The time has finally come to release my debut album,
‘Lost In Love’!
I am very proud and excited to be releasing it this Autumn 2018.
My album has been arranged, recorded, mixed and mastered and I am now ready to launch, so I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about my album in my own words.
Hi I’m Natasha Hardy, as you may know, I am a singer-songwriter and I write my own classical crossover music, which has operatic, orchestral, Celtic and ambient influences.
This album has been in the making for two and half years! I spent the first year writing the songs and I spent the second year recording the album. My debut album has been a labour of love and I have put my heart and soul into it, I am so happy now to be able share it with you!
The Story So Far
For the last six months or so I have been getting ready to launch my album and in this process I have released two singles from the album, namely, ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Mi Ritiro’.
I chose these two songs to showcase the kind of music I have made and and to give a taster of whats to come. I got some really great feedback and reviews which included ‘In Too Deep’ earning the chart breaker song of the week from Spirit Radio, Ireland, getting interviewed by music magazines ‘Music Musings and Such’ and ‘Vents’ Magazine, having radio interviews with Phil Lickley of BCB Radio & The David Snape Show, airplay support from broadcasting Legend Bill Rennels on his infamous BBC Radio ‘Harmony Night Show’ on BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Kent and BBC Radio Berkshire, and I also received airplay from BBC Radio Berkshire on the Paul Coia Show, from Sarah Major on her BBC Radio Berkshire Show, Spirit Radio Ireland, BCBFM, Canalside Radio, Kent Christian Radio, Shoreditch Radio, and Chillout Tree Pines Radio.
I feel really honoured that I have had such a great response so far from the media, but what is the most important thing to me is that you enjoy it!
The Story Behind the Title
The title of the album is ‘Lost in Love’ it is a collection of self-penned love songs inspired by my passions, heartaches and the fairy-tale fantasies that falling in love can bring. Have you ever been in love when you are at the dizzying heights? Have you ever lost a love where you are in the deepest lows? Have you ever been in love with someone that can never be yours? Have you ever met someone and thought they were perfect? This album as a whole is based on the theme of love; wanting it, finding it, or losing it. All of the songs were written from personal experience on some level and I am hoping you will connect with my songs and lose yourself in the musical journey I have created. I am so proud of the album, but most of all I am so proud that my stories are now ready to be part of your story.
I am so honoured to have worked with Tom E Morrison who produced the album for me. Tom as a multi talented producer and composer has produced international artists (Bonnie Tyler, Roachford), various film scores and countless multi media. Tom recently produced the soundtrack for the movie ‘Viking Destiny‘ with Terence Stamp which features my vocals in the soundtrack and one of my songs ‘Strong’ from the album.
I am also honoured to have written one song on my album with film composer Michael A Levine who also produced the song ‘Crossing The Highway’, it is a song that was originally intended for the animated feature film ‘Rango’ featuring the voice of Johnny Depp. Michael has written for the feature film soundtrack to Hunger Games (Catching Fire) among others, and most recently the sci-fi fantasy mermaid TV series, Siren.
It has been amazing to have worked alongside all of the talented musicians that are on the album and I am extremely honoured to have Dermot Crehan, world renowned violinist feature on my album. Dermot has played on so many amazing productions and film scores including feature film trilogy Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and with artists Andrea Bocelli, Carl Jenkins and Il Divo to name but a few.
The wonderful musicians that also play on the album are Stefano Marzanni on piano, Alice Sophie on Cello, Anna Quiroga on Harp, Alexander Verster on Double Bass, Nick Lacey on Flute, Graham Pike on Brass and Tom E Morrison on Keyboards and Percussion.
Working with all the musicians being in such close proximity with them in the studio setting watching my work come alive was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget and one that I want to repeat again very soon.
A little side story – When I was in the studio for the first time with award winning violinist, Dermot Crehan, I was holding my camera to film some behind the scenes footage and I had tears rolling down my face because the sound and the vibration of his instrument was just so beautiful. It touched my soul so deeply, it was a dream come true and in that moment I knew that this album was going to be very special. To see Dermot play his heart out because he really liked my songs was so humbling, and it is and real honour and privilege to have experienced that.
Making the Album
I learnt a lot from making this album! This album has definitely changed my life and helped me grow as a person. I think I went through a rainbow of emotions whilst making this album from fear all the way through to joy. I learnt to stick with my original material, to believe in myself and to honour the God given ideas and inspirations that have been gifted to me.
When I first started to write the songs for Lost in Love, emotionally it was very cathartic. The songs I write are about my life, so they are based on my real life stories, thoughts and fantasies, and to let that all out I had a to go to a deep, sometimes very dark place inside and revive buried emotions. I usually write lyrics first then the melody and then the harmony.
Writing the lyrics for me is the easiest part, putting them together with music can take longer as I ‘feel’ my way through the process. I’ll sit with the lyrics at my piano and play around for a while and write down what feels right or I’ll sing the melody and work out the accompanying chords. Sometimes the process of writing a song can take hours or days but it often takes months to refine. When the final result is intrinsically tangible, I know it’s ready.
Once I had completed writing all the songs for the album, I asked my friend and pianist Stefano Marzanni, to join me in creating some classical style arrangements for eight of the ten songs on the album. Stefano is a classical trained pianist but is also an amazing jazz and pop pianist so it was easy for him to understand the nuances I was trying to create in my compositions.
Working with Stefano was one of my favourite experiences while creating the album and I loved working on the arrangements that we worked on together. For me, a song that is built on voice and piano is like the backbone of any recording; if you can strip down a production to these two instruments with the melody, lyrics and harmony all well balanced and it still sounds good then you know you have done your job well.
