Natalie Illeana
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Natalie Illeana

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Illeana takes different genres to form album's eclectic sound

BY L. KENT WOLGAMOTT / GZO
Friday, Jul 13, 2007


Natalie Illeana didn't have much of a clue where she was going when she moved to Grand Island a few years ago. Nor did she realize that she was reversing the standard Nebraska music story.

Rather than moving to Los Angeles to try to break into the music business, Illeana was coming to the Great Plains from sunny SoCal to make a record and form a band.

"I'd never been to Nebraska at all before we moved," she said. "It was the day before it got cold when we got here. Then it got cold, and I wondered what I'd done. But moving to Grand Island offered us the time to make the CD. We set up a studio in the basement and recorded and wrote."

We is Illeana and her boyfriend/musical partner Greg Kincheloe, a Nebraska native whom she met when they worked at DMX Music, a Los Angeles production company that went out of business. Illeana and Kincheloe each received severance packages from the company and used that money to move to Grand Island and make their record.

That disc is "Unbalanced," a 10-song CD that's a hard-to-pigeonhole mix of singer/songwriter pop, rock and even a little bit of country.

"It depends on who I'm talking to," Illeana said of labeling her music. "You've got to read the person. If it's a twentysomething girl like me, I'll say it's kind of like Rilo Kiley, alternative rock. If it's a dude, I'll say it's got loud guitars, real rockin'."

That contrast can be heard on the disc's first two songs. "Bored" is a light pop number about finding things to do in L.A. including the suggestion "we could take our clothes off," while "Hunt To Kill" takes off on a ripping guitar and tells a harrowing table-turning story of an older guy and young woman in which, in the end, a "confident heroine kills off masculine."

"Highschool," song No. 3, is ringing guitar power pop flashing back with revealing honesty — "School always sucked but we had so much fun" — while "Girl on the Bike" is childlike in its reflection and in her vocals, with synthesizer and piano adding to the musical mix.

Those instruments were played by Kincheloe, who also contributes guitar, drums, xylophone and banjo as well as producing, recording and mixing the disc. At DMX, Kincheloe worked with the likes of Collective Soul, Hall and Oates and Big & Rich and he brought that experience to making "Unbalanced."

"After we got laid off from DMX, I pretty much sunk that whole year into making the album," Kincheloe said. "If you do it yourself, you own everything. But you have to work and work."

The band's California roots paid off on "Words Seldom Spoke" when Steve Espinosa, who does the music for the Food Network's "Unwrapped," did the orchestration and played piano on the gorgeous song.

But they're now confirmed Nebraskans as the autobiographic, banjo-driven country hop "Grand Island" drives home with lyrics about not locking doors and buying houses for less than rent in L.A.

Many of Illeana's songs, including "James Says" and the buzzing "Idiot," are about boys who don't have a clue about girls. That's common enough subject matter and it fits her background.

"I played guitar in my bedroom when I was 14 and wrote songs in my notebook," she said. "But I didn't play an open mike until I was 23 and I'm not much older than that now. They've (band members) showed me the way."

That said, Illeana is taking charge of her career. "Unbalanced" was released on the band's Trax Studio label. She's formed Girl on the Bike Publishing to publish her songs. And she's putting the finishing touches on the flash animation for the band's Web site, utilizing the Web skills she picked up in college.

She's also made good use of MySpace to first audition new songs and then promote the CD. Illeana and Kincheloe traveled to California earlier this year to promote the disc, giving away 700 copies to help start a buzz.

"Unlike a lot of artists today, she's a great singer/songwriter, but she really loves business and gets things done," Kincheloe said. "A lot of artists don't want to deal with the business side of it. I'm a musician myself and I don't want to have anything to do with it."

Among the early payoffs for Illeana is an endorsement from Bed:Stu Shoes, which recently had the band at the Waiting Room in Omaha for a photo shoot for advertising.

"They were looking for a new way to market themselves," Illeana said. "They were looking for an indie band and they picked us. They sent us a huge box of shoes. They sent us like 17 pairs of boots and they're over $100 each."

