For the past few months, I’ve been exploring the world of music as seen through the eyes of producers, rap artists, and singers. This exploratory time has been an eye-opening look into an industry that so many of us are commercially connected to, but know little to nothing about.
One particular fact of the industry is that there is so much true talent out there. So much, in fact, that sifting through the plethora of musical artists is almost like walking into the Library of Congress – and trying to choose one book out of its 158 million shelf offering.
Fortunately, it has been my privilege to not only listen to, but interact with these talents; the interaction has not only broadened my understanding of each of these artists’ personal experience of music, but also a greater insight and appreciation of music itself.
During this period of exploration, I stumbled across talented singer named Natalie Rogers. She was gracious enough to agree to the interview below.
KW - So, where did you grow up?
NR - I grew up in the Steel City -- Pittsburgh, PA, born and raised!
KW - How long have you been singing?
NR - I first started singing when I was in 4th grade, about 9 years old. Fourth grade was the year that students were able to join chorus in my school, so it all started way back when. I started taking singing more seriously when I was about 16. Then I started taking voice lessons. In college, I was a music major, so I joined a few choirs and received more vocal instruction. I had a lot of amazing opportunities at college and was able to sing as a solo singer for many campus events. Ever since graduation, I've been writing my own music!
KW - When did you first decide you wanted to sing?
NR - I used to be a huge fan of the Spice Girls. I was about 6 years old when they were big. I remember thinking how much I wanted to be in a girl group and sing. Of course being six years old, that can't be taken too seriously. But since then, I haven't been able to shake the idea of wanting to be a singer.
KW - What kind of music inspires you?
NR - It depends on my mood, but I generally like upbeat, positive music with hints of funk. I've always loved pop music and have had a strong liking for funk. More recently, I have gotten into electronic music as well. As long as it's upbeat and funky, I love it!
KW - What other song artists have influenced you?
NR - My main influence is Michael Jackson. His early music was just so catchy and funky that he has heavily influenced me since I was young. I really like Rihanna as well. I think her and I have a similar voice, so I like to draw some of my influence from her as well. Katy Perry is also an influence of mine. I love "Teenage Dream" and "Firework" for reasons such as they are inspiring, upbeat, and fun. Amy Winehouse is also an influence because her music contains jazz influences.
KW - What genre do you enjoy singing the most?
NR - I've been trained in classical and jazz voice, which I both love. But I also love to sing Pop while throwing in R&B/jazz techniques. I think I prefer pop to classical and jazz voice, because I feel like I have more room to be myself and showcase who I am through that kind of music. Classical voice is a more strict technique. I love it, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't truly show the person I am.
KW - Do you write songs? If so, what do your songs focus on?
NR - I do! My songs are mostly about love and having fun. As a person, I'm rather vibrant and energetic, so that definitely transfers into my music. I think it's more fun to write upbeat music. It's always great to give listeners something positive to experience.
KW - How did you first start networking to put out your songs? Was it difficult to get started?
NR - I just tried to put my music anywhere and everywhere that I can. I'm still in the process of "getting started," and yes, it can be difficult. Right now, I am doing most of my networking on social media. I think it is easier for a musician to network by performing in public, but I am still in the process of figuring out how I can perform my music, since I created all of it with just my voice, a keyboard, and a computer; I’m a one-woman show. It's important to keep up with networking, because fans can become disinterested if a musician isn't keeping up with updates. I'm doing the best I can! I wish music could be a full time job for me, but unfortunately I have a job that takes away from the time I can spend on music, but I am doing my best to make it work! Hopefully I can make music a full time gig for me sooner than later!
KW - What is it like to record songs? Is it a difficult process? How long does it take?
NR - Since I only play keyboard and sing, it's takes me maybe a month or two to finish one song all on my own. I have very little experience with recording and no experience with mixing and mastering, so it's a bit difficult. When I write my songs all by myself, it is rewarding and amazing to see the finished product come together. Recently, I have been collaborating with producers, where they create the instrumental, and I come up with the lyrics, melody, and vocals. That is 100 times easier for me, because I am a lot better at coming up with lyrics than with coming up with the instrumental part. I love working with other people! It's amazing to have two completely different talents mixed into one product.
KW - Is your work available to purchase?
NR - Not yet! I am trying to work on having enough songs to create an album, so once I put my first album out, then my songs will be out for purchase, but for now you can check out my songs on SoundCloud!
KW – Thanks for the interview!