Amplif[ie]d | Natalie Brooke
By: Jamie Durante
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, it’s no surprise that Natalie Brooke is a multifaceted artist who puts her very soul into her music. From her passionate lyrics to her folky-pop vibe, Natalie brings an upbeat and honest sound that is relatable and refreshing. This may be due to Natalie’s early life, which was full of music, family and love. Natalie’s first musical performance very well could have happened before she even remembers. She grew up singing beautiful worship songs in church while her dad played the acoustic guitar.
Now, Natalie is a successful multi-talented woman who writes music, plays guitar and sings . . . and it doesn’t stop there. Playing drums since she was 14-years-old, Natalie recently executed percussion and drums on her single, “The Truth Is,” which she also co-produced. A well-rounded musician, Natalie is also familiar with the piano, bass and electric guitar, although she prefers going acoustic. Take a moment to learn even more about Natalie, as we were lucky enough to get to know this up-and-coming musician and her captivating voice first-hand.
Q. What about life inspires you most in your songwriting?
Natalie Brooke: Probably the most common answer to that question is, "Relationships." Unfortunately, I’m no different! My songs tend to focus on whatever struggles I’ve encountered in relationships: external opinions and pressures, finding insane chemistry with one who’s already taken, realizing the wrongly placed pressure I’ve put on someone to define me. Vulnerability and honesty—even about the things I am not proud of—have become instrumental (no pun intended) for my songwriting. The complications, perspectives, societal norms, prejudices and psychology of all that clashes together in human connections fascinates and inspires me.
Q. How has having a musical family affected and supported your musical endeavors?
Natalie: Music was happening all around me as a kid, whether it be my parents blasting Carol King or U2, my dad riffing around on his guitar, all of us belting 3-part harmony to "Going to the Chapel" or being dragged off to another one of my parents’ church band rehearsals. They always encouraged me to sing and play instruments (my dad was my personal guitar teacher), often pushing me to learn whatever was needed in the church worship band. Being around it all of the time made me want to be apart of it. My parents’ support has been invaluable. They’ve driven me to gigs. They’re my band when I need one. I always throw my new songs at them for feedback, and they challenge me and bear with me—even when I don’t handle their opinions so well. I must owe my dad hundreds of thousands of dollars in studio time and production creativity. My beautiful mom/bass player is also my personal photographer. They also supported me while I studied for my music degree and attended my classical/opera performances. It seems there is no end to their support, and I would probably be off in some "safe" career without their help.
Q. Your voice has landed you in an opera performance. Can you tell us more about this experience?
Natalie: In 2012, I got to play Gretel in CSUSB’s production of "Hansel und Gretel", by Humperdink. This remains my biggest musical challenge ever! I was in my junior year at Cal State, studying classical voice and was elated when I landed this roll. This three-act opera, directed by Stacey Fraser, was non-stop classical singing, all in German. We had one month of just music and diction rehearsals, followed by staging and production rehearsals that culminated in two magical performances, with full stage sets and costumes (in "Tim Burton" style), including a live orchestra with conductor Kosta Popovic. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and formed some of my closest friendships. We’ve since lost two of the beautiful souls involved in this production. It makes me cherish this experience and the creative time I had with them, all the more.
Q. What does the future hold for you and your music career?
Natalie: I’ll continue writing, recording and gigging around southern California. I have three singles in process right now, which will be released in 2015. I’ve been producing and releasing everything independently, using online distributors like CD Baby and iTunes. It’s awesome having that much control over every aspect of making music, but it’s also pretty exhausting. I’d like to work with other producers and be able to do tours. I’ve been getting out to more open mics in the LA area, and I also have an upcoming audition for The Voice, which I’m hoping will yield some good connections and/or new fans.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Natalie: That they should all go check out my single, "The Truth Is" and, if they like it, buy it! This single was a first big step in the direction I am proud to be heading, both musically and lyrically. I actually like the music I am making now, which hasn’t always been the case. I would greatly appreciate the support!
Catch Natalie at her favorite venue to play in the IE, the Victoria Gardens Farmers Market this Fri, Jan. 16th at 10a.m. As a beautiful outdoor hub for music and fresh foods, Natalie appreciates the supportive and encouraging atmosphere of this vibrant venue. Start your day off right with the refreshing vocals and tight chords of Natalie Brooke.
If you want to find out more about Natalie and her original music, visit www.nataliebrooke.com!