Interview: Nataly Dawn
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Song: Araceli by Nataly Dawn
Nataly Dawn is awesome, so tune in and listen up. Her solo album How I Knew Her was released February 12th from Nonesuch Records, and she's currently tour with Ben Folds Five. The singer-songwriter rose to online fame as half of the fantastic group Pomplamoose, whose original tunes include the catchy Don't Stop Lovin' Me and I'll Be There in a Minute. I dare you to remain seated while listening to either of those songs. Pomplamoose is also known for their memorable covers of everything from Telephone by Lady Gaga and Beyonce to Mister Sandman by The Chordettes to the Angry Birds Theme Song. Nataly and collaborator Jack Conte are still actively recording and releasing new songs together as Pomplamoose in addition to their solo work and additional efforts with other artists.
It was a pleasure to chat with Nataly about her new songs, her first songs, and her favorite songs.
Do you have a favorite track on the album, one that was especially fun to write or record?
My favorite track on the album is probably the last track, I Just Wanted You to Get Old. I think that was the song that was the most difficult for me to write, lyrically, and even though the song itself is quite short and simple, it's the one that probably took the most out of me and I feel the best about having gotten through.
There were other songs that were really amazingly fun to do in the studio. For example, the title track of the album, How I Knew Her: bringing the orchestra in there, having Jack write the string parts and [direct] these amazing string players... Pretty much any time I was playing with the band was a great time because they're so great at what they do!
Was How I Knew Her always going to be the title track for your album, or was that born out of that experience, because you loved recording it so much?
Actually, it wasn't originally supposed to be called How I Knew Her. The song had a different title at first, and then I decided I wasn't happy with the title of the song, so I changed it to How I Knew Her. Then I thought that was a good album idea because it ties everything together into this one theme. I felt like a lot of the songs were about me looking into relationships with women in my life who have been important to me, and trying to figure out what I believe and who I was through the women who came before me, like my grandmothers and my mother.
When writing a new song, what tends to come to mind first, music or lyrics?
I tend to hear melodies and bass lines first, and then I get an idea for a lyric, and I sort of work the lyric into the melody, and the melody will change from there.
Do you have any songs that started out one way and ended up another?
Yeah. I lived with those songs for a couple years, some of them, and I definitely saw them transform quite a bit and go different directions. Like Araceli, for one. I didn't see that reggaeton beat coming in. It really changed the entire feeling of the song. When Matt Chamberlain came in and started playing the drums, it took the song in a completely new direction.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I think the first full-blown song that I wrote, I was eleven years old. I would write little things before that on the piano. My friends at this point - I was living in France, and the girls there just loved singing in their spare time. During recess, the girls at my school would start singing Spice Girls or Beyonce or whatever was popular at the time. I got together with my friends, my French friends, and we decided to write a song together so we could sing it all together and be super-cool. So I sat down at the piano and wrote a song that was super cheesy... (laughs) It was a masterpiece.
When you get home from your tour, what’s the first thing you’re going to do?
Oh my gosh. I am going to cook a really great meal, or possibly go out to a nice meal. And I'll probably take a hot tub. I think I'll do that.
Order How I Knew Her by Nataly Dawn at her website:
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Oh, and "pamplemousse" is French for grapefruit. Oui, c'est vrai.