Future Classic Woman Awards

Future Classic Woman Awards

It was lovely to talk to Stefania Passamonte from the Women’s Radio Station in regards to the Future Classic Woman Awards! We discussed all things ‘Lost In Love’ and the Classical musical industry. Take a read of the interview below:

 

 

Hello and welcome to Future Classic Women Awards with me, Stefania Passamonte, on Women’s Radio Station, a programme where we search for the most amazing new female artists on the Classical panorama. Today on Future Classic Women Awards we will be talking to Natasha Hardy, a classical crossover singer-songwriter from London. Her voice has been described as angelic, haunting and ethereal. Natasha is trained in both classical and contemporary traditions and writes her own material.  

 

Good morning, Natasha! 

Good morning, Stefania! 

 

Natasha you’re from London so you’re a bit like a unicorn, right? 

*Laughs* yes, well you know I love unicorns. 

*laughs* That’s what I thought.

Well originally, I’m from St Albans, I was born in St Albans and I grew up in Hampshire. Then in my early 20s, I moved to London and I’ve been here ever since. I would consider myself a ‘proper Londoner’ now as it is the place that I have lived in the longest! 

Absolutely, I am almost a Londoner too. *both laughs* 

 

So, tell me Natasha, how is it being a classical, opera singer that is actually mixing contemporary traditional with original song. How has that happened? 

I’ll rewind to the beginning because originally, I didn’t want to be a singer, I actually wanted to be an actress. I became interested in singing because I just saw lots of advertisements for auditions for actresses that could also sing. I took that on board and I started classical singing lessons, I simply fell in love with the art of learning to sing. It all started from there, and singing became the thing that I wanted to do! 

Sort of like mystical call, isn’t it? 

Yes, it was, it was very strange and so as the years went on, I decided that I would instead of singing other people’s songs I would write my own songs! Sometimes you want to change things up and in the classical world you have to kind of ‘abide by the rules’ so it was very difficult for me to get across what I wanted to put into the performance. I thought that the best thing I could do was to write my own music and then I have a free reign to do what I want to do, that is how it started! 

 

That’s very, very impressive, so I mean you just came out with an amazing album that is called… 

‘Lost In Love’, yes thank you very much. 

 

It is impressive that you actually wrote all the songs, did you write also the lyrics? 

I wrote all of the lyrics and I wrote the music! I did, however, have some help arranging the piano with a very talented, classical pianist, Stefano Marzanni. We worked together to create the arrangements. Once I had the songs ready, I took it to my producer, Tom E. Morrison, who helped me arrange the string sections like cello, violin, double bass, flute, trumpet – the list is endless! There was a lot of hard work that went into it, but I hope everyone is going to like it.

 Yeah, there is nothing not to like. 

 Aww, thank you. 

 

What surprised me is that there is also an Italian song in your album, why did you choose to use the Italian language? 

When I first began classical singing, my favourite songs to sing were in Italian, I loved the use of the vowels and some of the first songs that I sang were by Puccini! I always thought that one day I’ll write something in Italian, so that’s why two songs on the album were in Italian, it is the language of love at the end of the day! 

 

I may say, so if we had to choose the song that most present your style and your journey what would that be?

I think would probably be ‘In Too Deep’ is the first track that I released earlier this year, it begins with a very easy piano accompaniment and then the orchestral arrangement comes in. It comes into more of a very full score and that represents my journey. I think as a singer, songwriter and a performer that you start off slowly and you build and build your repertoire, your skills and… 

You open a darkness of a new beginning!  

Exactly, a new beginning! 

Absolutely beautiful, shall we listen to it? 

Yes, thank you 

 

And that was Natasha Hardy playing singing her song, ‘In Too Deep’. Natasha, do you want to tell us more about this piece and performance.

Like I said, it was the first song that I recorded for the album and I released it in April. We have Stefano Marzanni on piano, Alice Sophie on cello, Alexander Verster on double bass and Dermot Creehan on the violin! Tom E. Morrison produced it and it’s one of my favourite songs on the whole album. 

 

Amazing, it is really beautiful. How was to collaborate with this classical musician? 

It was very interesting but very nerve wracking as well. It was the first time that I had been in a studio with lots of musicians! I was there during the sessions and we put the pieces together, layer by layer, so I haven’t experienced being in the studio with all of the musicians yet. But hopefully touch wood that will come to be, but it was a beautiful (experience). 

 

Natasha, you bring in a modern, timeless, twisted classical music. How is that?

I think it’s because I didn’t go through the traditional classical music ‘route’. I didn’t go to a Conservatoire and I came into music a lot later than the average singer or musician. I didn’t start singing until my early 20s. And like I said, it was a different journey. Although, I would definitely recommend going through the traditional route of music school because it took me a long time to learn and it wasn’t the easiest journey! But that said, the flipside of it is I didn’t get ingrained with a particular mindset and I have to say that some people thought it was rebellious the things that I was doing! However, I thought that was normal because I was exploring music! I think that’s how I’ve managed to blend the classical and the contemporary styles.

