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Q&A with Natalie Royal

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FOLLOW NATALIE!

 

 

1. Tell us about how you were discovered. How would you describe your music?

Maybe the best way for me to start this would be to say that I discovered my love for writing songs and performing at a very early age. I can vividly remember coming up with songs on the school bus on the way home from elementary school and thinking they would FOR SURE be the next number one hit. Not sure what content I had to base my songs off of at age 5, but it probably had something to do with not being able to sit with my friends at lunch time or not wanting to take my nap. (Aka: DEFINITELY number one hits).

When I was 11, I “borrowed” my mom’s beautiful cherry red Guild guitar and taught myself the most basic of chords (probably C, G, and D). Once I was able to play along with these melodies and ideas I had floating in my head, I was off to the races! I won a talent show competition when I was 12 years old (by far the youngest of the other competitors), and it was then that I realized I could actually do this for a living. I found what I truly love in life, and I’m so thankful I stumbled upon it at an early age. So, to answer your question, I’m not sure when I was “discovered”. But I do know when I discovered the power of music.

Through the years, my musical style has gone through some changes, but I’ll always consider myself rooted in folk music. That’s what growing up with a mom who blares Joni Mitchell and Alison Krauss constantly will do to you! But today, I call myself a Pop Folk artist. Or, to get real for a second – I call it Gut Folk (folk with a lot of gutsiness to it).

2. What inspires you most to write? Describe your songwriting process. Do you write the music or the lyrics first?

Like many artists, I gather my inspiration from every day life — the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome. There are so many stories that have still yet to be told, and I’m constantly searching for them. Something that may seem meaningless and minuscule to one person could be extremely important to the next person. I just try to remind myself of this every time I sit down to write. If it seems like a stupid idea, who cares? I bet SOMEBODY would love to hear a song about.

And writing is also my way of connecting with the people around me. I am not a “wear my heart on my sleeve” kinda gal all the time. I like to put a smile on and be the positive light that so many people see me as. This is great, except for when I need to get a little bit of the “bad and the ugly” out. That’s where songwriting comes in! It’s my form of journaling, in a way. And if someone else listening to my words can find something that resonates with them, even better!
PS – I am ALWAYS a “melody first, lyrics second” songwriter. I will come up with melodies when I’m driving in my car, sing them until I’m at my destination, record them so I don’t forget, and then go back to them a bit later when I have a concept for a song and need a good melody to go with it. If the lyrics flow out with the melody with ease, I know it’s a perfect match!

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3. Who are some of your favorite bands/artists? Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with?

This is always such a tricky question for me, because I truly do find inspiration from so many different kinds of artists. I love bluegrass (Alison Krauss and The Punch Brothers), soul (Etta James and Sam Cooke), folk (Laura Marling and Feist), and even R & B (D’Angelo).

But if I had to pick just ONE to collaborate with, I’d have to go with Feist. I have always admired her songwriting and the ease at which her vocals just float over such interesting and complex instrumental lines. I feel like she is the kind of person who is constantly pushing her bounds of creativity, and I’d love to even just breathe in the same room as her (let alone collaborate with her)!

4. How would you describe your personal style? Do you prefer to wear jeans, dresses, flats, heels, etc..?

I would LOVE to say that I am a pro in high heels and could wear dresses every day for the rest of my life. I definitely do this from time to time, but I love to start with comfort. If the outfit is ALSO cool, then I have found the best of both worlds.

I have always been wary of jumping on the latest trend, because in my mind, it’s going to be out of style in two seconds… But I’m also the girl who didn’t get an iPod until 2009, because I thought they were just a fad (so don’t take my fashion advice). I do have to say, though, that I’m super excited about this whole “70s revival” thing that’s happening right now. Fringe and bell bottoms? Ummm yes please.

5. What are your top 5 skincare/makeup products?

1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. I have pretty sensitive skin, and I LIVE for this stuff. I wash my face with it every single night before bed, and it makes my skin feel like a baby’s bottom (sort of).

2. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. This is a lightweight foundation that covers without making me feel like I have 50 pounds of makeup on my face. AND it has 20 SPF, so I’m protecting my delicate skin from the sun’s evil rays.

3. Revlon Colorstay Eye Liner. This is my go-to drugstore eye liner, and it seriously does wonders. The color truly does stay from the moment I put it on to the moment I take it off.

4. Great Lash Mascara. Duh. This is a given. Anyone who has ever worn mascara has probably encountered this magical product at some point!

5. Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipstick, Dark Wine. Ummm okay. Who knew that $1 lipstick would be so AWESOME. Really. I have tons of lipstick, and this is forever and always my go-to when I need to give my face a boost. Try it. You can thank me later.

 

DSC_34086. How do you stay healthy and fit? Do you do yoga or follow a special diet?

I was a competitive gymnast up until about age 11, and even though I no longer do backflips on balance beams, I never really let the physical fitness part of the sport leave my life. I try to stay active as much as possible – whether it’s taking a yoga class or going for a jog with friends. Even just walking to the restaurant that is a mile away for dinner, rather than drive there. I love to walk. Just ask my husband – I force him to walk with me every chance I get! Every little bit makes a difference.

I also LOVE to cook. I have a tendency to take recipes and try to “health-ify” them in some way. This could mean throwing in some spinach or cutting out half of the butter. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t! Once again, just ask my husband. He’s a good sport and will eat anything, but even I have to admit that sometimes brownies should just be what they are – fattening and delicious.

7. Are you a natural red head? The live performance shot (Facebook 2013) with red hair is stunning!  The blond and brown looks amazing as well. Do you have a color preference?

I am actually a natural blonde/brunette, with a little bit of red mixed in. Not sure if that fully answers your question, but regardless, thank you! It’s funny – Up until a couple of years ago, I was absolutely terrified of coloring my hair. But I guess it’s kind of like eating potato chips… Once you start, you can’t stop. Right now, I’m  super blonde and absolutely love it.

8. What do you enjoy most about performing? Do you prefer performing or recording in the studio?

My favorite part of every performance is when I am a few notes into the song, and I am able to truly be IN the moment. I could be shaking in my boots from nervousness, but if I can get through those first few notes, I am able to settle into this relaxed feeling that is a little difficult to describe. It’s me, my guitar, my voice, and my song. Nothing else matters.

It’s amazing how I can write a song with one intention in mind, and over time, the song can morph into some completely different meaning. Or maybe my words are interpreted in an entirely different way by an audience member. There is no greater feeling than knowing that your song has made an impact on someone.

I have to say that I love both recording in the studio and performing live, because they are each such unique experiences. When I’m in the recording studio, I’m able to collaborate with other musicians and transform my songs into works of art. When I’m performing live, I get the opportunity to connect with a crowd who is there to listen to the stories I have to tell.

 

 

9. Tell us about some of your upcoming projects and what we can expect from you!

I am extremely excited to announce that my next full-length album, Harbinger, is complete! I’m hoping to release the first single sometime in November, and the official album release date will be in February of 2016. I. CAN’T. WAIT.

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10. What piece of advice can you give to aspiring artists trying to make it in the industry?

There are 2 things that I always have to remind myself of (sometimes daily):

1. NEVER stop writing. Write, write, write, write, write. Every single day. Even if it’s two sentences on a piece of cardboard you found on the sidewalk. Just keep writing. You never know when you will stumble upon the  hook for your next song!

2. Stop comparing yourself to other artists. There is always going to be someone better – maybe he’s more talented on guitar or she has a bigger following on Twitter. But this should never keep you from pursuing YOUR dreams. Comparison is truly the thief of joy, so don’t let it get in your way. Do what you love, because you love it. Nothing else matters.

 

4 Comments

  1. DeanneMUA

    September 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    She is so passionate about her artistry. Another great interview!

  2. Catie

    October 4, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Very thoughtful interview.

    • Krista

      October 7, 2015 at 5:43 am

      her music is so amazing

  3. Jackie

    October 25, 2015 at 1:41 am

    MORE MORE MORE!

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