EXCLUSIVE: NATALI IS READY FOR THE RIDE OF HER LIFE 0 189

Twenty-year-old Natali Felicia is keeping busy. Not only is she working towards establishing herself in the music industry, she is, by her own admission: “working in a clothing boutique as well as at a café on Södermalm.” She is also a woman of many passions, including but not limited to “travel, exploring new places and meeting new people.” She adds: “I also love vinyls, yoga and Netflix.”

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When asked about what makes her unique in terms of the music she’s creating, she’s reluctant to say much, but she does admit: “I have my own voice and my own way of expressing myself…my own personality, you know? We’re all unique creatures with unique personalities. I’ve started to create my own world in music, though I think that is a constant journey.”

She lists her influences as Mazzy Star, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell and The Cardigans. “They’re bands and artists that have been a big part of my life growing up,” she says. “I have always listened to very different kinds of music in different time periods. In recent years, I have started to listen more and more to a lot of Scandi artists such as Ane Brun, Nikki And The Dove, Fever Ray and Jenny Wilson – lovely, strong women with interesting ways of expression and interesting personalities.”

Natali’s family are artistic and such creativity has had a big impact on her as she carved out her own career, as she explains: “My dad has always been working within drama and theatre. I believe that has opened up a creative world for me. I have always loved to express myself through different creative ways: playing theatre, writing and I practiced figure skating for quite a long time. Music and singing was something I first started to explore more about six years ago when my friends in school told me I had a good voice and that I should sing more. That really motivated me to continue and explore it further.” So did she enjoy music in school? It would seem not. “It wasn’t my favourite subject,” she confesses. “I moved to Stockholm five years ago, got a guitar, joined a creative writing group and a couple of choirs, one among them a gospel choir. Eventually I started to write my own songs and performing them at different musical events, open mic shows etc. Things started to click.”

Reflecting on the first album she bought, it takes her a minute to remember. “The Beatles 1967-1970’ – I had asked for it for my 10th birthday. My dad always listened to The Beatles in the car. I loved that and I know all the songs by heart. As soon as I got home from school or practice I listened to this album in my room as I just lay on the bed, studied or whatever.  I guess this is where the interest of music started growing – as I started to really listen to the lyrics, singing along and picturing the songs in scenes before me.” She also remembers seeing The Sounds live in Stockholm and muses: “I thought Maja, the lead singer, was awesome and that I really liked their sound. I remember that was when my dreams of being in a band started…”

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So when it comes to her song-writing influences, which would she say comes top? “That would ultimately be the different experiences through life,” she says quite seriously. “Sometimes it´s an easy process and sometimes it’s very hard. Often I write down something I think about- different phrases I come up with in the moment. And then I sit down and try to figure out what it is I actually want to say… eventually these phrases start to come together. Then, I might share the idea with a producer and we can continue to develop that further. I like to co-write – when you can have an open dialogue through the process with someone and try to see the lyrics through different perspectives. It’s a varied process for me as I think it is for a lot of people.”

When asked to pick which one of her songs she’s most proud of, she pauses for a moment. “That’s hard,” she admits, “But ‘Used To Be’ is a song very close to my heart. It’s a song that was left to rest and evolve for a few years before it came to be what it is today. And that’s what’s so beautiful I think with the process it went through, the fact that it wasn’t hurried. I had to grow and develop myself before I felt this song and I were ready to be heard by the rest of the world.”

So does she find it easier to pick her favourite song by another artist? Not really. “I have many favourite songs. But if I have to pick one, I would say ‘Both Sides Now’ by Joni Mitchell. It contains such brilliant lyrics about life and love. What I think is so interesting is when listening to her first recording of it from the album ‘Clouds in 69’ and comparing it to the recording from the album ‘Both Sides Now in 2000’, you can really hear how she’s grown and actually got more experience of life in the expression of her voice and singing. She and her music are just brilliant.”

Hailing from Sweden, unsurprisingly she grew up listening to Abba while other artists such as Robyn have also gone on to achieve huge success. Is she proud of that success and how does she feel now she’s on her own music path? “I’m so proud of the fact that this small country is delivering such good music and the artists are doing so well internationally. It is a tough world and competition is tough out there. So it is definitely inspiring to see how we Swedes find our way into it.” She adds, after a pause: “I believe Swedes, in general, are very open and social. We’re a very multi-cultural country. We travel a lot, are curious, open to meet new people, open minded and very dedicated. Still we’re quite down to earth and humble. I think maybe that makes us interesting and lively to work with.”

As a keen user of social media, she admits: “Social media platforms are a vital part of the connection between me and the listeners. I have quite mixed feelings regarding managing the socials though. On one hand I think it can be quite fun, as I like to take photos and write. But on the other hand, it takes a great deal of time and energy. Nowadays you see people staring down at their iPhones and iPads etc all the time and that scares me a bit. I believe it is about finding a good balance in all this sharing and connecting so it doesn’t take over your life.”