Absolutely. So, there is something also that struck me from your album which is that is very visual apart that you’re very beautiful. 

Thanks very much! 

 

I love this some sort of fairy-tale visual language of your album that is probably also in the music. And also, there is this take on Celtic music, so can you tell us a bit more about this?

Well, first with regard to the visuals, there’s a huge part of me which is still a big actress! When I write, I don’t just write for the emotion, I also write to imagine what it’s going to be like when performed on stage. I think about how I want to bring emotion out of people that are watching and to get them to experience my music at its fullest.  

It was really important that I encapsulated the feeling of love. It can feel like a nightmare, depending on who you’re in love with, but it was really important for me to get this fantasy kind of fairy-tale look. One of my favourite operas is Rusalka, and so anything with this kind of fairy-tale theme really appeals to me. 

In response to the Celtic theme, I’m actually 8th Irish, so some of my ancestors are from Killarney! And so, I wanted to have a little bit of a Celtic theme. Also, one of my earliest musical influences was Enya and, I don’t know if you’re familiar with her music, but the Clannad and this Celtic ‘feel’ is very inspirational to me.  

 

Going back to the opera and talking about Rusalka, would that be your dream role or do you have other?

I think it’s probably one of my dream roles, yes, also, Violetta is the other dream. 

So, is this why? Why you have some operatic style songs? In your album, which song would you consider the most similar style? 

I think that both of the Italian songs on my album, ‘Mi Ritiro’ and ‘Il Segretto’, have the most operatic feel. I wanted to give the listener a little taste of my operatic voice, but I didn’t want it to be an overly operatic album. I can build up to that in the future, I have lots of plans!

Oh, we like that. So, shall we listen to ‘Mi Ritiro’ first! 

Yes, yes 

 

And as a Celtic example, which song shall we listen to? 

I would say ‘Strong’, it’s the last track on the album. It features Dermot Crehan, which is a world-renowned Violinist and fiddler. He did the main theme for the Lord of the Rings movie, and my song, ‘Strong, was recently licensed to a film called Viking Destiny. It features at the end of the soundtrack so it has a real Celtic feel. 

Let’s listen to it… 

 

Natasha, what would you say was the most is the most exciting moment in your career? 

I think that the most exciting moment of my career is right now. It’s what I’ve been working towards for a long time. I’m enjoying every moment, I’m so excited for the future and all of the new things that are coming up. I’m excited to be able to perform my songs next year as I’m putting together a tour, I’m looking for artists that I can work with in the future and I’m also looking for artists that I can support on stage. I’m very excited about the future, so right now is very exciting. I’m enjoying every moment of it. 

 

Beautiful and what would be the most challenging moment in your career if you had any? 

I think that the most challenging moment was when I was making my album, it was everything that I expected to be. It was really exciting and wonderful and very enjoyable working with different musicians and working with producer. However, it’s also very, very hard financially. I got out a very big loan and I spent a lot of my life savings to produce this album.  

Wow.

I had to do it this way was because it is a new genre that I’m pushing forward. It’s very difficult to create an operatic style of music that is also going to have Celtic themes and my ethereal vocals! Unless you’ve heard a song and like it then it’s very difficult for people to come on board.

Even to find it, if you like to look for it. 

Exactly and now, it is out there, in the world, for everyone to hear. I think it’s going to make the pathway a lot easier for myself to make more music like this, but also for other artists too.

And that’s exactly my point, I’m excited for this programme to meet so many amazing strong women that they want to shake the classical music industry and you know the moment you started talking about classical music you think about old and rigid, if you like, but classical music is still evolving, can still be exciting, it can still be fresh and new. 

Yes, I totally agree with you Stefania. One of the things that happened to me that really catapulted me was when I was singing and a company said ‘no, you can’t sing it like that’ and I told them I want to sing it like that! That’s me, the rebel, and I will definitely have to write music where I can kind of mix this contemporary vocal sound with the operatic sound. 

 

Absolutely, so there’s a question I wanted to ask. I was very intrigued by the fact that you started as an actress. So, do you still have some place in your career for acting? Opera is a great combination of acting and singing and classical music… 

I really love opera and it’s one thing that I would definitely like to do in the future. I would love to mix my acting and singing skills! It’s definitely another goal of mine. In regards to acting alone, I think I will at some point whether it’s in a play or a film, I have no idea, but right now I’m concentrating on my music. I am a great believer in what comes to you is the right thing and so we will just see how I evolve! 

 

In this very inspiring mode, then, what would be the song that you think convey most of this? 

On the album there’s a song called ‘Enter the Gate’. It was a spiritual journey for me. I had been recommended a book called ‘The Pathway’ by Eva Pierakkos. It is about learning to have self-love, and I think it’s one of the greatest loves of all, to really learn to love yourself, and I think my song ‘Enter the Gate’ conveys this inspiring lesson.  

