Out Now Magazine Spotlight series featuring pop star on the rise Natalie Carr for an exclusive interview
Natalie Carr is a pop/r&b artist and songwriter currently based in Charlotte, NC. She has been releasing music since late 2019, and have had some pretty dope things happen since then.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Stamford, CT, which is pretty much right outside of NYC. I moved to Durham, NC, in 2017 to attend Duke University. I ended up moving to Charlotte after graduation and discovered a great community here, so I haven’t left!
When did you start making music?
I’ve been writing music since I was a kid, and I grew up playing guitar and piano. I would always write lyrics in my notebooks in school, but it was definitely a private and personal endeavor. I never intended to share anything I wrote until I got a bit older and realized it’s the one thing I really love to do and feel like I’m good at! I loved every genre of music growing up, but namely pop, country, r&b, punk, rap, and indie/alternative rock.
How do you describe your music?
As an artist, I live somewhere between pop and r&b, although I write for others in different genres via freelance work. I’m genuinely inspired and into all types of music and sonics, so I write to whatever inspires me in the moment. As a topliner, I try to write records wherein the melody & lyrics are the focal point over other competing elements. Some of the songs I have released are kind of a sing/rap vibe and follow a stanza by stanza structure. My sound is definitely a chill, vibey, mid-tempo feel.
Favorite moment from your career?
It’s been a crazy journey, even just starting out, from where I was just two years ago. There have been so many moments where I’ve been so happy and have felt so empowered, but one of my favorite moments was hearing myself on Spotify/Tidal editorial playlists and iHeart Radio stations all over the country in the same week. It was surreal. I think once you decide to really go for it and commit, your brain plays catchup, like “I’m still a hopeless little dreamer/starving artist” which I am and may always be. But, moments like that tell me that I must be doing something (kind of) right and people must f*** with what I’m doing to some extent. I remember thinking, “hey, maybe I’m not crazy after all!” It’s nearly impossible to find any means of external validation in the creative world because it can be cut-throat and political, but little wins keep me motivated, and more importantly, I love what I do.
Who is your biggest musical inspiration?
I could probably name my favorite artist in every genre that has inspired me, but when I really narrow it down, I love Post Malone, Miley, and SZA, because they are so experimental and fearless in being who they are at any given point in time. I love that they have their respective signature sounds, but they don’t keep themselves in boxes and they aren’t afraid to tell their stories.
What is your producing software?
So, I actually don’t produce! I record myself in my makeshift home-studio via Logic and ProTools, and I write a lot of music on guitar and piano. I work with two amazing producers in particular (shoutout @jmactheproducer and @dillonlawter) who pick out dope sounds and collaborate amongst themselves and other producers to make great beats. It’s 100% a team effort and they mean the world to me (both as fellow creatives and as humans) and I couldn’t do any of this without them!
What other things do you do besides making music?
I love to run, ski, play tennis, swim, longboard, and surf. Being active and being outside are really important to me! I also love drinking beer (I’m a big beer person) and reading. I’m not good at sitting still unless it’s with my cat because he’s the man/easily my biggest distraction.
What is your favorite track of all time?
If I had to die listening to one song, it would be Believe by Cher. Iconic.
What is your best songwriting tip?
Practice. For real! I’ve seen people try to write a few songs and think, “I’m just not good at it, it doesn’t come easily to me.” But, it can totally be learned! There is a formulation/science to writing great songs, so if your heart is there and you have a good story to tell, keep going for it. Listen to your favorite songs and ask yourself what makes them great (production-wise, lyrically, melodically). There is always something to learn/grow and get better at. I imagine five years from now, I’ll look back and see a world of difference between where I’m at now and where my writing will be then!
Why did you start making music?
I needed an outlet for all my extreme and conflicting emotions, as many of us do. Writing lyrics has literally saved my life, and I thank the universe every day for this gift because I don’t know where or who I’d be without it. Writing music is very much a part of my brain and wiring.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to write for the artists that inspire me at some point in my life. I don’t care if I’m seventy and get my first big placement because I’ll know I put the work in to get there. I’d love to continue to make music that inspires people and makes them feel validated and seen. If a song I write makes even one person feel less alone, I’ll have done my job.
What advice can you give for young music producers/DJs?
Know your worth, and trust your gut. There are a lot of cowardly, predatory people out there, so pay attention to instincts. Don’t automatically work with the producer/engineer with the most plaques and praises because you think they’ll connect the dots for you… work with the people that are willing to grow alongside you and see your potential. Focus on the music, the rest will come!
Please write a message to your fans.
Thank you for being on my side and being a part of my small but loving community. I may never fully deserve you, but I’ll never stop working to make y’all proud. Ilysm <3
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