Samantha Natalie has been working with music since age four. Classically trained in piano and a graduate of the University of Miami School of Music Vocal Jazz Program, Samantha has performed in many different types of bands from Rock to Jazz to Brazilian music. She has been writing original compositions for 15 years now and is currently performing all throughout South Florida. Her influences include singer/songwriters like Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Carol King, and James Taylor. Check out www.samanthanataliemusic.com for show dates.
Samantha Natalie - Vocals/Piano
Band- Bass, drums, guitar
A Great Wall
These songs can be heard at: www.samanthanataliemusic.com
Samantha Natalie talks about breaking down walls with her new CD
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Five years after celebrating the release of her debut EP at the now-defunct Pawn Shop Lounge in Miam...Five years after celebrating the release of her debut EP at the now-defunct Pawn Shop Lounge in Miami, Samantha Natalie is set to release A Great Wall, her new CD that contains “1993,” “Lost in a Sunny Day” and eight other soulful indie-pop songs about change, relationships and breaking down walls.
Natalie works on her original music in between the jobs that pay her bills. The University of Miami Frost School of Music graduate gives private voice and piano lessons and sings in Studio One and VoxBlu, cover bands that play a mix of clubs and private events. “That is my work basically,” the Miami singer-songwriter and pianist says. “I mean it’s fun, so I can’t really say it’s work because we get to perform and play all the time.”
Those gigs also helped fund Natalie’s new 10-song CD, a project in the works since 2009. “I wish I could say that it didn’t take two years but along with everything that goes on sometimes these things take a little longer than you think,” she says, “I’m just excited that it’s finished.”
Recently, we interviewed Natalie about her new release (which you can listen to at Samanthanataliemusic.com), her influences and her dreams for the future.
Who produced A Great Wall?
Pete Wallace. He is a wonderful musician and also has worked with bigger artists like Shakira and Pink and traveled with Julio Iglesias for awhile. … I met him through the band that I work with, Vox Blu. So along with doing these major projects he does a few gigs with us —with the little people as we say. So we really hit it off and started recording a few songs that I had already written. He’s also a wonderful songwriter so we ended up collaborating on three or four songs on this new CD.
Which songs did you collaborate on?
He and I wrote “Sky High” together, “Love Daze” and “Words” and “Can’t Keep Myself From You.” He’s a great writer and through him I was able to meet other talented musicians who play on the CD including Dan Warner who plays guitar on almost all of it and will play live with us at the show, Lee Levin, a great studio drummer, and Eric England who plays bass on most of the songs. He’s a friend of mine. We went to the University of Miami together. I’m playing piano and singing on there, and there are a few guest artists.
Is there a particular theme you’re exploring with this CD?
Well the [title track] is “A Great Wall.” It’s kind of a personal thing to be able to bring all of these songs into other people’s ears. All of these songs have a certain side of me that expresses different parts of my personality. A great wall meaning that I tend to be a little protective over my emotions and my feelings. I think all of us do that to an extent, but this CD was more in hopes of trying to let go of that and express that, ‘Look whatever it is that I’m singing about in this song, I don’t really care about what anybody else thinks. This is how I feel and it can’t be wrong because we are human.’ … So it’s breaking down that wall by letting other people know what it is you’re feeling and thinking about.”
Can you tell me what you were feeling and thinking about as you wrote some of the songs?
“Watching My World Change,” which is just piano and voice, [was inspired by] three people in my life who have gone through certain changes or pushed me to go through a certain change that maybe I wasn’t ready for at the time or am still not ready for but you have to deal with it and keep going. Another song is “Sky High.” The source of it is definitely different than anything I’ve written and very simple. There’s a little “Say yoo-hoo” line. That sound was meant to be a freeing phrase. The second verse says “If the fire’s getting higher and the water feeds the flame.” meaning if something’s getting worse and nothing is helping, that pretty much gives an expression to put yourself in a place where you can say ‘Whatever.” … Pete and I wrote that together and that’s the song that came out the fastest.
