - AR
Folk Alliance SWRFA - TX
NACA – Nationals - MA
NACA – Northern Plains Showcase - MN
NACA - Northeast Showcase - CT
NACA - Mid-Atlantic Showcase - PA
NACA - Mid-America Showcase - KY
NACA - Central Showcase - TX
APCA - Central Showcase - TX
Indie Buzz Bootcamp - St. Louis
Podcamp NYC - NY
Podcamp Boston - MA
Songwriters Hall of Fame - NYC
Behind The Song Café - St. Louis
Acoustically Related - NYC
Under The Trees With Guitars - NYC
For the Love of Poetry - NYC
Just Plain Folks - NYC
Work Vessels for Veterans
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
CT: Central Connecticut State University * Eastern Connecticut State University * University of Connecticut - Waterbury * University of Connecticut (main campus) * University of Connecticut - Avery Point * Western Connecticut State University
CO: Johnson & Wales University
DE: University of Delaware * Wesley College
FL: University of Tampa * University of Miami
IA: Iowa State University * University of Northern Iowa * Clarke College * Loras College
IL: College of Lake County * Eastern Illinois University * Eureka College * Lewis and Clarke Community College * McKendree University * University of Illinois at Chicago * University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
KY: Eastern Kentucky University * Thomas More College
MA: Bridgewater State College * Bay Path College * Cape Cod Community College * Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
MI: University of Michigan - Flint
MN: University of Minnesota - Crookstown
NC: University of North Carolina - Charlotte * Western Carolina University
ND: Dickinson State University * North Dakota State University * Valley City State University
NE: Doane College
NH: Colby-Sawyer College * Southern New Hampshire University
NJ: Monmouth University * Rutgers University - Newark * Rowan University
NY: Binghamton University * College of Staten Island * Long Island University CW Post * Rochester Institute of Technology * St. Johns University * SUNY Plattsburgh * SUNY Rockland * Syracuse University * Adelphi University
OH: Ashland University * Walsh University * Wittenberg University
PA: Alvernia University * Arcadia University * Bucknell University * Bucks County Community College * Carnegie Mellon University * Chatham University * East Stroudsburg University * Misericordia University * Penn State University - Behrend * Penn State University - Schuylkill * Penn State University - York * Philadelphia University * St. Vincent College * Villanova University * Waynesburg University * Widener University
SC: Columbia College
TX: Lamar University * Texas A&M University - Kingsville* University of Texas-Permian Basin * University of Texas San Antonio
VA: Sweet Briar College * Virginia Commonwealth University
VT: Castleton State College * Landmark College * Southern Vermont College
WA: Central Washington University
WI: Fox Valley Technical College * University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
WV: Bethany College
And more added all the time!
Natalie Gelman - Guitar and Vocals
Natalie's show is available with a full band, duo, trio or solo acoustic.
Self-Titled Debut: Natalie Gelman (2006)
Streetlamp Musician EP (2013) with producers Charlie Midnight (Joni Mitchell, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Hillary Duff) and Mark Needham (Chris Isaak, Fleetwood Mac, The Killers, Imagine Dragons).
Songwriters Hall of Fame Emerging Artists Volume 7 "Never Had You"
Tracks for Change - Benefiting Sweet Home New Orleans "Rest of the Way"
BluePopRock - Benefiting Battered Women "Forgive Me"
A Wish For Country - Benefiting the Make a Wish Foundation "Rest of the Way"
The singles Most The While, One More Thing, Never Had You and Sweet July have been featured on commercial radio as well as on podcasts around the world.
01 One More Thing
02 Long Stemmed Roses
04 The Lion
03 Most The While
05 Streetlamp Musician
06 Laugh So Hard You Cry
Never Had You
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
Natalie in Billboard
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Natalie was featured in Billboard magazine. Next to a photo of her performing it listed: Natalie Gel...Natalie was featured in Billboard magazine. Next to a photo of her performing it listed: Natalie Gelman - singer songwriter - New York, NY.
See the feature here: http://nataliegelman.com/pressepk.cfm?mpf=frame&
Seeking Fame Underground
"Seeking a spot in musician's heaven... Natalie Gelman, a songwriter in full cry"
Shot at Transit Glory - Buskers Audition for Subway Idol
"Simply Terrific" "Description: Sheryl Crow plus Carole King"
Rollerblading Lady Luck
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This is the English translation. Read the article in Russian here: http://www.nrs.com/news/portret/u...This is the English translation. Read the article in Russian here: http://www.nrs.com/news/portret/usa/050907_174308_41848.html
She gave up the violin and a piano, refused a career as an opera singer, started playing the guitar, rollerblading and arrived on rollerblades from Miami to New York. Get acquainted with Natalie Gelman – the young performer of her own songs.
Natalie's father is a Russian violinist, and her mother is a German artist with two daughters from a previous marriage. "My dad taught my sisters to play the violin. Once my mother invited him to go with her to a concert... The history of love in which the woman takes the first step," tells the fun-loving girl with slanting and large features, long thin fingers and a juicy voice. I would never think, that this intelligent young lady with glasses is capable of bringing to life her crazy ideas.