Illeana isn't doing all the band's work. Each band member has his or her job. Drummer John Sears, for example, handles the band's legal work.

"It's nice to be self-sufficient," Sears said. "Everybody fills a little niche. We all do our jobs and it comes together on Saturday night, hopefully. That's our reward, getting to play live."

Na - Lincoln Journal Star


Natalie Illeana came on stage and started rocking Crooners And Croakers with a song called “Bored”. The music and lyrics are very youthful and insightful, and had a very upbeat and playful sound that immediately made you smile. They have a great stage presence and really get the crowd involved in their shows. I had a chance to sit down with the band before the show and and find out what makes this band tick. They told me that they play only original songs that they have written and produced. They also explained that they hope to be releasing their first CD within the next 2 months. The lead guitarist and song writer/producer is Greg Kincheloe, who originally started his music career in las Angelas working for other established musicians in a studio. He also plays in a local honky tonk band called The Nedwrecks, and I can tell you from my experience that this guy is a very well rounded musician. The lead singer and songwriter, Natalie Illeana also originally came here from Las Angeles. She backs up her wonderful vocals with rhythm guitar, and explained to me that some of her more prolific influences are Weezer, Alanis Morrisette, Modest Mouse, and Jack Kerouac. The bassist Kevin Cline just recently joined the group and pulls his musical style from punk rockers such as Operation Ivy, Rancid, and Beefalo. John Sears plays drums for this band as well as the Nedwrecks, and told me that he was influenced by Tiny Tim, Motorhead, Megadeth and other “old school metal bands”. This band has a wonderful unique sound that is really hard to describe, but I will say they sound a bit like Natalie Merchant with the lyrical style of Weezer. This band is a must see, so go to http://www.myspace.com\natalieilleana and find out where they will be playing next so you can experience this great band for yourself.


Link:
http://www.themusichreview.com/pb/wp_8edb13d7/wp_8edb13d7.html?0.6295434178922061 - The Musich Review .com


... to finish the night with a bang was the local Grand Island group called Natalie Illeana. Once again they wowed the crowd with their California style Indie rock and roll music. Every song is upbeat and brings a smile to your face, and watching the artists perform it is an even more uplifting experience. Natalie Illeana will be releasing their first CD sometime in early November and it is destined for local stardom. Some of the songs on the album will be "Girl On A Bike", "High School" "Bored", "Words Seldom Spoken" and "Unbalanced". The lead guitarist of Natalie Illeanna also plays in a country honky tonk band called The Nedwrecks. His musical repitoire includes working with DMX studios between 1996-2003 where he helped produce and mix albums for such musical talents as Gene Simmons, Motorhead, Paul Stanley, Rob Zombie, Three Doors Down, Billy Idol, Collective Soul, and a multitude of other artists and groups. Natalie Illeana once again put on a spectacular show, and I look forward to listening to their upcoming (long awaited) CD. To see more about them and hear some of their songs go to www.natalieilleana.com
or http://www.myspace.com/natalieilleana


link:
http://www.themusichreview.com/pb/wp_1408b86d/wp_1408b86d.html?0.35101524803369083 - TheMusichreview.com 10-7-06


Thursday, March 22, 2007
Natalie Illeana
Emergency meeting called! The review for this singer/songwriter comes upon me with a need for quick yet thoughtful insight: the time crunch is upon me. Originally from the Los Angeles area but who recently relocated to small-town Nebraska, this group shows heart and soul in each track that I listened to, one after the other bringing back memories of my youth with their lyrics.

Describing their sound as a fun and quirky listen. "Bored" I found to be one of the most defining yet free-spirited tracks on their website. And I was definitely not bored listening to the screeching sounds of the guitar intros, which knocked my socks off at the beginning of each song. Although, it did seem to me that the music was a bit similar throughout all the tracks I listened to, the rocking lyrics made me quickly put the thought to the back of my mind. I will definitely look for this album to continue my listening pleasure, as should you. You can find some of her songs on Natalie's myspace page or go right to the source http://www.natalieilleana.com. My over all rating for this collection of music is an A.C Slater, I think with a bit more time to polish the sound they can really rock the house!