 

Natasha, now I’m going to ask you some odd questions! *Both Laughs* 

Ok, finally! 

 

For example, do you have any strange hobby to relax your mind?

I wouldn’t say strange but I have a couple of hobbies that I love because I’m not good at them. I find ice skating a real challenge because it completely takes over my mind.

Oh, I love watching it. 

It’s very, very hard and it completely baffles me how ice skaters manage to skate around on the ice with what looks like such ease! I think in another life, I would have loved to have been an ice skater.

Me too, we might meet there! 

Then, although it’s not a strange hobby, I also paint. I love to paint in various mediums. Oil, acrylic, watercolour, and I find that that it completely relaxes me. No one is watching you, you can be in your rough clothes, no makeup on, and pony tail! I can just be myself.  

Absolutely, it is not related to music, though that might inspire you for songs as well, I guess you know the image that you might create or that catch your eyes. 

Yes, well, I am inspired by a lot by art. I really love art. 

In all shapes and forms! 

In all shapes and forms, and especially in the form of painters and illustrators. When I was at school, I did well in art and I think it showed while I was young that I was going to end up with a creative career, but I would say I’m probably a better singer than I am an artist! 

Wonderful. When I was little, I would spend ages just observing the classical sculpture, the Greek and neoclassical as well. I would go through the beauty of the marble Angela.

Yes, when the light reflects on the marble, it’s just beautiful. Two of my favourite artists are Vermeer and Degas, the way they capture the light is amazing. I think, as a musician, you want to capture this sparkle in a performance, it’s similar but it’s conveyed in sound rather than on a canvas. 

 

Do you have any superstitions before going on stage? 

Oh yes, I have a lot of superstitions. How long have we got? I bring my own tap water from home. 

Oh yeah! 

I also bring my own yoga mat so I can do some yoga before I go on stage. I always eat a banana before performing! These are a few things and I think as any type of performer, you have these little rituals. It makes you feel secure and relaxed as I do suffer from stage fright! 

There are also always funny things that happen on stage, sometimes these superstitions like to make us think that they will stop this from happening! 

There’s been various funny things that have happened throughout my career, once the microphone didn’t work! Once my pianist lost their place because I went to the wrong part of the song! I’m very lucky that I’ve worked with some very talented accompanist’s as you can’t just say ‘I’m sorry I’ve done this wrong’ and the funny thing is when you do something wrong the audience usually don’t even know! 

But the truth is that when you do a performance is not important to be absolutely perfect, you are sharing the art of music, and that doesn’t come from perfection. We need to remind the younger ones that perform because that’s when you get stage fright the most!

Yes, and I think the reason that you can get stage fright is not because you’re nervous about performing, it’s that you want to give the perfect performance! 

 

Well, what shall we listen to finish our beautiful interview? 

I think you should play ‘Il Segretto’ from my album; it is one of my favourite songs. It’s written in your language of love and if you don’t know what ‘Il Segretto’ means, that’s the secret! Sometimes you can fall in love with somebody and they don’t even know about it. The song is about being secretly in love with someone! 

Let’s listen to it then. 

 

And that was ‘Il Segretto’ by Natasha Hardy, from her debut album ‘Lost in Love’. A huge thank you to our guest Natasha Hardy for the great chat, and some very beautiful music! 

Thank you so much for having me, Stefania it’s been an absolute honour. 

It was our pleasure indeed. 

 

If you’d like to listen to the original interview with Woman’s Radio Station, click here!

Interviewer: Stefania Passamonte

Interviewee: Natasha Hardy  

Media Outlet: Woman’s Radio Station

Interview Date: 4th March, 2019

 

One World Music Radio Artist In Profile

One World Music Radio Artist In Profile

I was recently interviewed by the lovely Chrissie Sheppard from One World Music Radio all about my debut album, Lost in Love and my life surrounding my musical journey! Take a read of their review below: 

Welcome to the Artist in Profile Show here on One World Music Radio with me Chrissie Sheppard, where I’m talking to Natasha Hardy about her music and her life, welcome Natasha it’s great to talk to you again. 

Hi Chrissie, lovely to speak to you too, so happy to be here on One World Music Radio!  

Well before we chat, let’s just give the listeners a taste of your music by listening to a track from your latest album Lost in Love, this is Mi Ritiro.  

Tell us about your childhood, where you grew up and your family.  

I was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire which is just outside of London. In my early teens my family moved to Hampshire, so, as you can tell, I’m a real country girl at heart even though I have I lived in London for the last 20 years. 

I’m the third one of four, I have an older sister, an older brother and a younger brother, hence I have middle child syndrome and became the family entertainer from a young age, always coming out with a ditty or a song or two for family and friends. 

 

When did your interest in music begin? Tell us about those times and the first instrument you learnt to play. 