At home they speak in English, therefore Natalie can only say limited greetings in Russian: farewells and declarations of love. "When my dad names his sister on the phone 'Sofochka,' it sounds mysterious and romantic to me. I would like to speak in Russian," admits Natalie.
In her childhood, Gregory, Natalie's father, taught her his native language a little. He taught her more of the language of music. In high-school she had a Russian boyfriend, dialogue with whom slightly enlarged her Russian vocabulary. And his mother taught Natalie how to cook compote. "How many times I tried to prepare it and it never was as good," Natalie makes a helpless gesture and continues a theme of astronomic traditions. "My dad always has salty fish in the refrigerator, it's part of the Russian menu. In my opinion it has an awful smell. As Germans love meat, it lays beside it on a shelf. To me as a vegetarian, both of them are my opposite."
Natalie really enjoys the Russian tradition of large parties. With some jealousy, Natalie tells me of one of her Russian-speaking friends birthday parties at a Brighton beach restaurant: in a circle of numerous relatives and friends, with songs, dancing, performances by actors and tables bursting with abundance.
"Even though we're told that in New York almost everyone can find a place where the culture of his nation is represented, I think that communities have lost their traditions. In Chinatown stalls sell fake goods as if this is everything that is famous China; in Little Italy with its continuous restaurants, it gives the impression that all Italians do is eat," discussing about assimilation, Natalie, who was born and raised in Greenwich Village. She admires the families that carefully store their cultural traditions. In her New York family this does not apply. However Natalie can precisely tell, that considering her character from her father and mother she considers love to music and diligence to be from her Russian heritage.
Studying the violin for five years, and piano for twice as long, was torture for the girl. She liked neither, but she loved music and with pleasure sang at school. She managed to elicit vocal lessons from her parents. Over time her mother, feeling bad for the child, allowed Natalie to drop her violin lessons. At Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts she studied singing, composition and dance. Her vocal instructors were teachers from Juilliard and NYC Opera.
"As I grew up in an environment of classical music, my knowledge of all known composers was that they were men: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, and they are all deceased, jokes Natalie… except for Madonna and Lisa Minelli, I did not listen to contemporary music till I was 15. As long as I can I remember, I always hummed something of my own. During my last year in high-school I picked up a guitar for the first time and started to write songs. Immediately I understood, this felt right," tells Natalie.
Her father diligently hid disappointment in his daughter's choice to play guitar. It was expected that having been born with long fingers Natalie was predetermined to be a talented violinist. "They will be good to play the guitar also," Natalie told her father. Today he is the first to judge her writing. He does not avoid criticizing her. "The criticism is always helpful because he has a classical view point on music," thinks Natalie.
Natalie's Russian relatives are very friendly and supportive of all her endeavors. "My daughter deserves to win the contest. I objectively judged and listen for yourself to the other participants," Gregory in edition with the request called to write about Natalie's participation in the musical competition at Famecast.com. Alien to modern technologies, he tried to do the utmost for her victory and hoped, that the talent of the young singer will be appreciated.
The temptation to participate in the competition was big: the winner was promised a monetary prize of 10 thousand dollars. Because of this, Natalie who was up to her ears in debt from her education after her graduation from the University of Miami Natalie went to Austin. "I consider online-competition biased." Natalie confirmed this with her own experience: from 140 musicians she took third place. Today she considers the decision to study in Miami a mistake, which has planted her in a lot of debt. But, she needed to leave New York for a while, see more of the country so she would eventually understand how strongly she loves the city of her birth.
"Among opera singers the competition is also intense, Natalie discredits my assumption that in the classical music field it would be easier to become successful. You need an agent, photos… they have to sell themselves like models, go to castings. Besides, they have to have a very expensive wardrobe and vocal lessons. I on the other hand can perform in jeans and a t-shirt. Opera singers don't receive too much for performing either. In both talent and luck are necessary."
When she was a student in grade school Natalie was a soloist on the prestigious Carnegie-hall stage. Then she appeared on it again when she studied in high-school. Natalie's voice was heard at New York City Opera as well. For the schoolgirl, dreaming to sing in musicals, it was a dizzying success. "It forced me to reflect on the future: If I have risen so highly then what will be next, falling? I reconsidered my goals. Madison Square Garden, world touring and popularity – that's what I aspire today," says Natalie. "Studying opera at the University of Salzburg in Austria, I finally made sure, that it was not for me, I decided to drop out of college and to go on rollerblades all around the country. But my mother insisted that I returned to college." For two years Natalie worked tediously within the precincts of the university, having celebrated its termination by an embodiment of the mad idea.
Natalie's LandRoller Tour lasted forty-eight days. She is the only who artist who made a charity-musical tour on roller blades, during which she covered more than 1500 miles. During stops Natalie performed in cafe and bars and sang in streets. On the first day of the tour a car knocked Natalie down: The driver of the van, pulling into a gas station, did not notice the girl. Natalie had fallen directly in a dirty pool. "What did you do?!" she cried. "This foreign driver did not speak English. I was covered in dirty auto-refueling water. It was a good lesson: to fall, rise and continue a way," she recollects.