Link:
http://www.wornrecords.ca/steamroller/2007/03/natalie-illeana.php - Worn Records


L. Kent Wolgomatt

A little GZO hype for Natalie

Over the last week, I've had a very good time getting to know Natalie Illeana and Greg Kincheloe, a couple who have put together one of Nebraska's BEST records of the year.

It's "Unbalanced" and is credit to Illeana, who is the singer and songwriter while Kincheloe produces and plays bass.

You can hear five songs from that record on the Ground Zero Live podcast that Alex and I recorded with Natalie and Greg this afternoon.

And you can see the video for "Grand Island" on GZO as well. To find it, look for the story I did on Natalie Illeana under the music section and click on the little video camera.

Last bit of shameless GZO promotion: check out Alex's review of the new Rooney album that came out today. He says it's really good.

1 comment
Comments:
1. Comment from: 6paxNgunrax
Now this is coverage of local music. A blog, an article, a
podcast, and one of Nat's videos. Ground Zero on-line rocks.
Thanks LKW.

I hope this is a sign of more of these kinds of "full-court
press" features to come.

- Lincoln Journal Star _Ground Zero Online



Musician Natalie Illeana shares enthusiasm for Lincoln scene
Written By Emma Petrie-Smith

Issue date: 1/29/08 Section: Features


Natalie Illeana has got things twisted. Literally.

The California native and enthusiastic musician plays her guitar left-handed and upside-down, which actually means it's strung like a right-handed guitar. Another part of Illeana's story that might seem a little out of the ordinary to most people is that she moved from the music hot-spot of California to get her career started in the great state of Nebraska.

She explained that her love for Nebraska's music scene is mostly because of the recent surge in enthusiasm of young artists and musicians. Because of the large number of older groups that are disbanding, she said, it seems like a lot of younger bands have surfaced.

"The musical tides have been pulling back," she said, "so we can all rise up together. I feel like we are coming into this wave at the crest. It's a great time to be in Nebraska."

Tonight, Illeana and her band will perform before Sounds Under Radio at Knickerbockers, 901 O St. Illeana's backup crew are Greg Kincheloe on bass guitar, Tim Konecky on lead guitar and Mike Green, who is making his debut with the band, on the drums.

Illeana's enthusiasm for music, especially performing locally, drips from every word when she's talking about it. If her own words aren't believable enough, listen to what music critic and friend of the group Rob Beals had to say about watching a live performance.

"I have rarely seen anyone who enjoys performing as much as Natalie and her band," he said. "The entire time on stage - and even after, when she is exhausted - there is a smile on her face and a radiance that just tells you that she loves what she is doing up there."

Beals went on to say that whether there are 2 or 200 people in the audience, Illeana puts on the same performance. Not only does she have a blast on stage, he said, but the audience does, too.

Another part of being a musician that Illeana feels passionate about is the growth of the local music scene and the positive relationships between local talent and the media.

"It would be great," she said, "if there were more places to play. I'd like to hear more music, interviews and promotion of Lincoln shows on KRNU as well as other local radio stations and media."

Playing at a variety of local venues, she said, is a great way to get connections started. It's an easy way to meet other bands, make new friends and generally have a good time, while getting the experience of performing on different stages.

Illeana's last album, "Unbalanced," was named one of Nebraska's Top 10 Records of 2007 by Journal Star music critic L.Kent Wolgamott, and the singer has already made some serious progress on her next album, which is due out sometime this year.

For a night full of high-energy performing and celebration of a lovely music scene, make sure to check out Illeana's show tonight.