My parents bought me up on an eclectic musical mix of Harry Belafonte, Shirley Bassey and Simon and Garfunkel, amongst others. My first recollection of classical music was playing ‘Fur Elise’ on the family piano, when I started piano lessons. I was around 8 or 9. My Mum and Dad were literally always singing around the house as we were growing up, it was like being in a real-life musical, so music has always just been a very normal part of my life. It wasn’t until I decide to pursue my career as an actor that I wanted to add a feather to my bow by being able to sing and basically fell in love with the pursuit of using my body as the instrument.  

 

Do you have any qualifications in music? 

Yes, I am classically trained singer and went through the normal ABRSM exams and I studied contemporary and classical singing styles with some amazing teachers over the years and I continue to study with my American voice teacher Maryliese Happel, who never ceases to amaze me! As my body is my instrument, I am always in the pursuit for perfection and love to constantly improve my technique, my style, and my interpretation to give the best performance that I possibly can.  

 

So, what sort of music did you like to listen to as you grew up and who do you think has had a major influence on your own music? 

The first artists that I really enjoyed listening to as a teen were Enya and Enigma. I also really loved Prince and The Brand-New Heavies. Which are all pretty reflective of the eclectic styles I was bought up on. 

When I started my classical training, I was introduced to the operatic voices of Renee Fleming and Angela Georgiou, which totally blew me away, as the first time I had really discovered any operatic voices for myself was through the dance/contemporary artist Faithless, who had sampled an operatic aria from the composer Boito’s opera Mefistofele.  

I think Enya is probably one of my greatest influences, I really love her ethereal voice and I’m also really influenced by film scores for their emotional impact. One of my favourite films is Betty Blue and the composer Gabriel Yared started me on a journey to discover so many other amazing film composers. If you listen to my album, you will see some of these influences come through! 

 

So, do you have a favourite genre of music that you like to listen to? 

That’s an interesting question! Music for me is really dependent on what action I am taking in my life. So, when I need to think, rest or relax, I will always be drawn to the new-age genre but for a good workout I will always edge on the side of a good dance number! But I love all of the Café Del Mar compilations which have a beautiful mix of the ambient, new age and contemporary feel to them. 

 

Natasha, when did you release your first album? Tell us about it. 

So far, I have only released this album. I am currently working on my second album which is really exciting! My debut album ‘Lost In love’ was originally released in summer 2019. However, my father passed away in the beginning of May 2019 and everything kind of fell apart so I obviously didn’t have the energy at the time to be able to promote it properly, and I am so happy now to be able to share my side of the story, my album ‘Lost in Love’, with everyone now. As you can imagine, it’s been a pretty tumultuous last couple of years and I feel like now I am playing catch up. But I hope everyone can understand the reason why.  

‘Lost in Love’ is a collection of original self-penned love songs, inspired by my passions, heartaches and the fairy-tale fantasies that falling in love can bring. Lost in Love really was a labour of love, I put my heart and soul into it and I really hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed making it for you. 

Do you have any special memories from making this album?   

‘Lost In Love’ will be always be close to my heart. 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.  

The entire process behind the making of this album has been memorable for me – from working with my producer Tom E Morrison, composer Michael A Levine, having Dermot Crehan play violin, working with all of the amazing musicians to writing the songs and finalising the artwork. I think one of the very special memories for me was at the very beginning when I was arranging the piano part with Stefano Marzanni for the final songs. There are lots of special memories and I have a lot of people to thank for helping my dreams come true, being able to create this album.  

 

You are given the opportunity to invite 4 people, living or dead, for dinner, people you would like to meet, who would you invite and why, and what would be on the menu? 

Oh wow, this is an interesting question. Well, food first as I love food! I probably would make a roast dinner for everyone as it is my favourite food and I’m really good at cooking roast dinner. 

So, I guess the food would be sorted now, who would I invite? 

If I were to invite 4 people, I would choose Prince, George Michael, Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. These four people have really influenced me musically throughout the years and it would be interesting to see what they were like in person! I reckon it would be a pretty fun dinner party with lots of singing and banter!  

 

Your latest album Lost In Love was released a while ago, how long did the album take to put together and who designed the artwork for the album? 

‘Lost In Love’ was in the making for two years. I spent the first-year writing and arranging the songs and spent the second year recording the album.  

For my album artwork, I wanted to create a kind of classical/fantasy/new age theme as I felt it really represented the music and I commissioned a lovely photographer, Maria Mirage after having 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. That was for the front and the back cover. I also worked with a really great photographer Paul Stott, who took all the pictures for the rest of the album artwork, some of which you can see on my website. But if you buy the CD, you will actually see them all in the little album booklet! 

I designed the album artwork myself, as an independent artist you have to be jack of all trades but through doing this my photoshop skills increased exponentially! So, I hope you like it! 

 

So, Natasha what do you have planned for the future, another album, touring maybe? 