Natalie is not someone who gives in to difficulties. She conceived the idea for the tour with the unselfish objective to collect money for Children International. How could people not donate? At concerts the singer explained to listeners that by giving only 18 dollars a month, they can change the life of a child from a less fortunate family. She learned about this organization when she worked for them at 19 years old, which was also when she first started sponsoring a girl from Guatemala, which she continued to do for two years.
"Recent college graduates have it tough. You leave college not only with your education, but also with a lot of debt. And 250 dollars a year becomes a significant amount of money so I ceased to make regular charitable payments and now give on an individual basis. Besides, like most American graduates, I did not have medical insurance. I played in the subway to collect money for the dentist. To my surprise, I earned a very decent amount of money and met many interesting people. Within two weeks of singing every day at the stations I had enough money for the dentist to treat a root canal." Natalie has figured, that if she performed daily for two hours per day in the subway it would be possible to earn 30 thousand dollars a year. On her worst days she received 10 dollars for an hour of singing, on her best $60. However, singing continuously for that long is harmful to a singers' health. But, the Land Rollering tour has left a big hole in the budget of the young singer.
Natalie prepared for the tour in advance, she sent press releases to mass media. But very few people perceived its invention at all. Only in Georgia did TV reporters show interest. A story about the young singer who was rollerblading from Florida to New York, was shown on the news. To organize concerts during the tour Natalie's friend from college helped by becoming road-manager. She was supposed to follow Natalie in her car and if necessary come to her aid. But she did not follow through on her part and halfway through the tour betrayed her friend.
"It was the worst moment of my tour. That day the wheel on my skates had broken, she did not meet me on the highway and had forgotten more of my things at the hotel." During the tour Natalie expected unforeseen obstacles, but there were moments when she was ready to give up. Bridges that were on her route often had to be crossed on all fours on her back because she couldn't blade across the grates. She rollerbladed eight hours without a stop in ninety-eight degree heat, she flew on level road and was slow on dirt roads. "In Florida there were roads which, apparently, had not been paved in many years. Even bigger wheels on my rollerblades did not help me. I did not rollerblade I walked," Natalie assessed the roads. The worst drivers and roads, in her opinion, were in New Jersey and Virginia, besides which there very few sidewalks or bicycle lines.
In Southern Philadelphia, Natalie by chance had an escort: the captain of the local police precinct followed her closely in his car. "It was very helpful because so many people were offering me cocaine and other drugs," tells the young lover of adventure. On the roads of Georgia drivers were beeping at Natalie. "Drivers made me cry: everyone was beeping at me. I did not understand, why they were so angry: I was not on the road in their way, I was blading on the shoulder. I was so upset I got off the road and was walking in the grass with my blades on. But cars that were passing by continued beeping at me. I began to look in the windows of the cars and saw, that the drivers were smiling at me and waving hello. Finally, I realized that they had seen me on the news!" recollects Natalie.
Natalie sometimes had a really tough time, she bladed under a tropical storm, avoided an attack from aggressive dogs and was twice hit and injured by absent-minded drivers. The second time a car ran into her the driver was an army officer in Virginia: having braked at a stop sign he continued to drive, looking at but not noticing Natalie crossing the road at the same time. "Girl, I hit you hard!" he said, then, he apologized seeing that Natalie has got off with only bruises. "Okay, drive more cautiously", answered Natalie: the driver indeed looked tired, and she needed to hurry up because she had a concert that night. She was shaken up, but the persistent girl continued a way. Fortunately, ahead was a steep bridge without any footpath or shoulder, and Griffin, Natalie's boyfriend, replaced irresponsible Stacey as the road-manager, and picked up the suffered girlfriend. Only later did she find out, that as a result of the incident her camera was broken.
"There were a lot of disappointing events during the trip. Much could have been done better or more correctly. But I do not regret it, I learned so much from it. I have learned to ask for help and to forgive, I gained confidence, began to understand people better, have learned who my real friends were, and made many changes in myself. It was a fascinating and beautiful tour. It would seem, after four years of studying in Miami with the tropical scenery that nothing would surprise me, but the beauty of the Florida coast moved me: I saw pelicans, beautiful houses, I was roller skating on the coast, and the ocean was flirting with me the whole day. I wrote some songs about this piece of the trip," sums up Natalie. Natalie arrived in New York on July 17th, in time for her 21st birthday. Friends were surprised at how Natalie had grown thin and tan: two months on roller skates!
Recently the singer has received her driving license. She plans to tour and perform with concerts in Pennsylvania, Road-Island and Ohio, but this time will she wont be traveling on roller skates she will be in a car. Natalie is promoting her CD and wishes to release a new album, having defined and slightly changed her style. Now it is melodious folk with elements of pop. Still, she dreams of making her performances entertaining shows with dances and acrobatic numbers. And for this purpose she has it all, a fine voice, a remembered appearance, and even successes in gymnastics. "I am very future oriented and always try to achieve my goals. I do not know, whether it is a Russian feature, but that it is a character trait of my father's, is precise," speaks Natalie.