Once all the songs were finished, my Producer, Tom E Morrison, really brought my songs to life. Because he has such a wealth of knowledge, experience and excellent musical taste he was really able to get into the mindset of what I wanted especially when it came to crossing over genres, experimenting with specific sounds and making the album cohesive.
Tom was instrumental (pardon the pun!) in making my debut album, he worked so hard not only on all the arrangements but also with me on my vocals. I am a perfectionist and we spent hours working through each production with a fine tooth comb to get the clean crisp sound!
I think producers are the unsung hero’s of any song or album and I really couldn’t have made this album sound the way it does without Tom. Tom worked tirelessly making all the arrangements and production sound amazing, and it was so lovely to work with him especially while we were recording the musicians.
When we were recording the vocals I tried to capture my voice with it’s vulnerable yet powerful quality to compliment the Celtic, operatic, orchestral and choral elements. I actually really love how all the backing vocals that make up the choral elements turned out, recording vocals was the icing on the cake for me. After recording all the musicians and getting the track ready for me to sing on, it was such an amazing experience to finally sing my songs and literally pour my heart into singing them.
Tom and I spent a lot of time together really getting everything perfect and over the course of the year we became very good friends and it’s thanks to Tom that I have the wonderful musicians Dermot Crehan, Graham Pike and Nick Lacey playing on the album.
Just a little side note – Tom’s nickname for me was hawk ears because I was such a perfectionist in the production process, but I think the end result is definitely worth it, I hope you agree! I will be forever grateful for to Tom for helping me make my dream come true!
I have many influences, and you will hear them in my music. I think there are three categories that I can group my influences in, Artists, Composers and Singers. The Artists that I think influenced me the most are Enya and Enigma, the operatic voices of Maria Callas, Renee Fleming and Angela Georgiou and film music producers such as Hans Zimmer Gabriel Yared and Alan Silvestri.
I love Enya, I grew up listening to her music, she has this timeless quality to her voice and music and whenever I hear her I am instantly transported to another world, which is what I had hoped for my album. I am also influenced the artists collectively known as Enigma, I really admire the production style, it is flawless and I love how the voices seem to seamlessly melt into eachother.
I love film scores and film music producers such as Hans Zimmer who has scored for some amazing films; a few of my favourites to mention are Inception, Interstellar and Gladiator. I also love the composer Gabriel Yared who scored the English Patient, Betty Blue and Amelie. But I think my favourite film composer is Alan Silvestri, who scored some of my favourite films including the Abyss and Cast Away.
I wanted the album artwork to capture the look of someone that is just about to tell you a great story, you don’t know how it is going to begin or end but you know it is going to be a good story with some heartache, some anticipation and a sprinkling of wonderment thrown in. I don’t know if I actually managed to capture all of that on my face, but if you knew me you will know that when I have that look, something wonderful is going to happen!
It’s a weird thing having your photograph taken, for the album cover I actually had so many photographs taken but it was only when I commissioned Maria Mirage that she was able to capture this look. I had seen some of her photographs, she takes a lot of fantasy inspired photographs of mermaids and princesses, water nymphs etc and I fell in love with her work. As soon as I saw the photograph she had taken of me, I knew that it would be the right one. Actually, during that shoot I was the most relaxed I have ever been in a photoshoot.
I wanted to be surrounded by flowers and roses to represent romance and the ethereal princess quality of a fairytale, because when you are in love that’s how it can feel, it can be completely surreal! The princess style dress along with the flowers portray the fantasy elements that I so love.
The dress I am wearing was a wedding dress that I bought from a lovely lady near the south coast of England. She had only worn it once on her wedding day and had kept the dress in a pristine condition for 10 years. I loved the romance of the story of wearing a dress that someone had been blessed with love in. I customised the dress myself, I changed the neckline and added sleeves to make it even more romantic. I knew it had to be red because red for me is the colour of passion, romance and root emotions.
The back cover where I am laying down represents the dream that I am in. If you look at my hands you can see that I am pointing to the song listings, this represents my invite to you to join me on the ‘Lost In Love’ musical journey.
In the album artwork, I also have photography by Paul Stott who is a long time friend and photography collaborator. I will be doing a special edition of the Album with his photographs at some point so watch out for future limited editions! The photograph of me laying down on the tree is a photo that I didn’t know he was taking, I was just laying there in between other takes and I just think he managed to capture a moment where I really was lost in thought, I really was one with the universe and nature and I just thought it was so appropriate to have it as part of the artwork.
I also have a wonderful photograph taken by Magdalena Smorlenska that was actually taken not very far from where I live. I commissioned Magdelena after explaining my vision to her, and after showing her my red dress and my music video for ‘In Too Deep’ I knew she would be able to capture some wonderful movement photography as I had seen some of her award winning photographs of dancers. The final artwork photograph is slightly digitally manipulated to give a feel of even more movement and it is one of my favourite photographs ever taken of me.
My hopes for the album
I think the biggest hope is that people will enjoy my music. Music is such a huge part of life; I would love my music to become part of your life story. I hope when you listen to my music you are transported to your own private kingdom where you can become lost in love, whether its to mend a broken heart, transform a dream into a magical moment or transport you to another time and place.
If I can heighten a moment of emotion and become part of your life, story and memory, I have done my job well. I am now looking forward to making my next album but most of all I am excited and looking forward to working with my band and performing my songs live for you.
I have put my heart and soul into this album; from the cinematic styled arrangements to my heartfelt lyrics, I am really hoping you will connect to the songs and they will become just a part of your life as they have been a part of mine.
Natasha Hardy / 2018