I am currently working on an album which I have almost finished recording. It’s really exciting, it’s going to be a collection of classical, new-age songs. I am working with my wonderful producer and long-time friend, Tom E Morrison again who was the producer for my debut album. Lost In Love. I am also working with amazing producer Peter ‘Ren’ Renfree from Nashville, USA. I also have some really talented musicians on this new album, cellist, violinist, harpist and of course Stefano Marzanni who is my good friend and amazing pianist. I would definitely love to tour with some of these musicians that have worked on my album and I would love to tour worldwide. Especially with these songs from my debut album. I would love to tour in America and in the UK, Canada, Germany.  

At the moment, I am just doing some live performances from my home studio until everything calms down and it becomes a lot easier to travel. I suppose a good thing that has come out of the past year is that I have become very ‘techy’ so it makes a lot of things that seemed a little impossible last year, much more possible.  But there is nothing like live music, so I would definitely like to tour. To keep informed, visit my website and I will hopefully have some more information on there about that soon.  

 

Well, the world is a troubled place at the moment, do you have a message you would like to share with our audience? 

It’s difficult isn’t it, there is so much trouble in the world but there are also some really amazing things that are happening in the world. I would like to say ‘Be kind to yourself’. We should always ensure that we are kind to ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are and where we are in life. I think I’s really important to have faith in your own abilities and for me I think believing in myself is one of my keys to happiness. I would say. Believe in yourself as it really can be the key to happiness. And, never forget we are all in this together! We are in one world, One World Music Radio, one world for everything we are going through. We are all in this together and I do believe that love is the biggest healer for everything. Be kind to yourself and love yourself.  

 

Where can our listeners find out more about you and your music, websites, social media that sort of thing? 

The lovely One World Music Radio listeners can find my music on all leading online music platforms and you can also buy my physical CD of my debut album, Lost In Love, on my online music store. You will also find all the links to my socials there. My website is www.natashahardy.com. 

 

Well, thank you Natasha for joining me here on the Artist in Profile Show to talk about your music and your life, it’s been great talking to you today. 

Thank you so much Chrissie for having me on your amazing radio show, I loved talking to you about my debut album ‘Lost In Love’. I am sending love and light to all of your lovely One World Music Radio listeners. I’ll see you soon!

If you’d like to listen to the original interview with One World Music Radio, click here!

Interviewee: Natasha Hardy  

Interviewer: Chrissie Shepard 

Radio Station: One World Music Radio

One World Music Radio ‘Lost In Love’ album Review

One World Music Radio ‘Lost In Love’ album Review

I have recently had the pleasure of receiving a wonderful review by Steve and Chrissie Sheppard from One World Music Radio for my debut album, Lost in LoveTake a read of their review below: 

There comes into everyone’s life now and then, an unbridled beauty of musical mastery, this time it is in the form of a vocal album entitled Lost in Love by Natasha Hardy. 

The sensitive texture of her voice is illuminated by a single of hers, and the opening track off the album entitled In Too Deep, beautiful string work weaves a wonderful pastiche of tenderness of Hardy’s vocals, and mixed with a delicate multi-instrumental collective. 

Mi Ritiro has a mysterious quality about it that I personally found fascinating, perhaps it was the hovering ethereal qualities of Stefano Marzanni’s piano; regardless Hardy’s performance was as if she was singing to the angels herself, this is one of the most powerful offerings I have heard for quite some time. 

Tempest In My Heart was quite special in many ways, the smooth approach to her vocals on this piece were sublime. The energies of this track were immensely appealing, a textured offering that contains a build and progression to be truly proud of. One must add that the violin of Dermot Crehan is spot on in creating a cinematic mood; this would be one of my personal favourites from the album. 

However, when we reach a track called Take Me Home, we find something that is so emotive, it is hard not to allow yourself to be moved by the song that is about to unfold. The composition of the piece is so artistically creative and so emotionally imploring, and Hardy’s voice raises the rhythms and pulls back with utter perfection. 

A fine melody and a beautiful song is next, and one can certainly see why this was released as a single, this is like Enya but warmer, and entitled Enter the Gate. The chorus is appealing and layered to perfection in the most beautiful of ways; I think two words sum up this song perfectly, Idyllic and charming. 

The half way marker is breached once we arrive at a piece called Crossing the Highway. The piano, and actually all the instrumentation performed by Michael A Levine, is sublime, and a mood filled creation of delicacy in tone, thus it creates a wonderfully open canvas with which Hardy can present this beautiful song to the world; haunting yes, but in a wonderfully warm method of presentation. 

Il Segreto has a fluency that is simply inspired, there is a sense of tone here that is rich in texture, but pristine in quality, please also note the wondrous performance on Cello by Alice Sophie. The layered new age mood here also has a slight global ethic to its manifestation, hats off also to the artistic segment on piano by Marzanni, who creates a symbiotic performance here with Hardy. 