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Partial Translation: Do you also want play in the subways of New York? Well, then first you must at...Partial Translation:
Do you also want play in the subways of New York? Well, then first you must attend an audition and persuade 30 judges.
At Penn Station, stop any further south's Natalie Gelman and plays guitar and sings. She sells CDs at ten dollars a piece. Maybe the right person will go by, and find her one day? In the meantime, she's merely up to play for New York's 4.5 million travelers; the world's best - or at least most diverse - the public. Once you're in through the audition, you have the permission for life.
Full Article here:
Rising Indie Star
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Natalie Gelman sings with a voice filled with strength and enthusiasm. It’s hard to believe this is ...Natalie Gelman sings with a voice filled with strength and enthusiasm. It’s hard to believe this is her freshman project. There’s a promising future for this rising indie star.
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Natalie Gelman comes from the core of the Big Apple. You cannot help to fall in love with her grace....Natalie Gelman comes from the core of the Big Apple. You cannot help to fall in love with her grace. A musical charm that will sweep your spirit away into a blissful place not too far from your heart's home. This modern musical philosopher finds ways to touch your soul in places that you did not know existed. Her singles "Never Had You" and "Always Was" will help you remember if you just happen to ever forget.
CT Commercial Radio
There aren’t many CD’s I am waiting to receive! -Neil Hedley Guy in the Sky Morning Show
Accident Hash Podcast
Great, great musician!
This album so happens to be a Jewel
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Her passionate songs and voice have brought comparisons to Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell and Jewel. And...Her passionate songs and voice have brought comparisons to Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell and Jewel. And this album so happens to be a Jewel. I pride myself that I like all types of music. It doesn't have to rock out. Kicking off with 'Rest Of The Way', this track showcases the sort of path this record takes. Following with 'Sweet July', and this catchy little offering so happens to be one of my faves on this record. Other little favourites are 'Leave', 'Half Dead', 'Never Had You' and the rockier 'Forgive Me'. Get out there, light up your camp fires and get your accoustic guitars out. Listening to this in-fact brought back a memory of a certain lass I know playing her accoustic guitar at the top of Glastonbury Tor last Summer. This cd is cool stuff with cool lyrics by a cool lass who has been featured on the front page of the NY Times and in Billboard Magazine. 8/10
Who's Next - Natalie Gelman
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Natalie Gelman grew up training with professionals from the Juilliard School and the New York City O...Natalie Gelman grew up training with professionals from the Juilliard School and the New York City Opera. At 16, she borrowed a friend’s guitar and began writing songs. Too young to play the clubs, Gelman hit the city’s subways, busking on platforms for tips. She eventually became a popular fixture alongside the train tracks. In fact, Gelman is one of the rare musicians permitted to play underground by the New York Department of Transportation. Since graduating from the University of Miami with a vocal performance degree, Gelman has entertained audiences at more standard concert venues like House of Blues and Webster Hall. Her new album, Streetlamp Musician—produced by Charlie Midnight (James Brown) and Mark Needham (the Killers)—delves into deep subject matter. “There are a lot of heavy topics covered in my songs,” she says, “but always a bit of hope and vulnerability, childlike dreaming for some ideal.”
Interview: Natalie Gelman
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An opera-singing, roller-blading, blonde bombshell of a singer-songwriter who’s not afraid to busk h...An opera-singing, roller-blading, blonde bombshell of a singer-songwriter who’s not afraid to busk her folk-pop on the subways of NYC.
Even if New York is where you grew up, you’d need some guts to busk around the city’s subways of an evening, and you’d have to be a confident vocalist to perform at Carnegie Hall. But for Natalie Gelman, this was just the start of a story that has taken the young songstress from performing to tourists in Time Square, to studying opera in Austria and even embarking on a charity rollerblading tour of gigs along the US East Coast.
Since picking up a guitar at the age of 16, Natalie’s attractive blend of folk, pop and rock had charmed strangers on the subway and it would have the same effect on Songwriting when the press release landed in our inbox. But we had a few questions… What happened to opera? Why choose busking on the cold streets over the warmth of an acoustic venue? And what made her decide to spend 48 days rollerblading?
We catch up with Natalie taking a well-earned rest in her new home outside Los Angeles, after touring across America in support of her new EP. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on her story so far and where it all started… (Full Interview in Link)
Live Show Review
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Material: Natalie Gelman is the poster-girl for the solo, storytelling singer-songwriter. Writing ab...Material: Natalie Gelman is the poster-girl for the solo, storytelling singer-songwriter. Writing about her days playing on subway platforms in New York City and singing about her perception of love and love lost, she is the image conjured by little girls who pick up a guitar and a crush and think they might do something about all of it. Joni Mitchell is clearly an influence in much of the material, as is evident in “Laugh So Hard You Cry,” but Gelman pushes a few decibels louder than Mitchell and can be a bit darker as well. She wanders into comparisons to Tori Amos with her encore song, “Will You Sell Your Soul to the Devil?” Natalie Gelman compares to many successful female singer-songwriters due to the combination of sweet and strong in her sound. Success is in getting the mixture just right.
