Natalie York
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Natalie York

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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"Natalie York performs “Three Days John” with new Southern Session"

Brooklyn-based songwriter Natalie York was the recent subject of one of Southern Manner’s Southern Sessions. York was in Nashville for a few days, and we had the opportunity to catch up with her for the song,”Three Days John” from her 2014 release, Promises. York will be back in town in the coming months as part of a tour supporting her album, but for more information, visit natalieyork.com. - Southern Manners


"Fans Fund Singer's Album"

When it comes to releasing a record some artists are depending on the kindness of strangers. That's what singer, songwriter Natalie York did with her second album, PROMISES. - WUSA9


"Talking to Natalie York About Her Music and Her New Album "Promises""

It’s hard to categorize an artist like Natalie York.

The Vienna native’s 2010 album “Threads” is a collection of bluesy, Motown-esque modern jazz ballads and smooth vocals. But York says her new album is full of grit and guitar solos made to express her other musical side. - Northern Virginia Magazine


"We Love Music: Natalie York"

Natalie York wants to rock. That’s her goal. And in a climate chock full of male rockers, her goal isn’t unfathomable but rather something to respect, admire, and follow.

This past week, York released her second full-length album titled “Promises,” which is an album crafted with that exact goal in mind – rocking out.

When York released her first album in 2010, the collection of songs ended up being a production effort associated with her final senior project at the University of Miami. While proud of the efforts on that debut album, York is finally ready for chapter two of her young and promising music career. - We Love DC


"Natalie York Finds Her Voice: The 22-year old Vienna native is already making a big splash on the alt-country scene"

Not many aspiring singer/songwriters get to perform with Bruce Hornsby and Shawn Colvin while still in college. But 22-year-old Vienna native Natalie York had an early start: She’s been writing songs since age 13, when she attended a summer workshop with singer/songwriter Tom Prasada-Rao at the University of Virginia. “I was the youngest student there, so I was really in over my head,” York says. “But I fell in love with it.”

Her debut CD, Threads, came out last year and was named one of the area’s best alt-country albums of 2010 by the Washington Post. York’s voice is often compared to that of Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt, but she credits a Washington artist for inspiration: “I grew up listening to Eva Cassidy and am just in awe of her.”

Having graduated from the songwriting program at the University of Miami, York is back home in Vienna working on new material. - Washingtonian


"Vienna woman's ambition strikes a chord: 21-year-old hopes to hit it big with debut album"

The girl next door has written a new album, and she wants you to hear it.

"Threads," a 12-track album, is a culmination of musical efforts by 21-year-old Vienna resident Natalie York, who graduated from James Madison High School in 2007.

"There are threads of different music [styles] that have come together," said York, who graduated from with a degree in music from the University of Miami in December and is the first alumna of Grammy-winner Bruce Hornsby's Creative American Music program at the school. The York paid for the production of her first album by working as an usher and supervisor at Wolf Trap during the past three summers.

With influences like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and American folk, rhythm and blues, York said she would rather be compared to Carole King, 68, than today's pop princesses.

When pressed, she says her musical-sound is a hybrid of Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones.

"There are so many brilliant, brilliant song writers, but I really want to sound like myself at the end of the day," York said.

Now at home in Vienna, with a new album and music degree in hand, York is pushing to promote her work.

"At this point, I want as many people as possible to hear [the album]. I want to get it in as many hands as possible," said York, who will be performing at Jammin' Java in Vienna on Feb. 11, nearly two months after she performed there Dec. 30. "If it blew up, that would be the best-case scenario -- or if it were like Carole King's 'Tapestry,' where everything on that album is a hit."

Those who have followed York's music progression throughout the years say they are not surprised to see her go pro.

"She's always had a lot of talent," said Madison High School Band Director Michael Hackbarth, who oversaw York when she played saxophone in the school's jazz band. "This is a great kid. ... What was neat about Natalie is when she started singing with the jazz band, she didn't have any formal vocal training. But she clearly had talent. She's kind of a diamond in the rough."

Hackbarth said through studying saxophone, piano and later guitar, York had a strong music foundation to launch her creativity.

Hackbarth said of each year's graduating class, only one or two students go on to pursue music careers.

"Am I surprised about Natalie's music ambitions? No," he said, adding his current students "think this is sort of cool, to see one of the kids that went through the band doing well."

Looking back on York's childhood, her mother, Becky York, said there were signs of music performance success ahead.

"Our first clue of Natalie as a performer, though we didn't recognize it at the time, was when she was about 5, singing a solo in the children's musical at our church. The microphone didn't come on initially, but it didn't faze her," said Becky York. "She went on to belt out a song."

York began regularly writing songs after attending the University of Virginia's Young Writers Workshop when she was 13. Combined with music programs within the Fairfax County Public Schools system, Becky York said her daughter benefited from music mentors who encouraged her to keep creating.

The next step for Natalie York is to continue promoting her album at local venues while writing for the next album.

"There are a lot of obstacles. I think the biggest one is getting people to give you a chance," she said. York is looking to move to cities with prominent music scenes like New York, Nashville and Austin.

"I'm not going to be here forever," she said. "I'll be playing songs at Jammin' Java ... it's really important for me to have a base here."

To learn more about Natalie York, visit her on Facebook or Myspace.

hhobbs@fairfaxtimes.com - Fairfax Times


"Profile: Singer/Songwriter Natalie York"

This Vienna Native has got the voice, songwriting ability and know-how to make it big. With the release of her first album at the age of only 21, she is quickly crooning her way toward a bright future in the music industry. - Northern Virginia Magazine


"Natalie York kicks off Jonny Lang's blues with a bang"

Don't arrive late to the Jonny Lang show.

