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Issue 1084

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NATASHA BEDINGFIELD: CAPITAL GAINS

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; howâs that journey been?
NB: Itâs 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 - Iâm still learning to drive- and you donât know what to do with it. I feel like only now Iâm just getting used to the lifestyle and Iâm able to enjoy it.

B&S: Whatâs been the biggest highlight so far?
NB: Hearing that my song âUnwrittenâ 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 âI want my music to be global.â You could say thatâs arrogant but youâve gotta have a dream.

B&S: Thereâs always much funfair about UK artists âbreakingâ Americaâ¦
NB: I was very cautious at the beginning of saying how I thought the album would do. I was just like, âWell, Iâm just gonna go for six weeks and see what happens.â Then six weeks turned into six months, which turned into a year. I was never like, âIâm going there to conquer!â I just wanted to try it out and give it my best; thatâs all you can do. I sound like a footballer! (Starts laughing before putting on a dire cockney accent) âWe done our best!â I think Iâm David Beckham!

B&S: When a UK artist does break America, they tend to get more respect on home turfâ¦
NB: I hope so, but then thereâs also a sense of people thinking youâve deserted your home. I hope that doesnât happen because I did feel like, when I was out there, âIâm doing this for England; Iâm doing this for the country.â Itâs 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, âWhat makes you think you can do well here? Robbie Williams tried.â 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, âAlright! This is a challenge.â 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, âUnwrittenâ, and your new album âN.B.â?
NB: This is a move on but itâs still very tongue-in-cheek, with a sense of humour. Thereâs 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. Thereâs 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 youâre 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. Thereâs 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 friendâs wedding and all the birthdays. I get in at the end of the night and I still feel like thereâs so many things I havenât done and people I havenât 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: âSingleâ was really honest; like: "Iâm single and I actually really like it, is there a problem with that?" ââ¦Babiesâ 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 canât 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 itâs just women that play the love game or do men too?
NB: We pretend that weâre not interested, as girls. I just like honesty in music. Sometimes that can be shocking, and maybe Iâll never get a date again after that! But I donât think so, somehow, because I think people will see that and itâll make them laugh. Itâs like we spend all this time trying to hide behind masks and pretend that weâre perfect, but really weâve all got flaws.

B&S: Do you ever worry that your honesty might get you into trouble?
NB: Well, Iâm actually a really shy person and I donât really like talking about myself all the time. And thereâs particularly one area that Iâve always been really shy about and thatâs relationships with guys. Iâm 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. Itâs like poetry and itâs all ambiguous. But the problem is that because Iâve written about it and decided that I really want to be honest about things in my music, Iâm like, âOh crap, now Iâm gonna have to talk about it!â I have to be answerable for it otherwise people are gonna think I didnât write it.

B&S: Do you write all your own lyrics?
NB: I co-write with each person that I work with; itâs a team thing. I canât really say what comes from me and what come from them; itâs like a spontaneous creative jam.

B&S: There is a common thread through many of your new songs that youâve fallen in love with a friend - like âTricky Angelâ for instance.
NB: Thatâs about a guy who won me over with reverse psychology by pretending he didnât like me. I think that all relationships are based on friendship, but yes, that could be one interpretation of it.

B&S: Thereâs also your excellent album highlight âSoul Mateâ, the lyrics on which question whether âthe oneâ is already right in front of youâ¦
NB: Well, thatâs 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? Thatâs what that songâs about, like maybe he does, maybe he doesnât. 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 youâre just not attracted to them. Or you could be attracted to someone thatâs not good for you or who doesnât 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.â

B&S: Have you found your soul mate?
NB: Iâve found lots of soul mates. Iâve found lots of people who I feel I know and love but I donât know whether I've found THE soul mate yet.

B&S: You talk about being over analytical on â(No More) What Ifsâ.
NB: Yes, I have to be careful not to analyse stuff (bursts in to song): âAll my friends tell me Iâm thinking too much/ Itâs not over till itâs over/ Because today is trouble enough/ Leave tomorrow till tomorrow.â Yeah, itâs no more âwhat ifsâ.

B&S: Itâs like that whole texting thing: âWhat if I text him back straight away; will he think Iâm too keen?â
NB: Yeah! (giggles) And what did it mean when he put âlove so-and-so?â Does that mean that he actually loves me?â 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 Iâll be thinking, âWell, that could lead to a problemâ and that can paralyse me. If you always think of that then youâll never have a relationship. Itâs back to the song on my last album, âI Bruise Easilyâ where itâs 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 wonât 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 itâs 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. Itâs important to be aware of whatâs 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 thatâs 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 didnât film them and Iâm glad we didnât 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 Iâm in a place where there is one. I travel around so much, you know. Thatâs definitely where, Iâd say, a lot of the soul element in my music comes from.

B&S: Even though youâre classed as a pop act, youâve 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 whoâs acting and you donât believe what theyâre saying, or if you hear someone singing but you donât really believe what theyâre singing about, you can tell. I like to sing about things that mean something to me.

Natasha Bedingfieldâs new album âN.B.â is released on April 30 through SonyBMG
Words Elle J Small

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