Musicianship: The solo performer has a precarious opportunity to display her musical ability without interference from others, while at the same time completely exposing every nervous tick or vulnerable moment. The key is to be sure at least one of the main instruments is remarkable, which will make up for any shortcomings in the other. In the case of Natalie Gelman, her voice is that remarkable instrument. The clarity,precision of pitch and her immense range prove impressive, but the factor that makes her instrument memorable is the great dynamic contrast. With the ability to handle both sweet and strong in the most dramatic way, Gelman’s voice allows for a great deal of experimentation and feeling in her expression. With this dynamic contrast and precision of pitch, she demonstrates great technical ability as well as personal emotion.
Performance: Gelman appeared quite familiar with the role of solo performer, and if there were any doubts, she did her duty in explaining a good deal of her history while on stage. Folks enjoyed seeing a bit of personality between songs, but Gelman stretched the grace period perhaps a bit too far, losing momentum in the wandering banter. If anything, this illustrated the power of the performance of the music, which was at times entrancing, and altogether entertaining.
Summary: The combination of both sweet and strong enables Natalie Gelman to captivate and entertain her audience. As she continues to experiment with just the right balance and blend of those elements, this performer will likely always have a captive audience for her inviting and engaging style of storytelling. –Tim Reid, Jr.
Musicians Performing at Sundance Film Festival
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SALT LAKE CITY — The Sundance Film Festival, which began Thursday, is attracting a lot of Hollywood ...SALT LAKE CITY — The Sundance Film Festival, which began Thursday, is attracting a lot of Hollywood stars and some of the best emerging musicians.
The music scene has become a big part of the festival where lots of new talent is discovered.
Natalie Gelman is performing this week and joined Jenn Hardman in studio. Play the video to see that.
Natalie Gelman: Streetlight Musician
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Natalie Gelman: Streetlight Musician Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I think I listened to about ...Natalie Gelman: Streetlight Musician
Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins
I think I listened to about twenty seconds of Natalie Gelman before I sent the confirmation that I would write up a review. Sometimes, the connection is that immediate, and I’m always grateful when it is. It means I’ll enjoy writing almost as much as I enjoyed listening.
“Most the While,” the first single of her EP, showcases her voice and her songwriting talent. The song is about wanting to be with someone who generally only brings pain. It’s about feeling complete, but only at your own expense. While the lyrics sometimes veer dangerously into cliche territory, the theme of the song is relatable and her longing seeps into the soul of the listener. It works so well because of her talent and because, really, who hasn’t been there? ”Long Stemmed Roses” questions happiness that is supposed to come with love. At first glance, it is the most romantic song of the set, but repeated listens brings questions and new revelations. ”The Lion” is Natalie’s most feisty song, one that made me smile and want to sing along.
While I loved all of these tracks with equal abandonment, it is the title track that hit home. It may be autobiographical-about Natalie’s pursuit to chase her musical dreams, but the song can be about anyone’s hopes, and fears, as Natalie mentions in the bridge, and the longing for them to be recognized. Similarly, the song “Laugh So Hard You Cry,” is about facing all the disappointments yet not wanting to change anything. ”I won’t give up/It’s do or die/Laugh so hard you cry” has that well, at least I tried mentality to it, and at the end of the day, the recognition that the pursuit is a life well lived, no matter what the results. As for the song, “One More Thing,” it is the song that I heard first and made me fall in love, and it is that song that randomly jumps into my brain and repeats on an endless loop. I am always pleasantly surprised when this ear worm pays a visit.
In the Bridget Fonda movie Point of No Return (this isn’t just a recommendation to watch that movie, btw, just a reference), the main character remembers her mother as someone who listened to Nina Simone endlessly, and so when that m.c. is “in a mood,” she, too, listens to Nina. Ever since I saw the movie, I’ve wondered what musician would make my friends think of me. I’m afraid it would be the obvious, the pop rock that makes me smile and gives me energy. But really, I would want them to know that in my quieter moments, when I’m wanting to be inspired, it’s music like this that speaks to my soul and gives my daydreams flight.
Please visit www.nataliegelman.com for more information, and be sure to download the album. I’m about to go do that myself, and since I could never afford all the music that comes across my desk, there is no better endorsement that I could give.
VOA Border Crossings Interview
VOA's live worldwide international music request show with host Larry London.