Not only do you not want to miss a note of Lang's blues, but you'll want to catch the opening set by local up-and-comer Natalie York. You may know the Vienna native from her various East Coast gigs and her recent debut album "Threads." As both a headliner and supporting act for Bruce Hornsby, Jim Lauderdale, Shawn Colvin and other much-lauded musicians, York's own alt-country sound has won her plenty of buzz.

"The songs have evolved," said Lang of the music that she wrote for her album, which she released at the end of last year. "We have a lot of these songs more electrified, we kick up the tempo a bit and they have gotten to become a different beast. ... [When I recorded the album], I tried to keep things as simple as possible and leave a lot of space. I'm glad I did that ... but it's taught me a lot about how songs are never really finished."

It's correct to say that York learned from the best as a graduate of the University of Miami's Frost School of Music's Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music program. While in the program, York not only fine-tuned her songwriting and musical artistry but studied the sound of musical pioneers including the Carter Family and Bill Monroe.

Although something of a progeny, York's interests and efforts were more focused on jazz before she entered the music program. Although she had success in that arena, the music program allowed York to throw herself into other musical genres. Soon she developed a distinct musical sound of her home, something of a cross between Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt that has won the alt-country label from some.

"I think a lot of people have trouble pinpointing what it is that I do," she said of her music's alt-country classification. "When I first heard that I thought 'That's interesting, and it's probably the best category for my music now.' But I'm still young and still learning so much. I want to do as many different things as possible to develop my [music]."

For now that means constantly seeking opportunities to play her music and looking toward her musical idols including Grace Potter, Tina Turner and James Brown, for ways to best develop her live performances.

"I just want to write and plays as much as possible," said York. "Those are really my main short-term goals."

Natalie York opening for Jonny Lang
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday
Where: Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Info: $49.50; 202-397-SEAT; ticketmaster.com - The Washington Examiner


"DC's Best Alt-Country Albums of 2010"

Natalie York's soulful and warm vocals are the main draw on her debut album. The Vienna native has a sophisticated palette that incorporates elements of bouncy R&B into her acoustic-based songs. - The Washington Post


Discography

PROMISES - January 2014

Threads - December 2010

Photos

Bio

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Natalie York had a seismic artistic epiphany making her latest album, Promises. Previously, the Brooklyn-based artist garnered accolades for her quiet-fire aesthetic, a mix of contemporary folk and simmering Stax soul. But, for her sophomore record, she decided to do something bold Natalie decided to make a rock record filtered through her distinct Americana vision.

Natalie grew up in the Washington DC area, and established herself in the local scene. She's been covered by such respected media outlets as The Washington Post, DC Music Download, and Washingtonian Magazine. The Washington Post has called Natalie's debut: One of the best local releases of 2010, and praised her soulful and warm vocals and sophisticated palette. Natalie has earned favorable comparisons to Grace Potter, Norah Jones, and Bonnie Raitt. She studied jazz at the University of Miami, and was the first graduate from the distinguished institution's Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music Program. In addition to press plaudits and academic accomplisments, Natalie has established a highly credible artist profile through performing and working with such diverse talents as Jonny Lang, Bruce Hornsby, Shawn Colvin, Lamont Dozier, Jim Lauderdale, Jon Secada, and Phil Ramone.

Initially, the plan for her follow-up album was to record in a church, with acoustic instrumentation and one microphone in order to distill her smoldering Americana down to its bare essentials. But, she realized, that approach wouldn't be authentic to her artistic journey that approach would only represent half of the inspiration equation. It would capture the spirit of formative influences like Dinah Washington, Karen Dalton, and Ralph Stanley, but it wouldn't capture her love of brasher artists like Wilson Pickett and AC/DC. One night at a bar, producer/indie rock singer-songwriter Russ Flynn overheard Natalie discussing this quandary with friends and offered to produce her. "I never thought he'd follow up," Natalie says, laughing. "It just seemed like one of those wild propositions people make at 2 AM."

But Russ would prove to be the ideal creative foil for Promises. As an indie rocker with a degree in jazz arranging, he helped enliven her signature, sophisticated accessibility with big electric-guitar riffs and punchy horn arrangements.

Promises was recorded live in communal congeniality in the Catskills at Old Soul Studios. Throughout the sessions, the studio band, which featured Russ Glass Elephant bandmates Danny Wolf, drums and Sam Petitti, guitar, along with bassist James Quinlan and guitarist/singer-songwriter Jon Paul, lived together and ate together with Russ as the chef. This atmosphere made an indelible imprint on the record. Tracks like "Promises" and "Wheels" have grace and grit. The latter tunes gutbucket slide guitars curling around Natalie's unique whiskey and honey vocals make it the optimum bridge between her past work and her current more muscular musicality.

Much of the album was written about romantic mis-steps and false-starts. The weary emotionality of it all is best expressed on the stunning "Lickety Split." "That song is about the fantasy connections we concoct in our minds before we even know a person. Like when you think you can see a whole relationship play out before you're even friends," Natalie says with a good-natured laugh.

Promises may seem like a brave step for Natalie, but it's really a natural progression in her artistic evolution, and she will always cherish that album-making time she had in the Catskills because it allowed her to authentically further her creative continuum. "We recorded daily from noon to 10 PM," she recalls. "After the sessions, we would all lie in front of a wood-burning stove and listen to Pink Floyd on vinyl. That's my fondest memory. Everything just felt so right."

Band Members