Name: Natasha Hemmings
Occupation: Classical singer, songwriter
Recent release: Natasha Hemmings's new single "Invisible" is out now. It's taken off her upcoming sophomore album I Am.
Recommendations: The Untethered soul – I recommend this book for opening your mind.
Ludovico Einaudi I Giorni – I recommend listening to this and thinking about what makes you happy in your life.
[Read our Ludovico Einaudi interview]
If you enjoyed this interview with Natasha Hemmings and would like to find out more about her work, visit her official website. She is also on Instagram., Facebook, and twitter.
Natasha Hemmings is currently on tour with Ronan Keating. You can catch her here:
28/06/2022 SHEFFIELD CITY HALL SHEFFIELD, UK
29/06/2022 BRIDGEWATER HALL MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE, UK
30/06/2022 GLOBE THEATRE STOCKTON-ON-TEES, UK
01/07/2022 THE BRIGHTON CENTRE BRIGHTON, UK
03/07/2022 MOTORPOINT ARENA CARDIFF, UK
04/07/2022 YORK BARBICAN YORK, UK
05/07/2022 EVENTIM APOLLO LONDON, UK
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I remember making up songs to perform in front of my family from as early as 8 years old. I can't really explain what it was that drew me to music because it just always seems to have been there. I have always loved different genres of music, especially film music.
As a young girl I was always listening to the pop sensations but then I started getting introduced to artists such as Kate Bush, Prince and Michael Jackson, which completely changed the way in which I thought about music. These artists taught me so much about how music is not just about the sound you create but your artistry, style and persona that goes with it.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
I am always moved emotionally when listening to music. I can hear the next note often before it comes and if I am wrong and it surprises me then that is often the best experience.
Music should always take you on an emotional journey and allow you to connect your own personal thoughts and reflections to what the song is provoking you to feel. My creativity is hugely influenced by this as I will often start with the music first and finish a complete score with various instruments before adding my melody and lyrics.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I think I am always changing and developing as an artist, and this is the most important thing. I have transitioned from a world of classical influence and training into the world of pop and although that has come with its own challenges I have found that it has given me so many unique opportunities for my sound.
My new album, which is coming later this year, is hugely based around my personal voice. It is an album that focuses on memories, moments and feelings from personal events In my life.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I have never really thought to much about the creative process as it has always been something that comes from within.
I also find it hard to identify with any certain genre as a listener as I find I can be inspired creatively by some of the most unexpected pieces of music. Sometimes a small hook from a song, or one word from a lyric can spark a huge creative Idea.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
The first thing I would say is don’t categorise yourself. This is perhaps the first thing people will try to do upon hearing your music and will ask you when they meet you.
I think that putting yourself in a box is the most damaging approach to music and art. You need complete freedom to believe in your visions and follow them through without trying to make them fit a mould.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I think that the creative process is often more complex than that and it isn’t something that I consciously do. However, I think it is good to have a balance.
Create a piece of music that is perfect to your ears and delivers the emotional message you intend on delivering and if at the end it is unique or timeless it shouldn’t really matter.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Having the skills to read and write music is a huge advantage. I know many musicians are able to write without reading music and that comes with its own advantages and challenges.
But for me, writing allows me to also write for instruments that I don’t have the ability to play, which gives me huge creative scope when creating my sound.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
My days can often be so different from each other depending on where I am in my musical career.
If I am writing then I treat it very much as a normal working day. I will get up early and sit in my music room and set myself little tasks to complete. In the end I may not end up keeping any of the writing I do in that day but I find that to start creating is the best action that then leads to stumbling across my best work.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My creativity on live performance is also a piece of work in its self. Once I have completed the recording and production of the album I then have to decide what songs I am going to perform live, what order and how I visually want them to be received.
I often start with an emotional journey of the tracks, whilst trying to keep the energy of the music by balancing slower and upbeat songs. I then sing through the set and start to change the order in a way that sounds musically right to me. I choregraph the movement myself using the emotion and story of each song to inspire the way I want the songs to be seen.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I think this all depends on the music I intend to write but also the mood in which I am writing.
On my new album I Am I wrote all the songs in solitary as I found this was the easiest way for me to peel back the layers and explore those deep emotions and memories.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I have found that unintentionally my work often reflects the thoughts and feelings I have on the world and society. My latest single ‘Invisible’ was influenced by my feelings on society’s nature to prejudge and categorise people.
Music can tell us a lot about the world at the time of the songs' composition and production and I think that’s why we often feel nostalgia. I think the role of music is more of a reflection on society and the world.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
I have often connected with a song when going through a big emotional experience and I think as humans we find comfort in knowing that someone somewhere might be feeling the same way we do at that give time.
One occasion that I can think of is the song ‘How you remind me’ by nickleback. This song has latched itself to the last memory I have of my biological dad and so it often gives me a lot of space to think around this moment of my life whenever I hear it being played.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Studying the theory of music and musical acoustics I think there is a definite science to the way in which sound is created.
However, music for me is also much more about pouring out your emotion than the science of picking the ‘right notes’. Sometimes the things that don’t make sense scientifically can be the best work creatively.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Writing and performing is a way in which I can be free from inhibitions and express my inner thoughts and feeling. I don’t find myself a big public speaker on issues of society but in music I get to explore my thoughts on these topics in a way that feels safe and unjudged.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
We were obviously made this way for that exact purpose.
Humans are social beings, and it is our desire to connect with others. Therefore, music plays a huge role in our existence, and we are able to make a person feel that connection without even being in the room or ever having met them.