Natalie Gelman, MUNY Performer
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Between the endless Peruvian flute bands and that one lady with the melodica who keeps popping up on...Between the endless Peruvian flute bands and that one lady with the melodica who keeps popping up on our N train, it can be pretty hard to find enjoyable, original music in the city's subway. But if you look hard enough, you'll find an act like Natalie Gelman. The native West Villager has been performing underground for almost nine years now, a gig that's helped her find fans, a record deal and nationwide tours. Ironically, after years of dodging (or being ignored by) the cops, she's landed a spot with Music Under New York, something she says was even harder than touring. During a break from recording her new album in LA she talked to us about breaking into the subways, finally getting noticed by MUNY and her guide to the best downtown eats.
So what got you writing songs in the first place? I wrote my first song in 6th grade when I was 11 years old and had a crush on a boy in my class. It was a melodramatic love song and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to sing it to my teacher who might have been a nun at the Catholic school I was attending. I remember finishing the song and she gave me this look of distain that said, "What in the lords name are you thinking child?"
I went back to my seat completely ashamed and didn’t write for another 6 years. I enrolled myself in guitar lessons at Brooklyn Conservatory and came home from my first lesson with two or three chords the first day. I immediately started writing melodies and lyrics over them.
It wasn’t until college a few months later that I started writing full songs. I was mildly obsessed with Jewels Pieces of You album and I would listen to that while doing homework and then go into the stairwell of my dorm, which had this beautiful echo and just sit strumming my guitar for hours. When the songs would come they came really fast and almost all intact. I was really confused about going so far away for school, my family, guys… so that’s what all the songs were about.
When you had the songs (or covers, or just a guitar...whatever) when did you decide to take your act to the subway? Busking in the subway was a bit of an accident at first. It was actually more of a conscious decision to start performing at open mics and change the lyrics to my songs so all the parts about how old I was were 21 instead of 17. I had my fake ID from McDougal street that everyone my age got and would go to C-Note in the East Village all the time. I think they realized I was under 21 when I had my first show and only my parents, older sisters and friends parents were in the audience.
So, I had set up a show at a café in the village and my friend from out of town was helping me promote my shows and do some PR one summer. She wanted to go out to Times Square after the show so we headed uptown and stopped for some ice cream as soon as we got up there. They asked me to sing so I played them a song and they gave us our ice cream for free! We were pretty excited and started to walk around Times Square and it wasn’t too long afterwards that someone asked me to sing again and said that if I would they would give us a picture of ourselves on a magazine cover. We thought that sounded like a good deal so I took out my guitar and sing a song. A little crowd gathered as I did and when the song was over the people listening started to walk over to me and try to hand me money. I was completely shocked but my friend was smart and pulled out my email list and told me to keep singing.
The guys from the kiosk that had asked me to perform actually owned a bunch of the kiosks around Times Square and asked to hire me to perform for them. So I began busking next to them for two hours a day. This went on for about 2 weeks but I probably only got to perform about half of the set time because the cops kept pushing me along when crowds would gather.
We decided with the owners of the kiosks that is wasn’t working out and my friend was still in town and staying with me so she and I went down to the subway to head home and decided to just try out playing on the subway and see how it was. Once again I was pretty freaked out to start but with her support I set up my little busking space on the uptown side of the 42nd street 1, 2, 3 and 9 (back when we still had the 9) trains. I’ve been doing it ever since and have been inspired to play all over the country as a street performer on my “off” days of tours.
How are you received down there? Do people actually pay attention, or does everyone just walk by and throw in change if they happen to have it jingling in their pocket? It's a mix and that's part of what's exciting about it. You never know if you're going to get that attention and you really have to be putting on a great show and giving 150% if not more. It takes complete and passionate commitment to the songs to get respect and attention from people. I think there’s something to be said as well for the fact that when someone walks down to the train, especially a tourist who is always told to be weary, or a commuter just trying to get home they have this hard impenetrable shell around them. But if they are even a little aware and see me completely bearing my heart and feelings in my songs that shell always cracks. They smile, connect to me and the people around also listening and sometimes even let a few trains pass to keep listening—which is one of the most humbling praises.
There have been so many incredible and crazy moments down there. I’ve had whole train cars listening that were stopped in the station for a minute, I’ve seen people who just got on share my information or card with someone who was already on the train and just heard me singing a few phrases and I’ve had people go out of their way from another platform to come take a card or buy a CD. There have been times where people have all come together and I’ve led a sing-along to “Landslide” underneath Times Square or clapped to the acapella part of my song “Sweet July.” I need to write a book about it all one day soon.
So you're now a part of MUNY, right? How did that come about? Were you pressured to join because of police harassment, or just felt like it would give you more exposure? I've been part of MUNY for almost 9 months. I always wanted to audition to be a part of it but I was in college in Miami so I missed the auditions the first few years I was a busker. It’s also fairly difficult to be accepted into the program. I applied and auditioned for three years before I was accepted with a song ironically enough about street performing.
