Though only in her early 20’s, Natalie Stovall has been performing nearly all her life. Whether onstage with the Opryland Kids Club, wowing crowds with her fiddle playing, or singing to anyone who would put her on stage, she has been keeping audiences on the edge of their seats for two decades. A performer in the truest sense of the word, Natalie is a perfect example of what happens when natural talent intersects with true perseverance, and she possesses a poise and dedication not often found in an artist her age.
Playing violin since the age of four, Natalie found she had an aptitude for the instrument right away, though she sometimes had trouble hiding the exuberance she felt while playing for a crowd. “When I was eight, I kept getting in trouble for smiling too much onstage,” recalls Natalie, laughing. “I think they wanted me to take it more seriously, which I was, but I felt like since I was onstage I was supposed to smile and perform. The first time they let me do a fiddle song I just fell in love with it…and the rest is history.”
Between fiddle competitions Natalie was also acting in commercials and industrial films. At 10, she auditioned for the Opryland Kids Club and found she had a talent for singing as well. Her stint in the Kids Club led to some other great opportunities, including an invitation to play on the Grand Ole Opry at 12. It also helped land her a spot on “Oprah” four years later, where she did her fiddle tricks on Oprah’s ‘funniest viewer’ show.
For college, Natalie decided on the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. At Berklee she formed a country band, Green Line South, and started performing around town. She and the band traveled home to Nashville during summer vacations and played shows around town, and even released an independent record of some of Natalie's first songs. It was during this time that Natalie’s love of country music really flourished. “I had always been expected to sing country because I was a little blonde who played the fiddle, but for school I was forced to delve into many different genres…classical, jazz, pop… it was a lot of fun, but my love for country music never died. It’s where I belong.”
After school, Natalie returned to Nashville, and quickly realized she wanted to do something musically that would reflect how far she had come over the past few years. What started as a search for a new demo quickly spiraled into something much bigger, and she was soon recording her CD. Though influenced by singers like Shania Twain and Garth Brooks growing up, Natalie’s love of country and R&B greats like Ronnie Milsap, Wynonna Judd, and Bonnie Raitt pulled her writing in a much different direction.
“I was a radio girl growing up, listening to country and Top 40, and I loved artists like Michael Jackson and Garth Brooks. When we started recording this album, at first I thought we’d go for the whole country- rock thing. I could see myself flying out over the audience with my fiddle on fire, but the problem was… that wasn’t what I was writing. I love big rock songs because I’m such a ham onstage, and I like to do whatever I can to get the audience involved. But I’ve also always loved the way music with real soul can just reach into you and make you feel something deeper than adrenaline. And when I started writing for this record it just turned out to be the southern soul in me rather than the Detroit rock city that was trying to get out.”
To help Natalie forge her new sound her producers enlisted veterans Pat Buchanan, Greg Morrow, Tony Harrel and Alison Prestwood, and the result is a record full of blue-eyed soul and Memphis grooves. “It really is country-soul, more of a Bonnie Raitt-Ronnie Milsap kind of thing. Some of the songs rock pretty hard, but the majority of them are straight old-school,” admits Natalie. “I don’t know where it came from, but that’s what was in me, and I was fortunate to have people around that could help realize my music."
All but three of the songs were penned by Natalie, which also helps give the record its unique flavor. Painstakingly assembled using the best players and material possible, she feels it is truly the record she was always meant to make. “I’m really pleased with how it’s taken shape. I haven’t cut any corners with this album. It may not be ‘country’ in the Hank Williams sense of the word, but you know… I grew up in Columbia, Tennnessee, I am country…and this is my music. It’s something I’m very proud of, and it truly is a representation of me.”
Contact: Make Entertainment/Paul Jarosik 617 529-1743
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