Natalie Shay is a 21 year old indie pop/rock artist hailing from North London. The multi award-winning musician has established an ever-growing presence, media acclaim and a loyal fanbase through her explosive live performances and viral-worthy anthems, recognising her as one of the UKs hottest emerging talents.
Combining her youthful and charismatic aura with her classical training and time spent at the prestigious BRIT School, Shay has finessed the ability to produce undeniably catchy music, whilst maintaining a musical maturity. Compared to the likes of Haim, Little Comets and Fickle Friends, the Londoner has absorbed a similar energy and dynamic within her new music.
Shay's upcoming EP NAKED is a five-track release delving into the everyday experiences of a 21 year old, detailing relationships and life as a young musician. Continuing the songwriter's love of 80's soaked music, NAKED cleverly blends the best of era with modern flares. Shay expresses, "I love authentic 80s synth and drum sounds, but I also love modern pop vocal lines and effects. And of course lots of guitars. I try to include a flavour of each of those things in my music. It was very important to me that all of the songs had their own unique stamp and vibe but still all fitted and worked together under the same project".
Leading single "Not The Girl" narrates the relatable situation of modern dating, but through a fun and lighthearted lens. "This song was written on reflection of a relationship, but more from a perception of understanding rather than a big 'f*ck you", shares the singer. However, years after finishing the song, Shay realised that the lyrics now took on a whole different meaning, depicting the feeling of sometimes not feeling good enough and frustrations towards working relationships. Sonically "Not The Girl" features upbeat buoyant melodies, effortless vocals and vivid storytelling lyrics.
"Owe It To You" shows a more heartfelt side of Shay's songwriting, emitting a raw and truly personal essence. Thematically the single is about being in a relationship and struggling to resist temptation. Title track "Naked" shares the topic with "Owe It To You", illustrating the breakdown in a relationship, knowing you have interest elsewhere but struggling to let go for the fear of being alone. The single sees Shay's first time including brass instruments in her music, bringing the song to life through a vibrant saxophone solo.
Shay sold out two headline shows in 2019, with her music continuing to pique the interest of notable publications such as Billboard, Clash and The Line of Best Fit. To date she has collectively amassed hundreds of thousands of streams, with her single 'Yesterday' being placed in Spotify's New Music Friday playlist in nine countries. Natalie Shay is a force to be reckoned with and we can't wait to see what 2020 has in store. NAKED is slated for release 17th April with an EP release show at Camden Assembly on the 16th April (tickets available on DICE).
Question: Can you tell us about Not The Girl?
Natalie Shay: I wrote Not The Girl about two years ago, it was initially written about someone I had been seeing who I liked much more than they liked me, I remind to write songs about people or situations as it really helps me with getting over people and pretty much every time after writing a song about someone, I feel nothing for them the next day. However two years on and having no opinion on that boy anymore (laughs), I found the lyrics could apply to my current emotions of not always feeling good enough; this was the monologue for the music video (which is out now).
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Natalie Shay: Always live every-time, recording is just something I have to do to enable me to play live, there's a thrill you get from playing live that I don't get from anywhere else.
Question: What should we expect from your upcoming tour?
Natalie Shay: First time playing the EP so an almost entirely new set! Can't wait to play these songs live, I've been keeping them secret for months.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Natalie Shay: I have an unreleased song I wrote when I was 15 called 'Love Can Be Replaced' I still play it at every gig, it has always been my favourite song to perform, I hope I can record it one day, I'm only hesitant because I want to capture the exact energy I have been playing it live for when I finally record it.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Natalie Shay: My cat, always wished she'd come to a show.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Natalie Shay: Emotion and an urgency to document my entire life and every emotional milestone through song.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Natalie Shay: Taylor swift, HAIM, and a lot of musicals.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Natalie Shay: My Dad and Taylor Swift.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Natalie Shay: Gary Lightbody, Snow Patrol.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Natalie Shay: Every day is different, which is part of the fun and stress of it all. At the moment there's a lot of admin work to do around the EP and preparing releases, I'm very involved with every aspect of my career and like to create and plan everything myself, I've also been doing a lot of writing sessions as I've already started thinking about what might be coming next.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Natalie Shay: It's what I have always done I guess, I can't really imagine doing anything else as this has always been my work since I was 13, but I suppose my favourite part has been seeing how it's gone from singing into a webcam aged 11 in my room to releasing my first EP on a really amazing label, sometimes I forget to appreciate the journey, but the journey is fun.
Question: Can you share your socials?
Natalie Shay: @natalieshaymusic/
Interview by Brooke Hunter