“I love living in Melbourne, there’s live music everywhere!”
It is an amazing feeling to be overwhelmed by the live musical performance of an
individual. For me personally, to come across an artist with the ability to overwhelm is a
rare thing. Recently at the Purple Emerald, however, music took over my mind when Nat J
stepped up to the stage with her keyboard and started playing her feisty first tune ‘Mirror
Balls’. She almost immediately owned the room; and as I looked around the audience,
every person seemed to be totally immersed in the raw power of her vocals and the
passion that so naturally shone through in her performance.
“I don’t like the term ‘making it’ in music. I feel like anyone who uses that term isn’t in it for the music, because they’re too focused on ‘making it’. If people resonate with my songs, that’s enough.”
And the people were hooked. I closed my eyes and for the first time in a long time became
lost in music. The lyrics “I have heard your bullshit, won’t do what I’m told” and “I don’t
need you to like me” really stood out in Mirror Balls, and throughout her set I discovered
that her songs represented expressionism at its most emotional. I found it so refreshing to
hear someone singing their mind so beautifully.
“I wrote that song out of frustration, about being done with everyone else’s opinions. If you try to take on everyone else’s opinions on your art, nothing you write comes out good, because you are trying to please everyone else. You end up doing nothing for yourself.”
Nat played the piano when she was a kid but became bored with it and after some time,
took up singing instead. She has been focused on that for six years now, and only recently
took up the piano again. In early 2014 she was singing with a guitarist, but after two gigs
he moved to New York so she was left in limbo:
“Nothing was happening so I thought ‘Fuck it, I’ll just reteach myself the keyboard.'”
You would never know she had been away from it at all. Her melodies weave seamlessly
in and around her lyrics like a seasoned expert, and her tunes stick inside your head. She
gets inspiration from singer/songwriters like Sara Bareilles, Missy Higgins, and Passenger.
But Nat has been writing songs in some form or another since she was much younger.
“As an eleven year old, I used to take Britney Spears songs, and rewrite the words. That
was the first songwriting I ever did.”
Her songwriting has evolved immensely since then, and Nat now regularly gigs around
Melbourne. She has also released a wonderful debut 8 track EP Rinse, which can be
found on her Bandcamp page. My personal favourite tracks are Champagne & Cigarettes,
Mirror Balls and If I stay, but the entire album is a great listen. It showcases her fantastic
ability to write catchy pop/soul tunes. I highly recommend seeing her perform live too. It is
truly something special. See her Facebook page for upcoming performances.