Saul Treno: Let's reflect a bit. You have had quite a year as a new artist, haven't you?
Natalie Dean: This year has sure been unpredictable for us all. Thankfully, it has given me personally a chance to slow down and really reflect on my goals as a new artist. I now have an even greater understanding of where I want to be this time next year and how I plan to get there.
ST: Anything during this year that has particularly stood out to you and life, how about to the music industry and where you fit in?
Natalie Dean: Before the world took a turn back in March, I was a senior in high school with the plan of heading straight to university in London to study music. Although I would’ve loved to be able to do so, a new opportunity presented itself once I came to terms with my “forced” gap year at home. Over the past few months, I have been working with a production team in Dublin, California. I have been writing tons of new material and am currently in the process of finalizing a seven-song lineup for my upcoming debut EP. This EP has my whole heart in it and will be released in the spring of 2021 if all goes to plan.
ST: How have you managed to keep their sanity and passion going for music through everything going on?
Natalie Dean: The only way that I’ve been able to keep any form of sanity is because of my time in the studio and working on this EP. I’ve been able to focus on a goal which has given me a sense of certainty when everything else around me seems to be the opposite. My whole focus has been on songwriting, developing my sound, and realizing my artistic vision for this project as a whole. I truly believe that this EP will showcase a different side of my artistry and give my listeners a better understanding of who I am. I am a very type-A person. Once I have a plan set in my head, I have a hard time being ok with a plan B. It’s definitely been difficult this year but I have found that this “plan B” has become such a blessing. I am so thankful for the growth I have been able to find within myself on this detour. Never have I had a team around my music like I do at this moment. My producer, engineer, studio musicians, and management team have become family. It’s truly the most incredible feeling to have that kind of support system. I’ve definitely learned that being open to new roads leads to some pretty cool destinations.
ST: How many single releases did you have for 2020? Which do you see as representing your direction best?
Natalie Dean: Unfortunately, I was not able to release nearly as much music as I had hoped to this past year. I did release two singles that I recorded back in 2019; “Broken Love of Ours”, and “Damaged Parts”. I would say that for the first time I am truly finding my sound. “Finding your sound” is not something that happens overnight. It will most likely continue to develop over the next few years but I am excited to share a different side of me with my upcoming lineup of songs. My main objective as a songwriter is to of course connect people and tell genuine stories. My EP will be filled with stories from my life and hopefully will let my listeners get to know me personally.
ST: Do you have any plans in 2021 to begin playing in clubs and venues? How about some of the festivals, or even touring?
Natalie Dean: I hope I’ll be able to start playing live! Especially with all my new material, I know I’ll be very anxious to get out and share it in person. I will definitely be crossing my fingers that live shows become a possibility once again in the new year. For now, at least, you can catch me live on Instagram! Ha-ha, definitely not the same thing but better than nothing.
ST: Thinking of playing live... Do you have a personal favorite track you like to play live? Is it different sounding from the studio, or do you all keep true to both sides?
Natalie Dean: I think that my favorite tracks to play live are the ones that I can break down acoustically to just myself and a piano. I have a song on my new record that I am so excited to perform live. It’s very raw and vulnerable so I’m hoping that I’ll really be able to connect with my audience during the moments of performing that song. After all, live shows are made up of moments. I think the most impactful ones are the moments where the audience feels that you are truly singing to them intimately. I try to keep all my music organic enough production-wise so that any song can be replicated live with an in-person band. I want my listeners to get a similar experience live as they would get from simply streaming my recorded music.
ST: As a singer-songwriter how do you all go about creating a song, and taking to recording? Is there a roundtable discussion through the process? How does it come together?
Natalie Dean: It’s honestly not as complicated as it may seem. I write pretty much every day sporadically when inspiration comes. My mother will tell you that usually, my inspiration comes at the most inconvenient of times (when everyone is asleep). Once I feel very confident about a song and have a general breakdown for it, I’ll start brainstorming production ideas, different melodies, and harmonies. If I still think that the song has potential after that, I’ll send a quick demo to my production team and start working it out from the ground up in the studio.
ST: What are some of your plans for the New Year? And plans coming with an album or EP release?
Natalie Dean: I believe that 2021 will be full of self-discovery and challenges that will push me towards artistic growth. My team and I have been pouring our whole hearts into the making of this upcoming EP and I can only hope that our hard work translates to something wonderful for the listeners. I plan to explore different genres, take on collaborations with other artists, and hopefully connect with a larger audience of people across the globe.
ST: Sign us off this year with some of your reflective thoughts over 2020.
Natalie Dean: 2020 has taught us that life can be unpredictable. But it’s that unpredictability that has made us see that nothing should be taken for granted. I think we all have learned something new about ourselves and realized that connection is vital and not guaranteed unless we work for it. I can only hope that the new year allows for some of that real connection to be restored and that we can once again dance together in crowded spaces and sing our favorite songs. I am sending each and every one of you lots of love and all my best for the year ahead. -Natalie