About Time You Met: Singer-Songwriter Natalie GrayBy Angelica Malin
Rising pop singer-songwriter Natalie Gray has performed at festivals and events such as Pride in London supporting Becky Hill and Fleur East, and Penn Fest 2021 supporting Rag’n’Bone Man, and collaborated with dance talents including Joel Corry and Charlie Hedges.
Her latest single ‘Fallen Into Dreaming’ comes after Natalie’s first-ever UK tour ‘Take Back The Beat’ which raised money for Women’s Aid to help support survivors of domestic abuse.
Hi Natalie, thanks for chatting to us today. We’re very excited about your brand new single ‘Fallen Into Dreaming’! Could you walk us through the creation process and what the song is about?
Thank you so much! So “Fallen into Dreaming” is all about that honeymoon period, the butterflies in the stomach, the goofy grin that is impossible to hide and struggling to remember a time your mind wasn’t filled with thoughts of them.
I wrote this song with my childhood friend Jack Craig, who is also my co-writer behind ‘One in a Million’; we were sending each other voice notes on WhatsApp during lockdown on little melodies and ideas and all of a sudden we had a chorus we couldn’t get out of heads!
When lockdown ended we got together and started writing the whole song based around this fun, upbeat, 80s throwback chorus. It still makes me smile from ear to ear listening to it.
You’ve also recently released your single ‘Fire’, and the story behind it is quite moving – could you tell us a little about it?
Absolutely, ‘Fire’ was written with my good friends Moonwalker and at first, we had this idea of a music video where a car was being set on fire – no idea where this came from but it was a fun starting point and all of a sudden I realised I was writing a song on a subject I never thought I’d be able to talk about let alone sing about. The song is about a toxic relationship and finding the strength to leave as well as accepting that you deserve better. It’s about a personal experience which led to working closely with Women’s Aid on a tour raising money for survivors of domestic abuse.
You’re originally from Reading! Do you feel like pursuing music whilst living outside of London takes a toll on artists?
Great question, but no actually! Reading has quite a big music scene, obviously with the festival bringing a big rock influence to Reading. Growing up a Friday night was usually spent at either the Facebar or The Fez Club watching bands such as Exit 10 or Arusha Accord or a battle of the bands. Most of my friends from Reading are actually musicians or performers but we were very lucky that London is so close and accessible that we could go to gigs there too – it just works out expensive! It’s great how many places outside London have such an incredible and growing music scene.
Your first-ever UK tour ‘TAKE BACK THE BEAT’ helped raised money for Women’s Aid. Could you tell us more about the tour and why you chose to support a charitable cause?
It was so much fun! I co-founded and co-produced ‘Take Back The Beat’ which came out alongside a podcast I also host talking to activists and survivors as well as celebrities about how we can make the world a safer place.
The tour came about because I use music as an escape, as a therapy almost, and because most of my music is very upbeat and with a positive message I wanted to release something a bit more vulnerable, share my experience and help, even if its only one person, feel not so alone. Women’s Aid does incredible work for survivors and for those in situations where they are not safe but feel they have nowhere to turn. Although they are working so hard, the past few years has made a lot of us feel unsafe to just go for a run, or even just walk home from the tube and I’d love to be part of a much-needed change towards women’s safety. We had incredible support from artists such as Billy Lockett, Push Baby and Soda and got to play some gorgeous venues such as Omeara in London. In fact, there may be a Take Back The Beat Tour 2.0 being announced very soon…. watch this space!
You’ve lent your voice to an impressive amount of dance tracks – what is it about dance music that appeals to you?
Growing up in the 90s I was always listening to music on my little walkman! I would listen to everything; from powerhouse vocals such as Mariah and Whitney or complete girl power vibes of the Spice Girls, to 80s rock influences such as ACDC or Guns n Roses and then completely burn my Garage Classics album from overplaying.
I love all genres of music, especially music that has an emotional reaction and with dance music, there’s just nothing like hearing a beat that reminds you of an epic night out with your friends, or road trips with Radio One blasting in the background. When Billy Da Kid (my first dance collaboration) asked me to vocal his single with Joel Corry it just felt like home. I also love the fact you can write something really meaningful and heartbreaking then put a fast BPM drum track underneath it and all of a sudden it’s a club banger. For instance, ‘Remember’ by Becky Hill if you hear it acoustic is just so stunning and emotive. Sneaky sneaky!
You’ve collaborated with some big names in the industry – what was your favourite collaboration and why?
That is such a hard question! I love all the artists and producers I’ve collaborated with, however, my first introduction to collaborating was with the Wideboys and Billy Da Kid. Not only did these guys open some great doors for me; they also have become great friends who are always there when I voice note them with small breakdowns about career moves or need a second opinion on a song I’ve written. I’m so lucky I get to create music as a job that when you work with people who become friends it’s an epic bonus and reminds me how lucky I am.
Who is your dream collaborator?
I would absolutely love to work with The 1975. I am full-blown obsessed. Their music is just stunning and has hilarious lyrics that are so clever, and also Matt Healy is such an amazing frontman.
In a sentence, how would you describe yourself as an artist/your sound?
If Madonna circa 1989 had a baby with The 1975 surrounded by pic n mix sweets and Pokemon… that would be Nat Gray. Hahaha!
What most important lessons have you learned since starting in music?
That music is subjective; when I first started in music I was very much trying to please people, trying to get people to like me or my sound and actually, that is just never gonna happen! You’re never going to be everyone’s favourite flavour of cake, so you might as well be your own favourite. That’s kind of what I live by, as long as I am proud of the music I am making, I am having fun making that music and enjoying life then I would say that is success, not a million streams or a top 10 hit.
I think we can get obsessed over numbers, especially since social media became such a huge part of our lives, but we need to remember to enjoy the moments and be proud of everything we achieve even if sometimes that just means having the strength to accept a knockback and keep going.
What are a few of your short-term goals?
My three main short-term goals I guess would be, to be played on Radio One’s Future Pop show, to play Glasto and I’d love to support a band on a world tour (ideally The 1975… if you’re listening!).