Having recently taken a trip to London, did she enjoy it and does she hope to come back? “Absolutely!” she cries. “That was a fun but very short trip! I love London and the English people. I would very much like to be back soon again. I got such a wonderful response to ‘Used To Be’ from the UK, I would love to come and play in London and other cities in the country sometime. I’ve recently played a show supporting Paolo Nutino in Stockholm, and I’m playing a festival there too shortly which will be fun, but aside from that, I don’t quite know what my live show plans are. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted though! Playing live is hugely important to me as it gives me a chance to meet and interact with fans as well as my band. I dream of touring internationally, so hopefully I can work my way towards fulfilling that. Ultimately, I’m excited for what lies ahead, but like to enjoy each and every day. At the moment, my focus is on my new single ‘Easy Ride’ which I am thrilled to be releasing soon. I hope everyone likes it!”

Easy Ride is available on August 5.

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P!NK CONFIRMED TO PERFORM AT 2019 BRITS; RECIPIENT OF OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC AWARD 0 22

We are thrilled to announce that multi-million selling global pop icon P!NK will be honoured with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at this year’s ceremony. P!NK will be the first international artist to receive this award.

Seven studio albums and one greatest hits album on since her debut in 2000, totalling over 60 million global sales, over 8 million in the UK alone along with over 12 million UK single sales, P!NK is a musical force to be reckoned with. With seven Top Five albums – with two going No. 1 (Funhouse and the most recent platinum-certified Beautiful Trauma), three UK No. 1 singles (‘Just Like A Pill’, ‘So What’, ‘Lady Marmalade’) and 32 Top 40 singles, 19 of which going Top 10, including ‘Try’, ‘Just Give Me A Reason’ and ‘What About Us’, P!NK has become one of the UK’s best-selling female artists and one of the world’s greatest singers, with her inimitable powerhouse vocals and show-stopping stage performances.
 
Over 2 million tickets sold in the UK alone to date, nine BRIT nominations, and one win for International Female Solo Artist in 2003, and a string of other prestigious awards and accolades including three GRAMMY awards (20 nominations) and two Billboard Music Awards, P!NK’s career sees no sign of letting up with her first UK stadium tour in five years booked for this summer, including two nights at London’s Wembley Stadium.
 
P!NK said: “I am so honored to be recognized with the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award at the 2019 BRITs! Since the beginning of my career the British fans have been some of the most fierce and loyal in the world. I am humbled to receive this honor and be in the company of an illustrious group of British icons!”

BRITs Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Sony Music UK and Ireland Jason Iley said: “P!NK is a trailblazer, a phenomenally talented singer and songwriter, and truly one of the greatest artists of our time.  It is a real pleasure to honour her at this year’s BRIT Awards with the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award. With her remarkable career spanning nearly 20 years, P!NK is one of the most successful artists in the world, consistently releasing multi-million-selling albums and selling out tours all over the globe. I am really excited to welcome her back to The BRITs and to recognise her prodigious success.”
 
P!NK joins an illustrious list of previous BRIT Awards Outstanding Contribution to Music recipients including Sir Elton John, David Bowie, Queen, Spice Girls, U2, Sir Paul McCartney, Oasis, Robbie Williams and Blur. The award was rested in 2013 to make way for a Special Recognition for War Child to mark the charity’s 20th anniversary. P!NK will be the first international artist to receive the honour, a decision taken by The BRITs committee to open the award up to overseas acts who have achieved long term success in the UK, and P!NK will be awarded in recognition of her significant impact on British music and her incredible musical repertoire over the past two decades.

Like all winners on the night, P!NK will be presented with an exclusive trophy designed for this year only by Sir David Adjaye OBE, and she will close the show with an exclusive performance on the night, showcasing her extraordinary talent which continues to wow audiences all over the world.

MATT DOBKIN CHATS ‘SIX SONGS OF PROTEST’ & HIS VIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA 0 28

Music has always been an outlet for artists keen to share their views – personal, political and everything in between – and for Matt Dobkin, thanks to his new, upcoming EP Six Songs Of Protest, it’s allowed him to express himself in exactly the way he wishes to be heard. Frustrated and shocked by the outcome of the 2016 US election and all that has occurred and impacted both the States and the world since, his new collection addresses issues such as police brutality, the environment and White House corruption. Having just released the first single from the EP, “They Warned Us”, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Matt to delve a little deeper into his political views, the impact of social media on his career and how happy he is to see more of his artistic counterparts speaking out about issues that matter.

TITL: Hi Matt. Sum yourself up in a few words for me please.

Matt Dobkin: Right now? In 2019? Pissed off.

TITL: What would you say is your unique selling point as an artist? What makes you stand out? 

MD: My aim as an artist right now is to express my frustration, distress, and anger with the current state of the world. And I think – or at least hope! – that that’s a selling point, because I’m certainly not alone. I would like to think that my voice, lyrics, and political point of view might, to some small degree in today’s landscape, help me stand out.

TITL: Growing up, which bands and artists were you most inspired by and how do those inspirations influence the music you make now? 

