Natalie Evans is a singer/songwriter and all round musical powerhouse based in London. Her stunning vocals with the unique use of Harp in creating her emotional blend of music is what sets her aside from other performances at Bad Pond Festival. Natalie sits down with BIMM Brighton Music Journalism student Emma Sherar before her set to talk about her recent single ‘Pavements’ and performing with a full band for one of the first times.
Welcome to Bad Pond festival. Have you been to Brighton before?
Yeah I actually used to live here. I’m currently living in London, but I still come to Brighton quite a lot.
Is there a big difference between performing in London and performing in Brighton?
I guess in Brighton it’s a bit of a smaller community, so when I play a gig here I know a lot of the people who come along, but then in London you never know who’s coming, so I’d say its just a little bigger.
How does your festival set differ from a normal gig set for you?
So, this time is really different because I’m playing with a live band. I usually just play solo. It’s only my second show ever with the band. It’s got drums bass and keys and it’s kind of more electronic. There’s a lot more texture going on.
Has it been more difficult to prepare for this show because of that?
It’s taken more preparation, but it’s been fun. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for such a long time.
How did your journey into music begin?
My dad played guitar, so then I started playing guitar. I just grew up listening to a lot of music as there was always music around in my house. I also listened to a lot of Pop Punk growing up, so I started to try and learn a lot of different riffs and things. Then I learnt other instruments as an adult, so I can now play the guitar, the harp and the piano. They’re like my main three.
The Harp is still quite an unusual instrument to see. Who are some of your key influences in regards to the harp?
Joanna Newsom is a well known harp player who I really liked before I got a Harp and Woodpecker Wooliams, I saw her play and then that was when I really wanted to get a Harp. It just looked so manageable because she had quite a small Harp, so I could then see myself getting one because it wasn’t too expensive or anything.
What is the writing process like for you?
It’s more structured on the instrumentation, and more emotional in the lyrics. I write lyrics at any time. When I’m out and about I just write them in my phone so they tend to be more natural, and the instrumentation is a bit more structured in the way I get up early to practice. But then if an idea comes at any point I tend to just go with it.
Your latest Single is called ‘Pavements.’ What was the inspiration behind that?
It was the first Harp song I ever wrote, so it was a really fresh instrument to be playing, which I always find helps me write something unique – because I don’t have any training in it. The lyrical inspiration was about a walk home from work where I was comparing it to a walk from my childhood and how the feelings were kind of different and how I just wanted to get out of the world of work. It’s a bit about escapism.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I’m working on a new album at the moment, so I’m just trying to expand into slightly different areas, like having some more electronic elements through collaborating, and I’m also writing more on piano these days. I’ll also be playing lots more shows this year and developing my live set more.
Words by Emma Sherar