Who are some of your influences?
I definitely have always been a fan of female singer-songwriters such as Carole King and more recently Fiona Apple, Tori Amos and Joan Baez …. I also really enjoy a lot of the early ‘90s songwriters. Jeff Buckley was a great songwriter. Chris Cornell from Soundgarden is definitely a different style from what I do but his lyrics are really great. Whoever sticks to more original lyrics or something that wouldn’t be as pop as you would hear on the radio today is more what I was listening to and still am today. I got to see Carole King and James Taylor in concert last year. That was one of my favorites and is probably the best example of the kind of music I was listening to … James Taylor being I think one of the best songwriters.
Have you been doing music full-time since graduating from UM?
That’s pretty much all I have been doing since I was 4 and a half. Yeah, it’s kind of scary actually. It’s the only thing I know how to do. My mom started me with piano lessons at 4 and a half. I was classically trained in piano for 13 or 14 years, and then I started singing with my church choir when I was six or seven. I never had full or private voice lessons until I got to college so I was singing with church and in high school, little rock bands here and there, but I really got into strict training at UM. So basically that’s what I’ve been doing for awhile and since graduation I’ve been teaching and performing whether for private events or my own music.
How was recording this CD as opposed to your debut EP?
Ben Reid, a friend of mine, produced that one. We went to high school together and he had a home studio and lived two houses down from me, so it was very convenient. We recorded six songs in a month or two and it was the first time working with recording my voice. My brother was playing drums so it was very homemade.
When it came to this [new] CD, I had already saved money and was working for awhile to be able to produce a CD that was more professional. … So the whole process was definitely much more professional then the first time, although the first one I enjoyed every minute of as well. It was the first time I did something like that.
I understand you want to travel. Any immediate plans now that you’re on the verge of your CD release party?
No, I have been thinking about Thursday for such a long time that I’m gonna be focused on Thursday probably until then, but definitely during the summer, [which] is a great time for me to explore my own music because we don’t have a lot going on anywhere else. I definitely want to be able to get into a publishing deal with a major label. I’m also looking to use these songs to possibly get into commercials or movies … It’s basically all about meeting people in the industry and getting your songs to ears that are new. It’s great to have your friends and family hear them and they support me so much, but I’m thinking a little bigger hopefully and well see what happens. It’s definitely going to be a nice hard push with this CD.
After your release party on June 9, you’ll have another show at The Betsy Hotel on June 16th?
Yes, at the B Bar with Karina Iglesias and James McCoy. That will be original music as well. It’s a trio. We share the stage and it’s piano, guitar and bass and it’s a different twist on all of our songs.
Samantha Natalie will appear on the NBC 6 morning show which starts at 11 a.m. June 8. She will also perform, along with special guest Karina Iglesias, at her CD release party, which runs 9 p.m. –midnight June 9 at The Stage, 170 N.E. 38th St., Miami. Call 305-576-9577 or visit Thestagemiami.com. Natalie, Iglesias and James McCoy will perform at 9 p.m. June 16 at B Bar at The Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Call 305-531-6100 or visit Thebetsyhotel.com.
Samantha Natalie Featured on the ADCOLOR Awards ADMusic Compilation
Go to link to listen to winning songs "Sky High" and "1993".
Samantha Natalie Carries A Tune
Interview for release of new album "A Great Wall"
KEYBOARD MAGAZINE - CD Review "Samantha Natalie"
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By Robbie Gennet With her lovely voice and tasteful songwriting, Samantha Natalie’s debut holds i...By Robbie Gennet
With her lovely voice and tasteful songwriting, Samantha Natalie’s debut holds its own with any major-label artist. Impeccably arranged and performed, the album’s dynamic range stretches from the bouncy backbeat of “Can’t Keep Myself From You” to the heartbreaking ballad “Watching My World Change.” Sharing keyboard duties with Pete Wallace, Natalie sticks to straight piano with some Wurly thrown in. A terrific start to a career full of potential. (samanthanataliemusic.com)