Growing up in North London, Natty’s musical childhood was an immersive, eclectic mix of sounds spanning everything from Neil Young to Bob Marley. His debut album ‘Man Like I’ captivated the attention of the UK media and established him as a respected songwriter and festival favourite across Europe and Japan, where he had a #1 hit with ‘Badman’.
Following a self-imposed hiatus from recording music, Natty is back with a new album, set to be released early next year.
The first release from the album will be the single, ‘Gaia’, due for release this Friday 7th August on Natty’s website as well as the usual online outlets. The release comes with mixes from heavyweights Benny Page and Prince Fatty.
Soul searching and sonically haunting, ‘Gaia’ is the epitome of the journey he has taken as both artist and man. Written on the road and recorded with his band in Natty’s own studio, ‘Gaia’ will be released with an accompanying music video shot in Morocco by the talented Pasquale Pagano. A tribute to mother nature’s glory, it will be unveiled alongside the single on 8th August.
Our editor, Dan Aston, caught up with Natty in the wake of his recent performance at The Watering Hole in Perranporth, Cornwall.
Dan Aston: The format of your current tour is a bit different to your normal shows. What was the inspiration for stripping back and playing intimate gigs?
Natty: I wanted to make a different kind of connection with the people, plus I think it made it special for everybody to have it so intimate. I started the journey of my first album with intimate shows, so it’s only right to start the second album campaign like this.
DA: Your EP ‘Things I’ve Done’ has an acoustic and minimalistic feel to it. Do you prefer this style of playing?
N: No, nothing beats the energy we create when me and my band are on a vibe. However, acoustic with me and my guitar is where the inspiration starts, so I like sharing this side as well.
DA: Your upcoming single has an interesting and personal back story. What can you tell us about the meaning behind ‘Gaia’?
N: Gaia means mother earth or mother nature, it is the female spirit of the earth and the sea. This is what I came in contact with on my travels. This song was written over a two-month period, I started it in a desert in southern Africa just after meeting the legendary Credo Mutwa, and completed it in a Rasta camp next to the firewater spring in Jamaica. It is a homage to earth which, right now, needs our protection.
DA: Have you got any other projects in the works?
N: I’ve just finished a song with Gentleman’s Dub Club. I also produced and put together a compilation for our new record label that some of us formed, ‘Vibes and Pressure Volume 1’.
DA: Aside from music you’re extremely passionate about making a difference here and abroad with your charity work. For fans that possibly don’t know about this side of you, what do you get up to?
N: Here I like to work with disadvantaged kids and homeless people, mainly songwriting workshops and mentoring, as well as being patron to a couple of other charities. Also, I am part of ERASE Foundation. We look after 3 schools in the Gambia as well as an orphanage with over 70 children, this is being supported by our own pockets so any donations are most welcome… erasefoundation.org.uk
DA: Does your charity work influence your songwriting?
N: Yes, but I don’t think specific songs about stories have been written….yet.
DA: You had an interesting musical childhood. What was it like growing up around such different musical styles and what influence have they had on your music today?
N: I feel blessed to grow up as I did with food on my plate and good music to listen to, living in London as well, has all added to the fusion of sounds I/we like to create.
DA: What was it like performing at The Watering Hole in Cornwall?
N: Loved it, always such positive vibes whenever I come to Cornwall, so much that I just booked a gig on the 1st August in St Agnes.
Natty will mark the launch of ‘Gaia’ with a live performance at Vibes and Pressure at Passing Clouds, Dalston on 7th August.
The release also includes a limited edition 7-inch vinyl single on 21st August. The Prince Fatty Remix, a nostalgia-tinted, dub-heavy banger will be accompanying the original on the vinyl edition.