As Illeana said, "Let's stick together."

emmapetrie-smith@dailynebraskan.com

The fine print

Natalie Illeana w/ Sounds Under Radio
Where: Knickerbockers, 901 O St.
When: Tonight at 9:30
How Much: $5, 18+



---------------------------------------------------------------
one correction: Natalie is not a California native.
But moved from California in 2005. - Daily Nebraskan UNL


Music Review from Sir Basil "Steelkilt" Pierport


also know as Lincoln's music scene guru -Rob Beals


Here it is:
Album Review: Natalie Illeana - Unbalanced

Natalie Illeana-Unbalanced
This review is far over due… but better late than never. Also, I would like to point out that this isn't just an album review, but a performer review, encompassing the album and live performance. So here we go
Natalie Illeana has done the unthinkable. Unlike most recording artists, Natalie took a rather unorthodox approach to her music career. The vast majority of artists move from wherever they hail from to one of the coasts to make their dreams come true. However, Natalie choose to come to the vast Great Plains of Nebraska to make her musical mark, from the sunny shores of California! I think that suits her just fine.
The album itself, Unbalanced, is in my humble opinion very impressive indeed. The production and sound quality are great, and the artists who play on it are amazing, two standouts included Greg Kincheloe, who also produced and mixed the album, and Tony Robertson.
One of the things that really attracted me to this album is Natalie's songwriting. It is always to good to see actual singer/songwriters out there who aren't afraid to put their innermost thoughts out there for the world to see. The thing about Natalie's songwriting style is it's honest. You honestly feel as if you are listening to leaves of her journal put to music. These pieces of prose put to music are sometimes simple, which is a very good thing, sometimes dark, an oft times subtle and beautiful.
Some of the tracks that really stand out include: Girl On the Bike, Words Seldom Spoken, Wave and Grand Island. Each of these songs offers up something different to the listener, something that in my case connects on a very deep level.
The first of these, Girl On The Bike, is fun. That's about as plainly as I can say it. It is a song that all of can relate to in some way, the yearning to go back and relive the innocence of youth and simple delights of games and the world around us. I especially like the use of what sounds like a child's xylophone, it really brings out the innocence of the song.
Words Seldom Spoken is simply a wonderful bit of poetry in sound. The lyrics are great, blending great imagery and heartfelt truth. Wave, is one of those songs that I really liked, and I am not sure why. I think, perhaps, it is the ethereal quality of the singing, the imagery of the lyrics and the overall music that all come together to create a wonderful track.
The stand out track on the album is Grand Island, which chronicles Natalie's journey to Nebraska. This is where the musicianship really stands out on the album. Greg's performance on the banjo and Tony's dobro playing are amazing, and perfectly matched with Natalie's lyrics and singing. The lyrics tell a story and it is vividly brought to life in the mind's eye and ear of the listener.
So, overall, what do I thing of Natalie Illeana's Unbalanced? I like it, and it was a hard road to get there. Allow me to explain. This is not the type of album that I would usually listen to. In fact, at first I thought it was just ok, but after listening to the album several times the songs grew on me, and let me tell you, they are definitely infectious.
***
Another factor that comes into play into me really liking this album is meeting Natalie herself. She is definitely one of those people who you just can't help but like. She has a bubbling enthusiasm for music that is contagious. This brings me to what really got me hooked on this album, her live performances. I have rarely seen anyone who enjoys performing as much as performing as Natalie and her band. The entire time on stage and even after when she is exhausted, there is a smile on her face, and a radiance that just tells you that she loves what she is doing up there.
She has fun on stage, and whether there are 2 or 200 people in the audience, she gives it her all. You have to respect that. Not only that, but the audience has fun too, which is why people go to shows after all, to hear good music and have a good time. Natalie certainly delivers on both points. So definitely go out and see Natalie Illeana live if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed. She definitely will go far in Lincoln local music scene, and go out and get her album Unbalanced which you can pick up at the shows or at Homer's in Lincoln or online at iTunes, CD Baby or Napster.

Written by Rob Beals - Rob Beals


Discography

"Unbalanced" was released on January 1st, 2007
Second Album to be released in 2008!

