Pre-College alumna Natalise (of Natalise + the Sunset Run) has made waves since entering the pop scene nearly two decades ago. From performing the national anthem at Warriors games to the airplay her music receives on radio and television to new album releases and music videos, Natalise's artistry and unique voice have been practically ubiquitous. In this Q&A, she shares a few thoughts on her SFCM education and how it has influenced her musical journey.
Many have trouble imagining the connection between classical and pop music. As an artist with a foot in both worlds, how do you bridge the gap between the genres?
That's a great question. These different worlds have a throughline. At the end of the day, it's all about authentic emotion and storytelling through melody, lyrics, and musical atmosphere. "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi is a girl singing to her dad, begging him for acceptance because he doesn't like her new beau. I'm pretty sure that was what "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna was about, too, albeit with a little more sass. And more recently, there was "Rude" by Magic! (This time it's a guy singing to the girl's dad.) We're all just telling (singing) stories, so I see musical worlds as more similar than not.
You've been performing from such an early age, is there any one lesson from your time at SFCM that has stuck with you over the years?
I cut my teeth at SFCM; it was my training ground in terms of performance. It was my first time really singing in front of a crowd (solo) and being around people who were serious about their craft. I remember coming up through the prep program and meeting really amazingly talented people. I was so intimidated in the beginning—my shyness did not serve me well. But I remember landing the lead role in one particular larger production. I was surprised, but secretly overjoyed, of course. That experience allowed me to come out of my shell a little bit, and I realized that I was really able to grow simply because someone believed in me, which gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I try to take that lesson to heart when I'm doing the auditioning and/or hiring now. Sometimes there are diamonds in the rough who just need a little push.
The "Love Unconditional" video is visually stunning and the music is so lush. What were some of your inspirations and influences?
I am a huge fan of Sigur Rós and Coldplay. I take great inspiration from creating atmosphere because of them.
Do you have any advice for young songwriters trying to break into the industry?
Be authentically you. Don't try to write what you think people want to hear. The industry is fickle and you might as well write something you're always going to be proud of, regardless of the outcome. It's great and fine to have inspirations, but we don't need a Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran copy. Bring to the world your original creative genius.
What's on the horizon for you?
I just released the new EP Constellations, which you can find on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc. I've just filmed the video for "In The Fall," which is being edited, and I'll be filming "Be" soon. You'll be able to find them on YouTube or on the Natalise + the Sunset Run Facebook or Instagram.
Check out Natalise + the Sunset Run’s new music video, “Love Unconditional,” called “simply gorgeous” by The Huffington Post.