“I’ve always been a little bit weird, a little bit different. It can really set you apart. It’s so important to embrace being different rather than let it hinder you.”
Growing up in a Christian family and raised on Star Trek with her two brothers, and her two ducks, Natalie Nish comes from a musical family. A singer for a mother, and a local radio presenter for a father, singing, music and performing was always a part of her childhood and has since transcended into her adulthood. And despite looking at the pop genre as one that is heavily influential on her own career, she admits she was sheltered from most pop music as a child. From the likes of the Backstreet Boys, to the Spice Girls, to Stacie Orrico and Ed Sheeran- she appreciates pop’s structured way of writing when it comes to writing her own music.
“I love Ed Sheeran. I love his writing style and how he puts so much into a small amount of space without making it seem rushed. I love Stacie Orrico too, her voice and her style of singing is amazing. Her writing I haven’t looked into too much, but I noticed some of the songs she has recorded, she wrote back when she was 14 or 15.
“I’ve always been told that it’s really important to describe your music, in case you want to change labels or something. But I’m really not sure- I guess honest and quirky. And probably heavily pop-influenced, especially in structure.”
Similarly to Stacie, Natalie’s song writing career took off from a young age. From singing in the Church, to writing songs to sing to her younger brother, Natalie’s music and song writing abilities are still evolving, and always growing.
“I shared a room with my little brother as a kid and I remember always singing songs about fairies or something, just to help him sleep. A couple of years ago my dad found a cassette tape of songs I had written and sung when I was about ten. It’s always been there and I’ve always wanted to be a creator. Having a passion for music and wanting to create things kind of just came together into what it is now.
“For a very long time, I really wasn’t great. Even before I started studying it, I’d have ten songs I’d written at a time but I never wanted to show them to anyone, because I didn’t understand that it was okay to have bad songs. I then learnt that the most important thing is to just write, and write, and write. If you have crappy ones that come out, that’s fine- it’s just a part of the learning process and you can drop them. Once I found that mindset, it really opened up a lot more for writing. I’m still getting there though, I still try to challenge myself. I find I don’t write overly complicated chord structures or anything, so I’m trying to branch out more there.”
With years of experience and a progressive attitude, Natalie finds that her writing methods are not always typical. She admits that she won’t write a song until she has all the pieces ready to go, and will put them all together before fixing it up, rather than building up the song bit-by-bit. A lot of her lyrics come to her unexpectedly, or very much in the moment.
“I might be out somewhere and think of a word or lyric and write it down on a notepad, or I’ll be sitting at home and go back to those points later. I try to write things metaphorically a lot because otherwise I feel like I’m not doing justice to what I’m trying to say. Sometimes I’ll have my phone on record and just play around and sing whatever I feel like singing at the time, and then touch base with it later. If there’s anything I liked I’ll do it again, and then it’ll progress from there. It’s always the start of the song that’s the hardest part, afterwards you can just work on tidying everything up and making the structure more suitable. If I decide to write a song, it’s because I’ve already got all the pieces there to put it all together.”
As with her writing process, Natalie’s inspiration often comes in the moment. If she finds a particular event or emotion affecting her, she will write about it. And yet whilst most of her work is about herself and her relationships, she often finds herself wanting to write about the bigger picture- even if it is more of a challenge to do so.
“Every now and then, there’ll be topics or issues that are heavy on my heart and I’ll want to write about them, but sometimes they’ll be such a big deal that I don’t know how to write about them. I tried to write a song about homelessness a little while ago, and I’m currently debating whether or not I revisit it and write it a little bit better. Maybe to get some more knowledge about it before I go back into it.”
An evolving songwriter, Natalie is always looking for new opportunities to progress herself and show the world what she’s made of. Having only ever recorded in Melbourne, she’s been given the opportunity to record her next single in Sydney- which she says has been the highlight of her career so far.
“I contacted this songwriter in Sydney called Jeremy Fowler, whose sound I really liked. His manager said he’d be happy to work with me on my next song, so I’ll get to work with him in Sydney and get the song done. That was really exciting.”
Natalie launched her debut single ‘I’ll Leave You With This’ on June 9th. The single was premiered by The Real Songwriters of Melbourne thanks to The Backline Project. You can check out her live interview here and acoustic live performance.
You can listen to it here.
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra