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 available. I 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