Natalie Gelman has been hustling in the music scene trying to promote herself as an artist. A native New Yorker, she’s been traveling back and forth between New York City and California performing out on the road. She has released two albums so far, but she hasn’t stopped putting out new music. Known for her powerful vocals, she loves connecting with fans through social media and being an inspiration to others with her music. She has recently put out some live records and still loves performing on stage. I recently got a chance to speak with her on starting in this busy industry and the projects she’s been working on.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. So what’s your background?
I actually grew up here in the city. Pretty much downtown right near this venue but always wanted to sing, always loved music, and finally got into singing in the subway of all places and I really feel like raised by the city. New York kind of took me under its wing and gave me a place and this opportunity to perform from the very beginning.
You come from a background in music from your family, correct?
My parents are both musicians. My dad played professional violin for a long time.
When was your big break in music?
I feel like I’m still waiting for the big break but now when I think of music, it’s always a series of small breaks and lots of little wins. I’ve done some amazing things where I’ve put out a few records of my own, I’ve done a few projects, and collaborations with other artists with brands and all kinds of things to put out music and reach more people. That’s really the goal at the end of the day is that you have songs that people need to hear and you figure out how to get those songs to them. That’s really what I’ve been doing and toured all over the world now. Last summer, I did my first tour in Europe for 10 weeks and that was amazing and I think I’ll be doing that again with my next CD. I’m excited for all of that.
Tell me about the work you’ve done. I know you did two albums, an EP and an LP? (1:42)
I have two albums and I’ve also released some singles. I release things all the time; I mean now with social media and the direct connection to your fans, I’ve actually put out I think 3-4 live records. I put out a live record every year as a gift to my fans for just thanking them for following me and being on this journey with me. It’s a way to get…there’s so many amazing recordings that are out there from the live show that I’m always playing live and recording them and then it gives them a place to find their wings and get heard. Some people like that even better than a produced CD. There’s quite a lot of material out there, and then I have a new 14-song record that I’m finishing up right now and I’m still putting out stuff from the last record. I’m really excited for this music video that is from a song on ‘Streetlamp Musician’, my last release.
How important is it for you to connect with your fans through social media?
It’s kind of an amazing opportunity. It’s almost like, I wouldn’t call it important but I think I would call it fun and just this wonderful chance to really see the direct impact that your songs have. I get that sometimes from my shows, but everyday there’s someone reaching out to me and saying it moved them and that’s why I do this. It’s just this opportunity to reach people and to really see the difference your making in the world.
What was the experience like for you to make a live record?
I think people are super grateful for the live record, and for me genuinely it’s a gift that I want to give people. But there are even some…now with the models all changing and there’s people who want to contribute even though it’s free. So they’ll donate even though the album is free or they’ll pay more for something even though it’s seven songs. I make them all seven songs. They’ll donate $20 or something, because they see a value in it and there’s that direct connection with knowing what the songs are about, knowing how I wrote those songs and got inspired.
Are there any artists that you would like to work with for your next record?
I am a huge fan of Patty Griffin and would love to collaborate with her and I also love Bruno Mars. I know that’s kind of a random collection of artists, but Patty Griffin and Bruno Mars would be my dream team collaborators.
Where do you see your music fit into? Does it fit into one genre or in two?
I would say, it’s really unique because it’s a bit of a lot of different things. There’s a bit of folk, Americana, pop, and rock. I’ve tried to label it, but I think it’s kind of amazing that people come up to me and as soon as I think I’m one thing, there’s someone who comes up and says, “I listen to nothing but soul music and just love that you’re putting this unique spin on soul music.” I think what they’re connecting to is that it’s from the heart and that so much of the best soul and inspired gospel singers is really this…they’re sharing from their heart. It’s like this experience that’s spiritual and so there’s still that. I don’t see any reason to sing unless I’m giving my 100 percent and giving something to the audience like giving them love or giving them something to take home with them that makes them A) Forget their issues and troubles while they’re at the show and maybe think a little bit after they left about the songs and the stories and laugh. I try to make people laugh in between the songs too. So it’s hard to label the genre because there’s so many different aspects. I mean, people who love country music find that they love my music. I say the two genres that it’s not are rap and metal [Laughs].
Being a songwriter, what were the challenges you had writing these songs?
Every song is different. I write a lot from my own life and often I’ll be inspired. I moved out of New York City to Ojai, California and I drive a lot on tour and playing shows. I’ll often be inspired in my car and start writing a song and then it’s the matter of pulling out the story and getting deeper into what I’m trying to say after the fact when I sit down with my guitar. There’s always challenges and sometimes not. Sometimes you’re looking for a word that you don’t quite have and that’s always really hard. It’s really hard to find the right cord. It’s the details that are more difficult.
I know you’re currently touring so is there anything coming up for you?
I have a bit of touring but I am finishing up a new project and I’m really most excited about the music video that I have for a song called ‘The Lion’ that is gonna be released with you guys. This album is just so good, it’s 14 songs, it’s some of my best songwriting, and a real good proper release. I’m gonna do a real LP for it, a real physical vinyl record which is awesome and more touring. More tours in Europe planned for 2017 so I’m excited for all of that.
You can check out the music video for ‘The Lion’ right here:
To listen to the track for free, click on the link here: http://nataliegelman.com/thelion