Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Starboy Nathan... Coming out of his room and into stardom

Nathan Nathan Nathan Nathan

A big UK DJ (who shall remain nameless) blatantly said he does not like UK RnB. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this is me I am a UK singer. I can see that people who sing will feel disheartened and go down the route of UK rap scene because it is more successful but I am staying put.â

Having a chat with a female singer we decided that the male urban singer was indeed in the minority. Itâs not that they are not there but in this age of grime emcees and the current relative success of emcees, many would be male singers are drawn to the mic to spit some sixteens. Further than that the urban singer ready to sing RnB is an even rarer breed, rather like the snow leopard: please pledge some money to âSave the UK Male RnB singerâ and get your very own singer to adopt with yearly updates."

Thankfully we still have a small but definitely growing number of male singers holding up the fort: Talay Riley, Loick Essien, Bluey Robinson and of course, Big Brother veteran and all round heavy singer Nathan. At only twenty three he seems a bit young to be called a veteran but truthfully he tasted the music game and all its shenanigans way before many of the UK stars today.

His single 'Come Into My Room' (2005) was a huge single for an RnB track but at the tender age of seventeen if indeed the girl came into his room I am sure his backside would have been coming into close contact with a Caribbean beating: âI was seventeen when I first came out with my first song 'Come Into My Room' and I look back on that I am so happy for the experience. There are a lot of artists that come out a d they are twenty five and twenty six and that is their first song.â

An album swiftly followed 'Masterpiece' (2006) which did relatively well and a few singles off the album did well. 2008 saw him enter the Big Brother House and Nathan held his own and showed himself to be an all round basically nice guy. But where was the music!

Well Nathan was not totally off the boil in terms of music âThis year has been a very hectic and good year and I am just trying to keep it going. I have been touring with, N-Dubz, The Wanted and JLSâ he adds, âThe JLS tour was wicked and it was massive. They sold out Wembley arena twice and the O2 four times I mean the scale of it was just massive and the JLS guys are so cool and this was just a glimpse of what I want to do. It was amazing because they sold out consistently for two months December to January with twenty days out of a month at twenty five thousand was phenomenal.â

Whilst building up his life performances, behind the scenes efforts for his current album has been a process of slow but effective learning: âWell the new album is called '3d Dedication, Determination and Desire' and those are the things that have kept me in the game. There was never going to be just one song from me. I was never going to be in it for a short term and it was always about achieving longevity. The fact that it has now come to pass makes me feel it was always going to be this way. I could have shot to fame off the first track but I think I was always going to have to show my true grit.â

Not only grit but also a willingness to build his experiences and he certainly seems to be genuine in stating that he is glad that his ascent has taken a bit longer,â I feel so privileged that I have had seven years of experience where I did an album in Japan, went to America and wrote songs out there. So I have built so much experience but I still get to approach it like a new artist and I am still delivering to a new audience who may not have heard me or just heard one or two of my songs. It is however a situation that I thrive on and I still have to prove myself to people and prove myself internationally.â

Nathan bubbles with energy and he is definitely glad to be back on the music scene and he is reaping the singing fraternity, âA big UK DJ (who shall remain nameless) blatantly said he does not like UK RnB. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this is me I am a UK singer. I can see that people who sing will feel disheartened and go down the route of UK rap scene because it is more successful but I am staying put.â

With that as his ethos, his current batch of material seems seriously good and is packed full of people who are more than highly rated,â Swiss Beats is an amazing guy. I went over to the States he heard some of my stuff and he said it would be great if you came into the studio and just wrote some stuff and so that is what I did. One of the songs I made he absolutely loved and he actually wanted to give it to Chris Brown to sing and we were going to do it but then I decided that it is time for me to make my album and so I decided that 'Star' produced by Swiss should be on there. He adds, âother people on the album are K Beats who produced 'Hangover, Beat Freaks' who produced the first single 'Diamonds', Wallstreet an American producer based in Atlanta who produced 'Caught Me Slippin' with Flo-rida.â

Nathan has performed a bit of a coup because he has been off the scene but he has still had the weight to pull in some big US names. The Flo-rida track is cool and has a suitably nice video but I was really taken with Diamonds which traverses the line with that dance vibe which is en vogue and RnB. The video sees him getting all Usher but definitely with his own very individual swagger. The hook and chorus are great and Nathan goes in with some smooth vocals that perfectly compliment the track. It is a big single with a bright future on the radio waves expect Choice FM to play it again and again on both frequencies all good for Nathan: â'Diamonds' is a great song and I got a lot of great feedback regarding the track. What I wanted to do in this album that I did not do in my first album is show that fun side of my personality.â

Nathan now embarks on his next single after Diamonds with the suitably slick 'Hangover' featuring another UK hot talent in the shape of Wretch 32. âI love working with Wretch and it was a pleasure. I actually featured for him last year and the vibe was wicked and then 'Traktor' and 'Unorthodox' came out and it was great to see him achieving the success because he deserved. I had him in mind anyway because his flow I think just suits 'Hangover.'

A bumping bit of UK RnB, 'Hangover' details the day after a great night. Nathan is keen to state that this is not about getting pissed like you were sixteen and in Southend after copious vintage bottles of Lambrini from your local Turkish shop. Nathan actually very rarely drinks but he wanted the track and the new video to be âfunâ. âThe video for it was a lot of hard work but it was a lot of fun. I think it is the best video that I have done. I worked so hard on it conceptualising the video with me the producer Luti and the director Ben Peters and the video has just gone onto You Tube and the video will be going onto TV.â

Nathan is indeed fun but he is also a serious singer with serious intentions. Behind his very agreeable and likeable persona there is a clearly media savvy and tenacious individual who knows exactly what he wants and where he plans to be. He has been in this business for longer than many of the names we consider successful. The fact that he is still here bodes extremely well letâs see what this album will bring hey?

âMy aspiration has always to be an international artist but you have to cement yourself in your own country first and so my main priority is to firmly establish myself in the UK.â

Nathan's new track âHangoverâ feat. Wretch 32 will be out on September 11 and album '3d Dedication, Determination and Desire' will be out soon.

Words Semper Azeez-Harris

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