The feeling of this album is certainly idyllic, and certain tracks can literally take you to the source of the composition, such can be said about Tales of the Alhambra, I had strangely been playing another track with a similar name, and about the same place moments ago, there is a lively energy that is tempered by a lush and colourful narrative here, one that contains harp and some rather powerful percussion, kudos to Anna Quiroga and Tom E Morrison for that. 

Our penultimate piece is named Beautiful Chaos; the performance here by Hardy is so powerful that it could bring tears from the eyes of an angel with ease. The elevation of this song and the smoothness of presentation really made this piece for me, one of the best tracks from the album, and one that really moved me utterly. 

Our last track is called Strong, something we have all needed to be recently, the lyrics here are wonderfully empowering and very poignant, and it is a track that could also make a good rock song if a guitar was added to the engine room of the percussion. Well, what can one say, simply the best way entirely to leave an album of this crafted quality. 

Lost In Love by Natasha Hardy is a unique album, each track is crafted with such a wonderfully fluent skill set of sublime vocal constructions, and a rich tapestry of multi-instrumentation. Here is a release that has clearly been created from the heart and soul of the artist, and no stone, no emotion has been left unturned in the making of this collection of great songs. 

For me personally it’s unique, as this is the first time, I have written a review from someone born in the same county in the UK as myself, bizarre I know, but the voting from the Hertfordshire jury is a huge big 10. 

Radio Station: One World Music Radio

Pink Magnolia

Pink Magnolia

Recently, I released a collection based on one of my favourite paintings Pink Magnolia; this painting was inspired by the magnolia flower which always flowers in Spring; the season of new beginnings. I wanted to capture the magnolia flowers’ subtle yet gentle hues and combine its dignified and noble appearance in my painting. The magnolia is a symbol of love and beauty encompasses the divine feminine and gentleness of pure love and I thought it was an apt painting to introduce you to my artwork. 

I often get asked about my artistic processes and how my passion for art began, so I have gathered together the most popular questions I get asked so you can get to know a little bit more!

Tell us a little about your artistic background 

I’ve always been interested in painting and drawing. From a young age, my mum used to encourage us to draw and paint, probably to keep us quiet as I am one of four children! I won a competition for drawing during middle school and whilst doing my A levels, I was introduced to 17th century art. One of my favourite artists became Johannes Vermeer, the way he used light to affect the subject is something that still inspires every piece I create. 

As you may know, I’m a singer, so painting, for me, has always been something I don’t necessarily share publicly. It is something that calms and inspires me. As I prioritised singing as my artistic passion, I didn’t really have the time I wanted to dedicate to art, but over the last few years that has slowly started to change. 

Since writing my album, I found that I still needed another creative outlet, the time to be still, to interact with the canvas and colour without any external pressure. Sometimes I would even consider myself an artist, more than a musician, because I find it very natural to be able to be in front of a canvas. I can let my mind explore and my imagination to run free, and ultimately that also informs my musical expression so they now go hand in hand for me. 

What is integral to you as a painter? 

The most important thing to me is to enjoy what I am painting. The subject matter has to interest me.  

Sometimes, I paint a dream, sometimes I will paint a physical thing. I paint subjects that I see beauty in, subjects that inspire me. I like to paint what provokes my thoughts. That’s the main thing, for me, the subject matter has to be important enough to me. 

What is your favourite piece of artwork and why? 

Oh my (!) there are so many! I’ll give you a few because this is really difficult question! 

There are some very famous paintings, which I’m sure you’ll recognise. Firstly, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Visually, it’s a gold mosaic of man and woman, it is really beautiful. That’s definitely one of my favourites.  

I’m a huge fan of Edgar Degas’ work. Particularly his painting the entitled ‘The Blue Dancers’, it’s a pastel painting which is just beautiful. He is one of my favourite artists, but I love that painting in particular! The use of blue is sublime. The array of shades; in my opinion, it is the perfect blue painting.  


Finally, I have to mention, Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Although, this may seem a little different, especially in comparison to the first pieces I mentioned! I love this piece as it encapsulates such a nightmarish vision. It is a painting that really captures the emotion without words and visually, it is simply stunning.  

How would you describe your art to someone who has never seen it? 

I would describe my art as full of life. I like to paint with lots of colour, for me, life comes in different shades of colour and when I paint, I like to encompass this.  

For instance, I mentioned The Blue Dancers, by Edgar Degas. I am in awe of his use of various shades of one colour and how it can give such depth and emotion and in some of my work I try to adopt this approach. 

When I paint, I paint my feelings and I use colours to reflect these. For example, my Pink Magnolia painting, which is the first in my new collections, is very vibrant. My aim was to portray the spring colours and the vibrancy of the season.  

What would your slogan be for your art work? 

I would probably say, ‘Inspired by Life’ – by Natasha Hardy. 

What emotions do you notice in your artwork? 