I didn’t feel pressure at first to have a permit. I've generally had okay luck dealing with the cops in the subway. If they needed me to pack it up they would just ask me and once I even got an email from an officer thanking me for performing because it made his shift easier—I think art in the subways does actually make them safer but that’s a whole other thing. Anyways, I was having to hustle to find an open spots to perform and I was going down later and later at night, usually 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.—sometimes even later. One night I was playing at 34th on the 2/3 express platform and a cop gave me a ticket for blocking the flow of traffic. I had been doing it for 8 years and that was my first ticket but it really made me angry. He was having a bad day and really took it out on me and it took a lot of time to fight it but I won because he never showed up to court. After that I really pulled back on my street performing and was just waiting for the next MUNY audition.
Where do you perform now? MUNY has designated spots on platforms and mezzanines throughout the subway system and I’ve been trying out different spots and seeing what works for me. I have been to quite a few new stations like 59th on the 1 train and Grand Central has a few nice spots too. My favorite new spot is 125th and 8th and I was surprised to not actually like that very popular spot on 42nd between the shuttle and other trains.
It's been interesting making this transition to MUNY because it is different going to a spot you know you wont have to hustle for, being able to have an amp and having to win people over that are usually walking past versus standing waiting for their train when I’m on a platform. I haven’t played a “freelance” busking spot since I’ve been a part of MUNY but I definitely feel like part of the charm of busking is playing completely acoustic and having to hustle to find a space and feeling like that’s where you’re meant to be at that particular night.
Besides the subway stuff, what have you been up to? How's the album coming? Things are great in my career. I’ve been writing and working on a new album with Charlie Midnight and Mark Needham two awesome producers in Los Angeles. We are letting it take the time it takes to have songs we absolutely love and create something amazing. That said I am itching for it to get all recorded and finished because I have never written better songs and they are getting really well received at my live shows.
I’m still touring a lot and trying harder than ever to push myself to make this happen. It’s a tough balance to decide for yourself the best time to tour, write songs, go out to conferences and network and when you need to real yourself in and just make some money to sustain it all. I love being in New York because there is that all or nothing mentality that you have to make this happen and you’re willing to struggle and suffer because you believe in what you do so much. Having toured and driven through 43 states this past year I feel like I can honestly say New York City makes the most artists that have heartfelt love for their art and I love being a part of that.
So, where are some of your favorite places to hang out in New York?
I love hanging down on the Hudson river or just walking around the village and down to Houston Street. Can I say hanging out in the subway? Not that I hangout there on purpose but it makes for amazing people watching.
I’m really all about the great food we have here and the free summer events like music and movies on the piers and in parks. I give lots of tours to friends of lower Manhattan and most of my tour revolves around food.
A few of my favorite eateries:
Rocco’s: Their cannolis are the best in NYC and you have to have a hazelnut ice in the summer.
Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street: Best slice
La Bonbonniere: The best greasy spoon breakfast. But you have to go during the week if you want to hang around and read the paper otherwise its packed on weekends. Marina who owns the place is a doll.
Jacques Torres: Try the Wicked Hot Chocolate and watch them make chocolate things!
Panna II: The most fun Indian Restaurant I’ve ever been, I’ve been going here for over 10 years. There are more chili pepper lights every time I go.
Mamoun’s: Pick up a falafel and go hang in Washington Square park.
What's your favorite only in New York moment? I don't have a favorite but three short little stories are coming to mind right now. I once saw this guy on the street that thought I knew from high school. I got off the phone to give him a big hug and asked him how he had been since high school and he looked really confused. Turns out he was a fan of mine from the subway that had seen me busking a few times. I felt really silly but that was a great moment.
One night I was playing on 42nd street and had my back against one of the beams on the uptown 1 train side. I had a few dozen people watching and listening as a train came in and this guy grabbed my butt somehow as he got on the train. I was completely shocked at first—I’ve been hit on a few times as a street performer but this guy had somehow managed to wedge his hand between the beam and me and completely violate my personal space. After a few seconds I jumped on the train he got on with my guitar still on and started screaming at him and asking him why he did it—the shame on his face was worth that alone but the best part is that he couldn't say a word in response to me because he was shocked. As I was half on, half off the train yelling at him to give me a reason people on the platform got together and said they would watch my things and were yelling in support of me standing up for myself. I realized he wasn’t going to say anything so I told him that it was disgusting, he had no right and better never do that again and then I punched him. I stepped off the train and people on the platform started clapping, telling me they were proud of me and were going to by my CD because I stood up for myself.
Another time I was busking on 34th street for hours under Penn station and even though the night wasn’t going particularly well something was compelling me to stay down there and perform. Next thing I know a homeless man is walking up to me and I’m thinking oh no, time for a confrontation or to be asked for some money by him. Instead he came up, smiled and emptied his pocket change into my guitar case. He said he has been listening all night on the other side of the platform and wanted to help me make it. It was the most humbling moment that someone who could have used that to buy food wanted me to have it to help my career so more people would hear my music. I wanted to talk to him but he just smiled and told me he just wanted me to play. It was really sweet and still makes me smile.
