VENTS Magazine Interview•
Posted on April 13 2018
I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by VENTS Magazine and I wanted to share it with you!
Here is the interview:
Hi Natasha, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Yes great thanks, I am just getting ready to release my album this autumn so all very exciting things ahead!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single "Mi Ritiro"?
Yes I’d love to! ‘Mi Ritiro’ is the second single from my debut album, ‘Lost in Love’. It is a slow tempo Italian lyrical ballad. I wrote the song and literally translated it means ‘I Retreat’. It includes my classical crossover vocals over a simple yet elegant classically inspired piano and trumpet arrangement alongside a cinematic orchestration. I wanted the song to sound like something between an aria from a modern opera and a song from a soundtrack of an old Italian movie.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, this song is loosely based around falling in love with someone, that I knew, deep down, was going to break my heart.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
I wanted the music video to capture the simplicity and elegance of the song. My last video for ‘In Too Deep’ was a really complex shoot in 4 different locations over 4 days which I thought worked well for the nature of that song, but for ‘Mi Ritiro’ I wanted to bring everything down to the key elements and keep it in a very linear dimension.
I asked my brother, Laurence Hardy, to shoot it for me as he happened to be in England at the time when I was looking for a DOP, (he lives in Melbourne, Australia). We discussed some ideas and he suggested I take a look at the Coldplay, ‘Yellow’ video that was shot in 4K. He explained that to shoot the video like that we would have to speed the song up to double the original tempo and then slow it back down to normal speed in post production, this way you get this very light ethereal effect, it sounded perfect so it was just a matter of timing as he was leaving in a week!
I already had the location and look in mind, singing the song double time in Italian took a lot of practice beforehand but I got there in the end! When it was time to shoot, everything worked seamlessly as I was well rehearsed and my brother has such a good eye, there is something to be said when working with your sibling in as much that we can read each others mind, actually we ended up shooting the video in about 3 hours.
I really enjoy the experience of producing videos but it is a lot of hard work and effort. Currently as an independent artist I am doing everything myself, from costume design and hair and make up through to finding locations and storyboarding and organizing the shoot, but I find the whole process fascinating and exciting and I am looking forward to making more as it’s the time I get to put together my two loves; acting and singing.
The single comes off your new album Lost in Love - what's the story behind the title?
The whole album is based on songs written from my heart about love: wanting it, finding it or losing it. I am hoping the listeners will connect with my songs and lose themselves in the musical journey I have created.
How was the recording and writing process?
When I first started to write the songs for Lost in Love, emotionally it’s very cathartic. I mean the songs I write are about my life, they are based on my real life stories, thoughts and fantasies, and to let that all out you have a to go to a deep sometimes very dark place to relive a feeling that is trapped way down inside of you. Sometimes it is a forgotten feeling that I am trying to remember and when eventually I do connect with it, I can start to mold and work with it to create something new, that’s essentially how I write. Sometimes writing can take hours, sometimes it takes days and often months but I think the final result is intrinsically tangible.
After I had written my songs I asked pianist Stefano Marzanni, to join me in creating some classical style arrangements for eight of the ten songs on the album. A song that is built on voice and piano (for me) 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.
My Producer Tom E Morrison really brought my songs to life; he has such a wealth of knowledge and experience he was able to really get into the mindset of what I wanted, especially when it came to crossing over genres and to make the album cohesive. Working with all the different musicians on the album, was a wonderful experience, being in the studio watching my work come alive was amazing, I remember when I was in the studio for the first time with award winning violinist Dermot Crehan who has played on so many amazing pieces of work including the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I was holding my camera to film him to make little clips of some ‘behind the scenes’ footage while Tom was recording him, and I had tears rolling down my face because the sound and the vibration of his instrument was just so amazing. We (Tom and I) spent a lot of time getting everything how I wanted the album to sound, I am a perfectionist so Tom’s nickname for me was hawk ears, but I think the end result is definitely worth it.
How has Enya and Enigma influenced your writing?
These artists resonated with me through their use of blending genres and breaking typical boundaries. I think Micheal Cretu is a genius, the first time I heard ‘Sadness’ which is essentially a dance led track with Gregorian type chants and South American wind instruments I was hooked. With Enya the same thing happened when I heard ‘Orinoco Flow’ from their Watermark album, it sounds so orchestral, epic and ethereal all at the same time. I think these songs and artists planted deep musical seeds in my heart and as I started my own musical journey it has been a natural awakening of my influences.
Known for your classical music – any plans to play with other genres and how do you seek to balance them together?
Trying to mix classical style singing with other genres can be a real balancing act, I am not a producer per se but more of an executive producer; I love to constantly move things in the direction of my idea and evolve and expand on the original concept which can involve taking instruments out, putting different instruments in, changing tempo, timbre, playing with voicings and blending my vocals etc. Classically styled singing takes years of dedication and practice so it’s important to me that it is honored in the final recording, so that when you hear my music it just flows into your soul. So I guess for me, to be able to effectively and seamlessly blend the different genres it really comes down to my original idea being executed well and working with a very talented producer.
I currently have another crossed genre project that is in development but I can’t speak too much about it yet, you will definitely love it, so just watch this space!
What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?
On my single ‘Mi Ritiro’, disillusionment & realisation. On the Album ‘Lost in Love’, a plethora of emotions, from desire and passion to lamentation and surrender then finally to the most important love – self love.
Any plans to hit the road?
Definitely, I am planning a tour in 2019, dates are to be confirmed and will be announced on my website soon. (www.natashahardy.com)
What else is happening next in Natasha Hardy's world?
Apart from my album launch, I am preparing for my live performances where I get to sing these songs that I have put my heart and soul into. Music aside though, I am looking forward to taking the skiing lessons that were a present for my birthday back in May, I do love winter!
Thank you so much for having me it has been an honour to talk about my music with you.
Interviewer: Rafael Jovine
Interviewee: Natasha Hardy
Radio Station: VENTS Magazine