Music Wednesday, February 24th

Natalie Holman: 'I'm a pop singer and I'm not ashamed of it'

The first time we saw Natalie Holman play live it was in front of thousands of people in Hereford city centre.

Playing the Christmas lights switch-on, the biggest event of the year hosted in the city’s square, she stormed it.

On the bill that night were girl band Stooshe (their track Black Heart has become engrained in the national consciousness) and Sandy Thom of ‘I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker’ fame.

And with that festive appearance now firmly ensconced on her CV, Natalie has the release of a new EP to look forward to.

“I am so thankful to get an opportunity like that,” said Natalie, who chatted to Herefordshire Live earlier this month.

“I used to go to the Christmas lights switch on when I was little and I would watch the performers on stage and want to be them.

“I had such an incredible time being a part of something so important in my hometown.”

The Chapel Sessions, recorded in Hereford

Natalie's EP, will be released in April, and there are plans for a launch in Hereford.

“My EP is a mixture. One of the songs is definitely a fun twist on a break up song. It's basically saying 'I'm better off without you',” said Natalie.

“There is a song about the first stage of falling in love; I like to call that one surgary sweet. I am a pop artist and I'm not ashamed of it.”

There will be four songs on the EP written by Natalie.

“It’s important for me to use personal experience,” she said.

“When I write for myself I want to be personal and I want to get that across to the listeners.

“Sometimes I'll pick up on an experience, elaborate on it or think of a new scenario. It can start with the smallest of subjects but I will build it up the best I can to make the song.

“I started writing when I was at high school then I took a break. It seemed like a big test at the time.

“I used to sit down and try to write and it would never happen. It comes when I am watching TV or on the phone. Even if it’s just a line, I will write it down."

Natalie came to the attention of music industry movers and shakers in 2013 through a national competition entered by thousands.

“Two and a half years ago I did Open Mic UK. I got picked by a recording studio in Southampton. It’s a development programme and they teach you how to write pop songs.

“I used to get up at 4am in the morning to travel down south and I'd get back at 9pm in the evening.

“Open Mic gave me an opportunity to work with a studio and create my EP, but I think that I would've eventually created an EP, whether I'd been in the competition or not, as it’s been a goal of mine for a long time.” 

In another career step, Natalie is currently being endorsed by California-based Daisy Rock Girl Guitars, a firm making instruments designed for women.

Encouraging women to fearlessly pursue careers in the entertainment industry is important for the Herefordian.

“I love those strong women - Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, and Stevie Nicks. 

"You have to break down these barriers that are set up, but my message is to just follow what's in your heart.

"I think that is the most important lesson.

“I have had so many setbacks and had some many people tell me you cannot do this or that. When I was young I took it on board but I carried on. I am very much about proving people wrong.

“When I was in Belfast I met a little girl who wanted to play guitar and her father told me it was because of me.

“I'm really pleased that I encouraged someone. I want to be a good influence and an inspiration to woman out there.”

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