Classical Crossover Interview by Chantelle Constable•
Posted on November 26 2018
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the wonderful Chantelle Constable from Classical Crossover Magazine!
A warm, candlelit studio. The majestic peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. The artwork of Degas and Edmund Dulac. It’s safe to say that Natasha Hardy is a Romantic.
“My album ‘Lost in Love’ organically came together when I wrote the songs, as all of the songs are inspired by my life experiences; from the people I have loved or wanted to love through to learning to love myself. When you fall in love it can be like a fantastic fairy-tale and I wanted to capture this. Life isn’t always a ‘happy ever after’ though so capturing this aspect was equally as important.”
The ultimate message she hopes fans take away from her music is that “love is always the answer.” She describes her audience as “anyone who appreciates a good story,” but also says, “I really write for myself first and foremost, I need to fall in love with my own music before I could ever dream that anyone else will.”
With an original goal of becoming an actress, Natasha began studying classical singing to add to her skill set, however, a passion for music soon overtook her and she switched to pursue her true calling. She studied piano as a child, and now uses the piano as a tool in her songwriting.
Natasha’s songs can be born from either a lyric or melodic moment of inspiration, and she cosies up in her studio with low lights to further develop the idea. She arms herself with pencil and paper, along with piano, microphone, and Logic to record her work.
“Sometimes writing can come out as a whole poem, or flow of text that I will edit and rearrange or sometimes, the one lyric is used to sing different melodies that I record. The main thing for me is to just keep working and refining both the melody and the lyrics and go with the ‘flow’. Eventually, I just seem to ‘know’ when it is finished.
The interesting thing for me about the whole song-writing process is that usually, the first idea that I had is the best one, so I can go through all of these hoops in my mind of how and what it should be like and then I come back to my original idea. It can be a very strange and wonderful time because as a performer it is the one time you really get to be alone with your song. Eventually, it is a gift for the listener, I believe I just happened to be the channel it came through.”
As a singer, Natasha is very conscientious about her health. Plenty of rest, a healthy diet, plenty of water, and long walks in nature with her dogs. She cares for herself with yoga, Thai massage, meditation, and, perhaps most importantly, “making time to have fun.” Her hobbies include painting (oil and watercolour), writing (she has written and illustrated a children’s book), ice-skating, horse-riding, and “watching anything nature related, especially all of the David Attenborough series.” She fell in love with hiking after scaling Mount Kilimanjaro and dreams of visiting the base camp Everest or the sacred valley trek in the Peruvian mountains.
Her influences are vast and apt for a classical crossover singer.
“Musically my inspirations are from the ethereal voices of Enya and Sarah McLachlan, the operatic voices of Renee Fleming and Angela Georgiou; film composers Hans Zimmer, Gabriel Yared and artists Enigma and Faithless. Visually I am also inspired by artists and illustrators such as Vermeer, Degas; Cézanne, Klimt; illustrators Edmund Dulac, Susan Seddon Boulet, and Arthur Rackham to name a few.” In addition to her idols Enigma and Faithless, Natasha muses that it would be a delight to collaborate with Il Divo, particularly Sebastien Izambard, whose original work she admires, or Andrea Bocelli.
Comfort was key for Natasha when recording her album, ‘Lost in Love.’ The studio was warm and inviting with candles and lowered lights, and she made sure to warm up her voice and body before singing. “Just like any performance the days leading up to a recording session I would try to get to bed early, eat really healthily and drink lots of honey and lemon as everything shows up in a recording!”
She gratefully acknowledges producer Tom E Morrison for his work on the arrangements of her songs and for encouraging all of the artists involved to give their best performance during the recording sessions.
A recent performance highlight for Natasha was her debut ‘Lost in Love.’ concert in London with musicians Stefano Marzanni, pianist and Alice Sophie, cellist — based on the success of the concert, she is excited to proceed with the album tour.
Natasha has spent years studying both classical and contemporary vocal techniques, and believes this lends to her signature sound of “classical crossover with a twist.” She feels honoured to be a part of the genre during this era; “It is a very exciting time for artists like me that are pushing the boundaries of what traditional classical music is.”
Asked about the best advice she has received, Natasha responds: “To not give your angels away too quickly. Don’t take criticism personally, listen to your heart and believe in yourself.”
And the advice she would pass on? “Savour life, every moment, every single breath, every smile, every tear. Tell people you love them, love freely and relax, everything will be okay.”
Classical Crossover magazine was thrilled to feature Natasha Hardy in our winter issue. We wish her the best of luck and look forward to following her surely-brilliant career.
Interviewer: Chantelle Constable
Interviewee: Natasha Hardy
Magazine: Classical Crossover