Soundcheck Gig Alert: Natalie Gelman
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Natalie Gelman "Never Had You" Playing Monday at The Bitter End (147 Bleecker St., Green...Natalie Gelman
"Never Had You"
Playing Monday at The Bitter End (147 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY)
Get: Tickets ($10) | Directions
If singer-songwriter Natalie Gelman seems familiar, it's because the West Villager’s cut her teeth busking on the subway for almost a decade and even earned a spot in the coveted MTA "Music Under New York" series this year.
But not all the gigs for this native New Yorker require a Metrocard for entry. The chanteuse — whose smoky voice and guitar-driven pop-rock have earned her comparisons to Jewel and Sheryl Crow — has also performed at Webster Hall and Lincoln Center, among other venues.
Gelman plays The Bitter End on Monday night in the NYSongCircle showcase. If you can’t make Monday night’s show, Gelman returns to play the same club on Dec. 7. Download the folksy love song “Never Had You” from her self-titled debut album above or watch the video for the song below.
All Eyes On Singer Songwriter, Natalie Gelman
"A refreshing talent with such an amazing voice" (Read more at the link below.)
Big voice, Big heart
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Big voice, Big heart Natalie Gelman brought soul and spirit to CWU By Bruce Coe Ellensburg - Yo...Big voice, Big heart
Natalie Gelman brought soul and spirit to CWU
By Bruce Coe
Ellensburg - You have to know a little bit about busking to understand Natalie Gelman.
Busking, the time-honored art of street performance spans a range of talents - juggling, street acting, magic and singing. It’s the most immediate relationship a performer will ever have with their audience.
And that’s exactly what Gelman does. She brings the magic of busking to her singing and songwriting.
Gelman, who hails from New York City, is touring in support of her newest EP “Streetlamp Musician”. She paused to chat before her performance at Central Washington University in early April.
I ask her what the magic of busking is, She replies, “Well, I guess it takes courage to just go out there and do it. There are so many people in New York City, there’s something special about winning people over. That has really helped me in my live shows.”
That’s Gelman. Immediate, winning and personal.
“Streetlamp Musician” is a compilation of 5 songs, expertly performed. I’m guessing her backup band is comprised NY studio guys. They manage to lay back enough to sound like topflight Nashbville session players. Gelman’s voice is big. Think Wynona and a little Tine Turner when it has to be. That vocal somewhere-in-between is what makes her voice so accessible. She rises to a torch song and descends into a throaty whisper with ease. She’s not trying to sound like anyone else, she just sounds like Natalie Gelman. That’s good.
As a songwriter Gelman is self-possessed and articulate. No fluff. Get to the point. Catchy rhymes and pithy thoughts. None of those wannabe catchphrases that seem to populate so much mainstream songwriting.
She says, “’Laugh So Hard You Cry’ has one of my proudest lines:”
Life goes on with or without
All the things you care about.
Maybe there’s really nothing to figure out.
Or from “Streetlamp Musician”:
I don’t want to die with a melody inside my head
That the world needs to hear.
Notes For Aspiring Performers
We talked about the huge amount of local talent in our area. I asked how an aspiring singer songwriter might approach their emerging craft.
She smiles, “For me it’s really important to stay open to opportunities. Eventually you can say no and be picky, but for now see shows, write with people, perform, even if they’re not good experiences learn from them. Network together, get great idea from other artists, it’s about an artistic community, online or offline.
“Online there are some good resources for songwirter. NSAI is one, (nashvillesongwriters.com) another is Just Plain Folks. (jpfolks.com) You never know where a road might lead. You don’t know how good you are.”
4/5 stars, buy it. Sily smooth vocals, propulsive rhythm, great lyrics, very well executed and imagines. Worth yo’ busy while. Oh, and not a single guitar solo. Must be the busker in her.
For more info about Natalie, visit: www.nataliegelman.com
Whether Solo, Duo or with a Full Band Natalie gives an incredible unforgettable show featuring original and cover songs across the Pop/Rock/Folk/Country/Soul and Alternative genres. She is engaging with stories from her life, the road and street performing adventures and has something to offer every venue and music fan.
Natalie is able to tailor her set list to fit the needs of the event/venue. The show is perfect for schools, parties,wineries, resorts, venues and clubs both big and small, house-parties, parks and coffeehouses.
Partial Song List…
Sweet July (Award: Mike Pinder's Songwars)
Never Had You (Award: Songwriters Hall of Fame - Emerging Artists CD)
Wont Matter Anymore (Award: Facebook Idol)
Sundance In Your Eyes
Laugh So Hard You Cry
One More Thing
Long Stemmed Roses
Most The While
Cross Your Heart
Rest of The Way
Take Me Home
Blues No. 2
When Will I Be Loved?
Man on the Moon
Before He Cheats
One Fine Day
Both Sides Now
Nobody Does it Better
You Were Meant For Me
Dream, Dream, Dream
Black is the Color
Hey There Delilah
Like We Never Loved At All
This Ones For the Girls
Sex and Candy
Livin' on a Prayer
Poor Mans House
Best I Ever Had
Your Love is my Drug
and many more...
If there's a specific song you would like to hear just let us know! Natalie also has a set of many favorite Holiday songs!