Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S




Natasha Bedingfield
Natasha Bedingfield Natasha Bedingfield Natasha Bedingfield Natasha Bedingfield

B&S: Since we last spoke you've gone from newcomer to international pop star; how’s that journey been?
NB: It’s been wonderful and crazy. At the beginning I felt very overwhelmed by everything because it happened so quickly. I spent years writing but then when I actually released my stuff the album went number one in the first week. It escalated so quickly and it felt like a lot to take in. It was a bit like when you first hop in to a car - I’m still learning to drive- and you don’t know what to do with it. I feel like only now I’m just getting used to the lifestyle and I’m able to enjoy it.

B&S: What’s been the biggest highlight so far?
NB: Hearing that my song ‘Unwritten’ was the most played pop song of last year in America was a pretty mad moment. At that time I was working in the studio and not even promoting it; the song just kept growing. Getting nominated for a Grammy was amazing too, especially because at the beginning I was like ‘I want my music to be global.’ You could say that’s arrogant but you’ve gotta have a dream.

B&S: There’s always much funfair about UK artists “breaking” America…
NB: I was very cautious at the beginning of saying how I thought the album would do. I was just like, ‘Well, I’m just gonna go for six weeks and see what happens.’ Then six weeks turned into six months, which turned into a year. I was never like, ‘I’m going there to conquer!’ I just wanted to try it out and give it my best; that’s all you can do. I sound like a footballer! (Starts laughing before putting on a dire cockney accent) ‘We done our best!’ I think I’m David Beckham!

B&S: When a UK artist does break America, they tend to get more respect on home turf…
NB: I hope so, but then there’s also a sense of people thinking you’ve deserted your home. I hope that doesn’t happen because I did feel like, when I was out there, ‘I’m doing this for England; I’m doing this for the country.’ It’s really great that at the moment so many British artists are doing well there now too. At that time though, when I first went out there, Americans were always asking me, ‘What makes you think you can do well here? Robbie Williams tried.’ I had something to prove. The American Dream is you start from the bottom and work your way up, so that was the attitude. I was like, ‘Alright! This is a challenge.’ The American company did really take me on board as their own artist too though.

B&S: How would you sum up the difference between your debut, ‘Unwritten’, and your new album ‘N.B.’?
NB: This is a move on but it’s still very tongue-in-cheek, with a sense of humour. There’s a growth vocally, musically and lyrically- what it speaks about, like the different stages of relationships and the problems and the angst and the stuff that comes up. There’s an honesty in it that takes a lot of balls to have. The last album was very inspirational and independent; it had the feeling of when you’re young and you think you can take on the world. I feel like, in the last couple of years, that I am vulnerable; there is a limit to how much I can do. There’s no way you can succeed at everything. You could be successful in one area but if you lose who you are in the process then you feel like a failure anyway… I feel like I failed last year because I missed every single friend’s wedding and all the birthdays. I get in at the end of the night and I still feel like there’s so many things I haven’t done and people I haven’t called.

B&S: Your debut single was called 'Single' and the first single off your new album is called 'I Want To Have Your Babies'... that's quite some leap!
NB: ‘Single’ was really honest; like: "I’m single and I actually really like it, is there a problem with that?" ‘…Babies’ is about being a girl and letting the guys in on the secret that us girls do think about the future a bit more than maybe they would like. I do, and I can’t help thinking what our kids would look like and just imagining ahead. I try and be cool and carefree, but that stuff can kinda slip out and I guess this track is kinda joking about it really.

B&S: Do you think it’s just women that play the love game or do men too?
NB: We pretend that we’re not interested, as girls. I just like honesty in music. Sometimes that can be shocking, and maybe I’ll never get a date again after that! But I don’t think so, somehow, because I think people will see that and it’ll make them laugh. It’s like we spend all this time trying to hide behind masks and pretend that we’re perfect, but really we’ve all got flaws.