 When I’m painting, it feels like I’m pushing my emotion from within onto the canvas, but the action of painting doesn’t always go to plan, the same with life! This brings me back to the previous question of my slogan; Inspired by Life, it doesn’t always go to plan but at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason! You have to trust the process and allow for this to happen.  

This is how I feel about my paintings, eventually they become a piece that is better than I initially imagined. This is why I find painting such a wonderful release and a place where I can express sadness, joy, contentment and more. 

If you could ask your artwork a question, what would you ask it? 

Ha ha ha! I would ask ‘Why can’t you dry faster?’ 

I used to work a lot with acrylics, which was great as it would dry very quickly! However, I struggled to get the same nuances that I could when working with oil paint. In case you’re unaware, oil paint is notoriously slow drying! Sometimes, you have to wait a week or two for a layer to dry before you can start on your next layer. So, if I could ask my artwork a question, I would ask it to dry faster!  

However, in a less ‘practical’ respect, I would ask my paintings whether they liked how I created them.   

If your artwork could travel anywhere in the world, where would it go? Why? 

I think the egocentric side of me says, ‘Oh I’d love it to be in a museum next to another very famous painting’, which would be lovely for all to see. 

However, my heart tells me I’d love for someone to hang a piece of mine in a pride of place in their home. I would be very proud for someone to appreciate it every day. 

Do you have any artistic influences? 

As I mentioned previously, I love Edgar Degas. I love the works of Cezanne; all of the impressionist paintings are truly beautiful, so I would say they have influenced the way I use my brush and sometimes style. 

Another inspiration of mine is Johannes Vermeer. His use of light in his work is a huge inspiration to my work.  

In a more conceptual matter, I love Marc Chagall’s work. He opened up my creative thinking to using dreams as a source of inspiration. The feeling of painting a dream is so freeing.  

On another note, I have recently written and illustrated a children’s book. For this, I was inspired by Anime artists, I have a huge love for manga art and the work on DeviantArt. I am incredibly interested in young, up and coming artists. Discovering how they are digitally manipulating their work, using new software and creating such interesting pieces, has been eye-opening. But more about this another time! 

As you may notice, I have an array of influences! From the very contemporary style of Anime to the traditional style of Degas and Vermeer, I have a wide variety of inspiration which collaborates to form my personal style.  

How do you feel as an artist when you have the final piece ready? 

Finishing a piece is very calming! It’s a wonderful feeling as you just know when a painting is complete. It’s similar to writing a song, you just know that it is the best it can be and there is an intrinsic sense of ‘I know this is finished now’. It’s a calm, serene realisation that it’s complete and you can let it go for someone else to enjoy.   

Are you working on any new pieces at the moment? 

I am working on a piece at the moment which I have taken inspiration from a dream of mine. Spoiler alert! I was floating through the sky, holding a deer.  

A deer is my spirit animal, but the trouble is, I’m not the best at painting people! That’s the wonderful thing about painting dreams, the concepts are flexible. I can manipulate the dream if and when required which is what I love about it.  

I have recently been spending a lot of time on the South Coast of England, near The Wittering’s in West Sussex. I have started working on some photography and watercolour work. I have definitely been inspired by my beautiful surroundings. Eventually I may also explore some oil artwork when I’m down there, we will see!  

There is always lots of creative work in the pipeline! 

Thank you so much for your interest in my art work, I am so excited to be able to tell you all about my artistic world! I can’t wait for you to see my newest collection, feel free to check out my website and social media channel as it’ll be sharing all things art over on my YouTube channel and Instagram page!  

See you soon! 

In Love & light,  

Natasha x 

 

Interviewee: Natasha Hardy

Date: 4th June 2021

Time: 12 pm

Therapy Through A Lense Interview

Therapy Through A Lense Interview

Hi there, 

I have recently had the pleasure of speaking to Michael Roach from Therapy Through A Lense about my journey through my musical career and the influences that have brought me to where I am today! I hope you enjoy finding out a little more about me!  

MR: Hi Natasha. Firstly, I would like to thank you for reaching out to Therapy Through A Lense, and secondly this is a huge honour to have an opportunity to interview a Contemporary Classical singer.   

Thank you so much Michael, it’s a pleasure to be here!  I was introduced to your magazine by some of my fans who had discovered my music, which is often described as healing and relaxing. I am a great believer in using music as a healing tool, so I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to share some of my music and musical life with the ‘Therapy Through A Lense’ audience.  

MR: So how have you been? How have you been keeping yourself safe during these difficult times, and what has kept you busy during the lockdown?   

I have generally been okay, I work from home mostly, as I have a home studio. In that respect, nothing really changed for me except for not being able to work in person with my regular musicians and singing teacher. I have been keeping myself busy during lockdown as I am currently in the process of recording a new album, but that has posed problems of its own as my producer and I aren’t in the same studio anymore; luckily with the technology that we have nowadays there are workarounds availableI don’t know what I would do without Zoom! What has impacted me the most is the social contact aspect of life.  I really missed my family and because my mum is a vulnerable person, it was 5 months until I saw her again which was really difficult to deal with emotionally.  Things are getting easier now, but I am looking forward to the day when we can all just hug one another again! I miss hugging a lot! 