MD: How much space do you have? As a very little kid, I would listen to whatever was on pop radio and sing along; whether that was Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, or Eagles. I was a total 80s pop obsessive: Prince, Michael, post-Barracuda pop Heart, Yaz, U2, and George Michael. In high school, I got the retro jazz/soul bug and I became fixated on Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. I discovered Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and I “came home” to the 60s/70s soul space that would become – and remain – my main inspiration. But, I also had a classical-music background and I’m sure that all these various influences have informed what I do now. It’s a big ol’ mash-up, as it is for most musicians.

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing? With that in mind, which song would you say is the greatest ever written and why?

MD: Greatest song ever written? Impossible to answer. Different songs evoke different feelings and mean different things to different people. Not to be a killjoy, but I’m not really into pitting one song against another. In terms of my personal inspirations, I have two different lists, the “singing” list and the “songwriting” list. As a singer, Aretha Franklin tops the list, followed closely by Al Green and Sam Cooke. As a songwriter, Prince and Joni Mitchell, which I realize sounds absurd as I’m barely fit to sweep their floors. Marvin Gaye manages to straddle both lists.

TITL: Tell me a little about your latest single “They Warned Us.” What’s the story behind it?

MD: “They Warned Us” is the first single off my forthcoming EP, Six Songs of Protest. But the song that really launched the project for me is called “Organize.” It’s inspired by Gloria Steinem and really set the tone for the whole release. Once I had committed to the idea of an all-protest-song project, I started listening to A LOT of old classic songs of resistance. Much like Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn”, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”, and many more. I started to realize that all the issues I wanted to address in these songs had already been dealt with by these great artists, not to mention Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, etc. So the idea behind “They Warned Us” was very simple, all the problems we’re facing now, we also faced years ago. And all this stuff I want to address now was addressed decades ago. Marvin, Nina, and Dylan warned us years ago about the scenarios we find ourselves dealing with today. Nothing has changed.

TITL: As you mentioned, you’ve got an EP, Six Songs of Protest coming out soon. Without giving too much away in terms of its content, what can fans expect from the collection?

MD: In addition to “They Warned Us” and “Organize”, which is a very pointed critique of the American president. Featuring a circa-1972 sample from Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to throw her hat into the ring for U.S. president. There’s a song about the environment – “Earthquake and Hurricanes”-, a gay rights song – “The Ramble” -, a song criticizing the epidemic of police murders of black Americans – “Paid Administrative Leave” – and a cover of the great Phil Ochs’s “Power and the Glory.” You know, just fun, light, frothy entertainment.

TITL: Which of the songs on the EP might you say you’re most proud of/connected to and why?

MD: I’m really happy with how “Organize” turned out. The groove, the lyrics, and not to mention the background vocals of Teresa Stanley. She’s a killer female gospel/soul vocalist always adds authority to a song.

TITL: Your music is “overtly” political – not that that’s a bad thing in this day and age – but do you wish other artists would share such powerful and important messages through their work, or are you happy to be one of the few leading the charge?

MD: Thank you, but I wouldn’t say I’m “leading the charge.” I’m hardly alone in trying to get these messages across. I think we’re in a moment where a lot of artists – whether musicians, writers, visual artists, whatever – are addressing the kinds of political and social problems we’re all assaulted by every time we open the newspaper or a web browser. I’m genuinely excited by the fact that so many different creative people, across genres and disciplines, are finding ways to resist.

TITL: What is your tour/performance schedule for the months ahead looking like? Which one venue would you most like to play and why?

MD: I like small, intimate shows, where it’s easy to connect directly with your audience. So, I’m angling for Joe’s Pub here in New York City. But if Madison Square Garden or the O2 Centre came calling, I wouldn’t be averse…

TITL: It could be argued that social media is all but taking over the world – and certainly industries like the music business. How do you personally feel about society’s connection and obsession with the likes of Twitter? How has and does it impact your ability to reach an audience?

MD: I have friends who refuse to be on social media, and I really admire their ability to steer clear and not get sucked in. But, it’s impossible to get your music out and your message across without Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s incredibly helpful in reaching people, so I can’t complain.

TITL: Are there any other plans or projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

MD: I am completely focused on Six Songs of Protest at the moment and whatever small ways I can help prevent a re-election.

TITL: Finally then, with seemingly no end in sight to the political turmoil the world finds itself dealing with, where do you see your music going in future? Are there any other causes or views you’re maybe looking to support through future releases, and with that in mind, many years from now, what one thing would you most like people to say about you/remember you for in terms of your career and artistic legacy?

MD: When I first started singing and writing songs, I had no ambition to get into this political realm, but it’s feeling like a pretty good fit. I’m sure that, even when our idiot president has been expelled from office, I’ll find some other situation to be outraged by and respond to in music. Or maybe I’ll just want to sing cheesy love songs. We’ll just have to see!

Check out “They Warned Us” below and for more information on Matt Dobkin, visit his website, follow him on Instagram or give his page a like on Facebook.