This interview took place prior to the release of Natasha Blaine’s “Vegas.” You can listen to her new single here.

Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Nashville’s Natasha Blaine. Together we discussed singing jazz at a young age, being Vanderbilt’s University first vocal jazz student, their songwriting process, and so much more!

1. Hello! Mustard is grateful to have you join them. How are you doing today?

Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I’m doing great today.

2. You began singing jazz at six years old with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday being on repeat. What songs of theirs did you most enjoy listening too growing up? As you got older, did you revisit these artists? What albums of theirs do you recommend humans listen too?

I always loved the classics, like “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Summertime.” When I started singing more seriously, especially in college when I studied jazz, I started listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday even more in-depth. I think the best Ella Fitzgerald records to listen to are her collaborations with Louis Armstrong, and my favorite Billie Holiday record is her self-titled record.

3. Your grandmother put you in voice lessons while you were in kindergarten. Was this the first time you’ve taken lessons like this before? Do you still use what you learned from those lessons now?

I was in first grade, so this was my introduction to any sort of music lesson. It was definitely a great foundation for what I do today!

4. What was your experience in London like? Did your time there help inspire any of your songs? Is Paddington Bear as kind as he appears?

Going to London was a beautiful time for me. I hadn’t lived outside of my hometown before that, and the experience forced me to take a step back and reflect on what I wanted out of my life. I spent a great deal of time reading and writing, so it definitely inspired some music. Haha I didn’t get to meet the Paddington Bear, but hopefully next time!!

5. You became Vanderbilt University’s first vocal jazz student. Could you share more about that? Did you inspire your fellow classmates to want to learn more about jazz or music?

The jazz department at Vanderbilt’s music school is amazing but very small, so I was the first student they allowed to study vocal jazz as my instrument for my minor. The school worked with me so I could incorporate my music studies with my English degree program, which I’m so grateful for! I hope I did, and the jazz program is growing a lot already.

6. You’re a student of literature. What to you makes a compelling and good story? What elements are needed? Do you incorporate these into your music? Who are some of your favorite authors?

For me, the most important elements of a good story are depth and engaging prose. I keep these in mind every time I write a song. I’ve loved F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing since high school, and Chimamanda Adiche and Stephen King are some other favorites.

7. What is your songwriting process?

I keep a running list of ideas, words, and melodies on my phone to draw from. When I start a new song, I like to find chords and music that inspires me first. I love co-writing with other songwriters. Collaboration is so key for me.

8. Who (or what) inspires you? Musically and in life?

It changes daily, but I’m always inspired by nature, words and poetry, and my friends in the Nashville music community. Musically, some of my big inspirations right now are Erykah Badu and Hiatus Kaiyote.

9. What is it like being apart of HOME’s Elite Artist Program?

It’s a great community! The people at HOME are such awesome resources for any independent artist to work with, and I’m grateful for opportunities that have come my way since joining.

10. Your first single “I Don’t Want To Break Your Heart” introduced us to your sound. What was the inspiration behind this song? Do humans appreciate you not breaking their heart?

Hahaha, I would say this song is definitely about my own fear of confrontation more than anything. It was inspired by a real relationship, and I wrote this song before breaking up with the guy.

11. Mustard has had your 2021 EP “I Fall in Love Too Easily” on repeat for the past few weeks. Everything about it is so engaging and entrancing. Could you share what it was like putting this EP together?

Thank you so much! That’s awesome. This EP was truly my entry into my artist career. It was some of the first music I recorded with serious intent, and the process of writing, recording, and promoting the songs were so developmental for me as an artist. Since then, my sound has shifted and my vision for what I want to do has clarified.

12. For those who have never seen you perform, what does a Natasha Blaine show look like?

I absolutely love playing shows. My big goal right now is to go on my first tour in 2023! I think my shows provide a unique blend of high energy, awesome musicianship (featuring my amazing band), and heartfelt connection. We have so much fun getting lost in the music on stage, and I think the audience picks up on that. The most important thing to me is that my shows feel real and authentic. When I walk off the stage feeling that way, I consider the show a success.

13. “Paris Again” feels nostalgic yet contemporary. Did you visit Paris while you were in London? How did you come up with the concept of this single?

I’ve been to Paris a few times, but the trip that inspired this song was in early 2020. Paris is such a beautiful city, and while I was there, I started writing the chorus of “Paris Again.” I wanted to write something that sounded like how the thought of a lost Parisian romance feels.

14. Your sound has introduced more of an R&B influence and edginess. Is there a specific song or artist who has inspired you to add to your sound?

My sound is constantly evolving as I continue to work with and learn from new writers, producers, and musicians. Over the past couple years, I’ve been so influenced by 90s neo-soul artists like Erykah Badu, and that’s certainly changed the direction that I want to take my artistry to for my new music.

15. Mustard has had the pleasure of speaking with other artists from Nashville. What spots do you consider essential for artists looking to make the move to Nashville? Do you have a favorite venue in Nashville to perform at?

Nashville is the best place to be for music. It brings people from tons of different musical backgrounds together, and the community here prides itself on collaboration and support. I think for artists looking to make the move, the best thing you can do is start going to shows at small venues that put on writers’ rounds. My favorite venue I’ve played at is probably The Analog.

16. Your latest song “You Don’t Treat Me The Same” is about a relationship falling apart. Was this inspired by actual events?

“You Don’t Treat Me the Same” is inspired by some feelings I’ve had at the end of a few short-lived relationships. But the song ended up as more of an amalgamation of these situations mixed in with some imagination that Damien C, my co-writer on the song, and I came up with.

17. What’s next for Natasha Blaine?

So much new music! My single “Vegas” is coming out on September 26th, and that song is a big step for me. I’m more proud of this song than anything I’ve ever released. After that, I’m sitting on more singles that I plan to put out before the end of the year.

18. Where can readers listen to your music?

Anywhere you listen to music! I’m on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and so on. Follow me on social media to keep up with what I’m doing, too!


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