MR: Can we start right at the beginning, what were your influences, what made you decide to become a singer and what age did you first start to perform?  

My influences are wide and varied!  I was bought up listening to Doris Day, Harry Belafonte and Simon & Garfunkel, which I think is where my love of pure melody comes from. I love world music and film scores, so I am really drawn toward wide orchestral arrangements with ambient qualities so composers like Hans Zimmer, Gabriel Yared and Howard Shore are probably what influence my soundscapes.  With regard to voices, I love the power and ethereal qualities of Amy Lee from Evanescence and Sarah MacLauchlan and when I started studying opera I fell in love with Renee Fleming and Angela Gheorghiu’s voices.  

I didn’t intend on becoming a singer I actually wanted to be an actress, but I decided to add singing lessons to add a feather to my bow so to speak and I just fell in love with singing and the rest is history as they say! I trained classically with my singing teacher, who was also a professional opera singer; from my first lesson, singing sparked something inside of me that acting didn’t meet, and I was hooked. As I didn’t start singing until my early twenties, I didn’t go through the traditional route of a conservatoire education, I went about it the hard way by working full time and paying privately. It’s been long hard journey to get where I am vocally, but it was definitely worth it!  I started performing professionally about 10 years ago when I started writing and producing my own dance music, following that I started my own music businesses performing 50’s music and singing classically at private events, weddings etc. After a few years of gigging around the country, I found that what I yearned for was to create my own classically inspired music and the idea of writing my own album started to form.    

MR: Your debut album ‘Lost in Love’ has been released, could you tell me a bit about the writing and the recording of the album?  ‘Lost in Love’ is my debut album, it’s based on the theme of love, wanting it, finding it, or losing it. 

‘Lost in Love’ is a collection of self-penned love songs inspired by my passions, heartaches and the fairy-tale fantasies that falling in love can bring. It was a real labour of love; in total it took two and half years to complete.  

Whilst writing the album, 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. Writing the lyrics for me was the easiest part, putting them together with music took a little longer, sometimes the process of writing a song can take hours or days but it often takes months to refine.  

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 piano arrangements for eight of the ten songs on the album. When all of the songs were ready, I teamed up with my amazing producer Tom E Morrison, Tom is a multi-talented producer and film composer (Bonnie Tyler, Viking Destiny, to name but a few).    Once Tom heard the songs and piano arrangements, he started to build the arrangements of the songs with full orchestration and dynamic instrumentation, I was blown away by his talent, I still am! We then set about deciding which musicians to approach and then recorded them (the musicians) and my vocals in his studio in North London.  

It was amazing working alongside Tom and all of the talented musicians that are on my debut album.  Thanks to Tom 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, so to have him play on my album is a dream come true!  Working with all the musicians being in such close proximity with them in the studio, 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. The wonderful musicians that also play on ‘Lost in Love’ 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.  I am also honoured to have written one song on my album with film composer Michael A Levine (Hunger Games, Siren) 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. It was actually this song that catapulted me into a writing frenzy for the rest of the album, so I will be forever grateful to Michael for giving me the opportunity to make music with him.  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.

MR: Your singing is beautiful and haunting. Is there an artist or artists that you would love to do a duet with?   

I’d love to duet with Hauser, the cellist. I think the way he plays his instrument is beautiful and is completely voice-like.  If you haven’t heard of some of his duets, I would definitely recommend you check him out!  MR: You released ‘Lost In Love’ May 2019. Has the song writing started for the next album or are you working on other projects at present?  I am currently working on a new album. It is a beautiful collection of cover songs which I am recording in an ethereal and classical style with americana elements. I am really looking forward to sharing this album as I haven’t really explored recording covers before. I think it comprises a really relaxed and intimate style and it will introduce people to my voice in a way that they will feel familiar with, exciting times ahead!  For this album I am working again with the producer of ‘Lost in Love’, Tom E Morrison, and I am also working with another producer Peter Renfree, who is based in Nashville, USA.   

Working with both producers remotely has bought new challenges especially when it comes to recording musicians, so it will be a real achievement when it all finally comes together!  With regards to writing another original album, I have started having some inspiration for new songs so after this album I’ll be working on them, there will be a lot of music being released from me in 2021 I am sure!  MR: Finally, have you made plans for touring again, and in 2021 will you be doing a full UK tour (Wales).  I would love to tour – it really depends on the timing of everything, I wanted to tour with ‘Lost in Love’ but by the time I was ready to start a tour lockdown happened. If we get the album finished in time, I would definitely love to tour the UK, I will try to start it in Wales, watch this space! 

Interviewee: Natasha Hardy 

Interviewer: Michael Roach 

Magazine: Therapy Through A Lense