We’d like to introduce you to Natalie Holmes from Bristol, England. You may know or have seen her on YouTube. The 20 year old singer/songwriter has been posting videos on her YouTube channel for the past three years, managing to amass over 14,000 subscribers and more than a million views. She’s performed covers of famous artists, as well as her own original material. In January of this year (2013) she released her first EP titled The Simplest Things
, which went to #5 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart it’s first day. Now, 8 months later she’s set to release her second EP Child
, due out August 18th.
For Today’s Song we’re featuring a performance video of Natalie singing her original song ‘Coming Back’. From her upcoming Child EP, the moving ballad demonstrates both her lyrical and vocal ability. The singer took some time recently to answer our questions about her start, songwriting and future.
DaysTune Q&A with Natalie Holmes:
1) Tell us how this all started, the singing, writing, YouTube?
I’ve always been musical since before I can remember, and I know I’ve been singing all my life. My parents got me having piano lessons when I was very very young, and then I picked up a guitar and taught myself when I was around 15. Songwriting is something I’ve always had a huge passion for and interest in, and I still every now and then find scraps of paper with very embarrassing songs I wrote when I was like, 12 haha. YouTube started when a friend heard me playing guitar and singing in a spontaneous jam session at a house party, and after that kept telling me I had to upload something online. I was scared to death but he eventually persuaded me and I never looked back!
2) How much of this have you done on your own? Record label?
Pretty much all of it I guess! I’ve never had a manager or been signed to a label. I’ve started working with my producer ortoPilot in the last year (on my first EP ‘The Simplest Things’ and now on ‘Child’), and he’s helped me out a lot, but I was completely on my own before that. I’ve always been skeptical about people who ask to work with me as I’m aware I’m very young and still pretty naive about the whole thing, so don’t want to rush into anything, but I’m gradually building a little circle of people I trust in the industry that I can ask about these things, which is nice!
3) Tell us about the YouTube experience and what its taken to make it work for you?
I get messages from people sometimes saying “How did you get into the iTunes chart?”, “How did you promote this, that or the other?”, “How did you get so many views so quickly?”. And my answer always is, I made videos for over 3 years, that’s how. It’s all about long term hard work and building your career from the bottom. There is rarely a quick fix in the music industry, but people struggle with that fact – I know I still do!
4) Where did the inspiration for the song Coming Back come from?
Ah, kind of a touchy subject. It’s about being in a relationship where the other person keeps panicking that you’re not gonna stick around. It’s a song of reassurance, however it’s ironically filled with doubt, almost like the singer is trying to reassure themselves at the same time that what they’re saying is actually true. Deep ha…
5) Do you set out to write certain songs or are they more organic? Tell us about your process?
The best songs are always the ones you don’t set out to write. Unfortunately you can’t always be filled with magical inspiration and suddenly everything pours out into a perfect song (although when that happens you’re pretty much sorted!), so a lot of the time I do ‘set out’ to write a song. I dunno, it’s kinda completely hit or miss as to whether a song is going to work or not. I don’t have a specific process, sometimes I get a sudden inspiration for a guitar/piano part, sometimes I hear some chords that I really want to use, but more often than not I just want to say something and the lyrics come first.
6) Favorite song on the new EP?
That’s such a hard one. I’m actually so happy with the EP and have a soft spot for all the tracks for different reasons.
Child, simply because I wrote it completely on my own (with a few pointers from teachers), but slaved away at it for months until I was completely happy with it. And now I’m so proud ’cause it feel’s like one of the best songs i’ve written! It’s definitely a very self-centred song, not really about any one else, but just about me trying to make my own way in the world, which is something i’ve been really passionate about recently.
Coming Back was a co-write. I got stuck on it years ago after writing the two verses and just couldn’t move it on from there at all. I went to work on some writing with a guy called Matt Montgomery-Taylor and we decided to resurrect it and having that second head in the equation just brought it back to life! It was my first ever proper co-write, but still had a lot of meaning to me.
‘Not Enough‘: I set out to write this with the intention of writing something simple, and not focusing on making it commercial, just saying what I needed to say straight out. It was a very therapeutic process for me and is definitely the one I feel most vulnerable performing. The whole song was written in about 10 minutes and I barely made any changes afterwards. That would be an ‘organic’ song if ever there was one.
Snakes & Ladders is just so fun! I find it very hard to write upbeat songs but when I do it successfully I’m just so happy. The production on this track is probably what makes it for me too, thanks ortoPilot!
Now Hydrogen… another deep, haunting song for me, and another that I felt wrote itself. I got so much positive feedback from this when I first put it on youtube months ago and I really love the lyrics I came up with too. I’m a sucker for lyrics!
7) Stranded on a island…guitar or piano? Piano!
8) What’s the next step for you now?
I’m kinda just chugging along the way I have been, promoting myself as much as I can on my own, but I’m gradually building up a small team of people that I can get help and advice from which is great. I have one year of uni left, so ultimately that’s one year left to get my act together and hopefully leave uni with something tangible to work with! I’m just really focusing on writing and EP’s at the moment as that’s something I don’t need too much help with.
9) Any plans to visit the US?
I WISH. I’m holding my first headline show next Friday (the ‘Child’ EP launch!), in Bristol, and I’m waiting to see how that turns out before I even think about organising any more headline shows, let alone perform in the US! But definitely one day, I promise!
Natalie’s EP is out Aug 18th – With a launch party in Bristol for our UK visitors who live close. Check out Natalie’s links below and Get this EP! Watch the Official video for Child here – Watch
Natalie Holmes – Facebook
@natalieholmes – Twitter
Natalie Holmes – YouTube
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