B&S: Do you ever worry that your honesty might get you into trouble?
NB: Well, I’m actually a really shy person and I don’t really like talking about myself all the time. And there’s particularly one area that I’ve always been really shy about and that’s relationships with guys. I’m that person that blushes if anyone teases me about someone. For some reason, music has always been the place where I can be more daring. It’s like poetry and it’s all ambiguous. But the problem is that because I’ve written about it and decided that I really want to be honest about things in my music, I’m like, ‘Oh crap, now I’m gonna have to talk about it!’ I have to be answerable for it otherwise people are gonna think I didn’t write it.

B&S: Do you write all your own lyrics?
NB: I co-write with each person that I work with; it’s a team thing. I can’t really say what comes from me and what come from them; it’s like a spontaneous creative jam.

B&S: There is a common thread through many of your new songs that you’ve fallen in love with a friend - like ‘Tricky Angel’ for instance.
NB: That’s about a guy who won me over with reverse psychology by pretending he didn’t like me. I think that all relationships are based on friendship, but yes, that could be one interpretation of it.

B&S: There’s also your excellent album highlight ‘Soul Mate’, the lyrics on which question whether “the one” is already right in front of you…
NB: Well, that’s the question: Who is your soul mate? Who is that person who understands you without you having to tell them anything? Does that person exist? That’s what that song’s about, like maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. I was reading that book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus at that time and I hate it; I hate the fact that men and women communicate differently. I just wish it could be easier for both genders. Sometimes you meet someone and they seem to connect to you immediately but you’re just not attracted to them. Or you could be attracted to someone that’s not good for you or who doesn’t connect or get where you're at. Is there a soul mate for everyone? Some people think so but that is the big question I guess.”

B&S: Have you found your soul mate?
NB: I’ve found lots of soul mates. I’ve found lots of people who I feel I know and love but I don’t know whether I've found THE soul mate yet.

B&S: You talk about being over analytical on ‘(No More) What Ifs’.
NB: Yes, I have to be careful not to analyse stuff (bursts in to song): ‘All my friends tell me I’m thinking too much/ It’s not over till it’s over/ Because today is trouble enough/ Leave tomorrow till tomorrow.’ Yeah, it’s no more ‘what ifs’.

B&S: It’s like that whole texting thing: ‘What if I text him back straight away; will he think I’m too keen?’
NB: Yeah! (giggles) And what did it mean when he put ‘love so-and-so?’ Does that mean that he actually loves me?’ My problem is that because my parents are both counsellors and I studied psychology, I tend to think of the problems. It could be going really well but I’ll be thinking, ‘Well, that could lead to a problem’ and that can paralyse me. If you always think of that then you’ll never have a relationship. It’s back to the song on my last album, ‘I Bruise Easily’ where it’s like, really the only way to have a relationship is by opening yourself up. One thing that I have got to be grateful for is that my dad has been really good to my mum, so I do feel like I should be treated like a princess and I won’t tolerate a guy if he treats me badly.

B&S: Do you feel that being an artist can be materialistic whilst charity work grounds you?
NB: I feel like it’s good to have things outside of just yourself. I have to talk about myself all the time in interviews and I do feel like it can get really get to a self obsession scenario. It’s important to be aware of what’s happening around you. I feel like if you can get a good career going and then do something good and beneficial to others with it too, then that’s a good and positive thing.

B&S: What was the Christian band The DNA Algorithm like, that you, Daniel and your sister Nikola formed?
NB: Well, we grew up in church so we used to be around music all the time. (The band) was just the beginnings. We performed at a couple of festivals. We didn’t film them and I’m glad we didn’t really! I grew up with lots of musical people around me and church was definitely where I started singing. I still go to church when I’m in a place where there is one. I travel around so much, you know. That’s definitely where, I’d say, a lot of the soul element in my music comes from.

B&S: Even though you’re classed as a pop act, you’ve always had an affiliation with soul.
NB: I like music that has meaning to it; I like anything that has meaning to it. Like, if you see someone who’s acting and you don’t believe what they’re saying, or if you hear someone singing but you don’t really believe what they’re singing about, you can tell. I like to sing about things that mean something to me.

Natasha Bedingfield’s new album ‘N.B.’ is released on April 30 through SonyBMG
Words Elle J Small

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