Song Requests available at 90.3 KRNU
and THE RIVER 89.7

Photos

Bio

"Natalie Illeana takes different genres to form eclectic sound for 'Unbalanced' debut album" writes L. Kent Wolgamott of the Lincoln Journal Star. Taking instant notice of the smile-beaming California girl who recently settled in Lincoln, Nebraska. Wolgamott continues, "Unbalanced is a 10-song CD that's a hard-to-pigeonhole mix of singer/songwriter pop, rock and even a little bit of country." A melodic, pop/rock album packed with guitar hooks that get in your head and won't let you sleep, Illeana is an undeniably talented word smith who possesses true prominence in the music business. "Unbalanced" was released on January 1st, 2007.

But if one must compare, Natalie Illeana and her band would best be described as Rilo Kiley meets the Rock-N-Roll heavyweights, The Supersuckers; hard-edged and catchy rock that is unambiguously softened by her tranquil/melodious voice and introspective lyrics.

Writing songs at the age of 14, Natalie was raised an MTV child, coming into bloom when she and the world were swept up in the Nirvana revolution. In addition to the grunge icons from Seattle, bands like Weezer, Green Day, S.T.P. and The Rentals were coming into the light of the early 90's rock sound. They would shape her style and raise the bar for meritorious song writing, creating her own, "Illeana Sound."

Living in Los Angeles in 2005, Natalie began working at a global satellite music provider called, DMX Music. It was there that she met Emmy nominated producer, Greg Kincheloe, who agreed to cut some demo's of her recent writings. Kincheloe, who recorded artists' such as Collective Soul, The Supersuckers, Tenacious D, Motorhead, Heart, Gene Simmons,Tracy Byrd, Big & Rich and Switchfoot to name a few, said that he had found a true "diamond in the rough". Instantly, they began on what would become Natalie Illeana's debut album, "Unbalanced". Soon after meeting, Illeana and Kincheloe would be laid off from DMX Music when they decided to relocate to the slower paced lifestyle of Kincheloe's native state, Nebraska. There, they would complete the recordings on their own Trax Studio label/production company, controlling all aspects of the recording including production, album art, web design and copy writing. A well balanced mixture of business woman and artist, Illeana also started her own, "Girl on the Bike Publishing" company and has proven to be an ambitious, self-contained music entity in control of her future.

Completing the debut album in a little over a year, "Unbalanced" was released on January 1st, 2007 when she instantly took the following month to promote the release. Distributing over 700 copies to local radio stations, record labels and music stores in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming, Natalie Illeana proves once again that she has the initiative to get the job done. In addition to distribution and live appearances, Illeana has already written and recorded the songs for her sophomore album, to be released in the fall, 2007. "The more you do something, the better you get at it" she describes the song writing process. "I wrote bad songs for years when I started and would like to think I have them all out of the way now."

"Bored", the first song on the debut is a light pop number about finding things to do in L.A. including the suggestion, "We can take our clothes off." Next, "Hunt To Kill" hits immediately with rippin' guitars and tells a harrowing table-turning story of an older guy and young woman in which, in the end, a "confident heroine kills off masculine." "Highschool", song number 3, is ringing guitar power-pop flashing back with revealing honesty - "School always sucked, but we had so much fun." Next, "Girl on the Bike" speaks of longing to be a kid again, incorporating a strong Beatles beat and overall feel to the song. The title track, "Unbalanced" refers to adjusting to a new lifestyle, "...thinking of you as no part of me" and utilizes a very "Foo-Fighter-like" electric guitar voicing. The very album-rock powered, "James Says" is yet again a great example of relationships gone wrong. Layered with swirly, overdriven electric guitars, the hooks are delicious and very contagious. "Words Seldom Spoken" is the most intricately written and orchestrated song on the album. Teaming up with Steve Espinosa - music composer for The Food Network's, "Unwrapped" show - this song is absolutely gorgeous utilizing epic dynamics. Adding even more "spice for the stew", the song, "Grand Island" takes one on an unexpected bluegrass venture, contemplating the overwhelming change of moving from Los Angeles to the plains of Nebraska. Ringing 3-finger banjo picking, dobro, upright bass and acoustic guitar put to a country shuffle beat make "Grand Island" a very happy and bouncy song that many claim to be their favorite. Finally, "Wave" - a song which inspired Illeana while skateboarding in a swimming p