Nathan: Young Blood

On June 25, 2009, the king of Pop Michael Jackson passed

away, leaving a legacy that will remain in the world forever. From his lyrics

to beat samples and dance moves, our generation will continuously pay homage to

the late king. The death of Michael Jackson effected people all around the

world, especially those whose music he inspired.

 

Nathan, a 22 year-old singer-songwriter hailing from the UK,

is a budding star who cites Michael Jackson as one of his key influences, along

with Marvin Gaye and Will Smith.

With artistic genes in his blood, the young singer’s break

into the entertainment industry was not by luck, but more so by destiny. After

winning a contest allotting him time at Sony Studios and penning his first song

at the age of 14, Nathan’s path was being tailored to fit his unique journey.

 

Nathan’s catchy records created a buzz on the UK Urban radio

airwaves. He later released his debut album Masterpiece independently on Mona Records, in both the UK and

Japan. His single “Do Without My Love” earned him a 2006 Urban Music Award

(UMA) for Best R&B Act, which he won over artists such as Ne-Yo and Akon.

In 2007, Nathan won another UMA for Best Music Video for the track “Cold As

Ice,” which featured Miami rapper Rick Ross.

 

With some experience in the game and a few accolades under

his belt, Nathan is hard at work on his next LP. Currently residing in the

U.S., his first single “Superwoman” is one for the ladies, and the track “Dirty

Sexy Money” is definitely receiving radio love.

 

We spoke with Nathan about how he got his big break, the

singer-songwriters that inspire him, and creating his sophomore album!

 

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: When did you fall in love

with music?

Nathan: That’s crazy

that you ask me that; Michael Jackson is the person who made me fall in love

with music. For me that was a gift that he had and there’s not a lot of artists

that have done that before or since then. My mom is a Reggae singer, so I was

always around music; I love what she did. When Michael released the song “Remember

The Time,” that’s when I really started to like music. Until this day that’s my

favorite song just because of the feeling it gave me.

 

That song is responsible for me wanting to make music. That

song made me want to give people the feeling that I felt when I heard that

song. It had loads of feeling; it had loads of emotion. When he sang he could

make you believe anything, since he was a young boy. Like in “Who’s Loving

You,” he was like eight! How can an eight year-old make you believe that he’s

missing someone, you know? That gift that he had from a very young age and I

believe that was the reason why he touched so many people, because he could

make you believe anything he said in a song.

AHHA: For the most part this is a difficult industry to get in. How did you

get your start?

 

Nathan: Since my mom

was a singer, she was always performing, so I would love to go on stage and do

what my mom did. I was always performing from a very young age. I used to live

in Jamaica and New York as well. When I moved to the UK, I used to enter

competitions doing what ever I could, dancing, singing, acting and everything.

When I was 13, I entered a competition and the prize was to win 1,000 pounds

and record your own songs. You got to perform in front of 3,000 people, so I

entered it and I sang my favorite song at the time Musiq’s [Soulchild] “Just

Friends.”

 

I did well and I loved performing in front of people. I

didn’t win that year though, so the next year I wanted to enter again and they

called me and said you were really good last year so come back. So I performed

“You Got It Bad” by Usher, which was my favorite song at that time. I ended up

winning and recorded a song called “What’s Ur Name,” which got radio play and

the rest is history.

AHHA: So “What’s Ur Name” was the first song that you

ever wrote? That’s pretty big for your first written song to jump off like

that! What was the inspiration for the song?

 

Nathan: Yes, that

was the first song that I ever wrote. I eventually re-produced it and it went

on my first album that came out in the UK called Masterpiece. So

it has really done well for me. For it to get radio play and then to end up on

my album; it was a real achievement for me

 

I remember I was in my bedroom after I had one the competition

and I thought to myself that I should write this song because I have to have

studio time soon. I was thinking about Musiq, that type of feel and it didn’t

come out sounding anything like a Musiq song. That was really my inspiration,

but it came out feeling totally different

AHHA: Since your mother is a Reggae singer how does that factor into your

music? In addition, how does your culture factor in?

Nathan: The one way

I would describe my style is international because I have lived in Jamaica, America

and the UK. There are so many different music elements that you listen to

throughout all of those places. That’s what I really like and what sets me

apart. I want to be different! I want to have an international sound that no

one else is going to have, influences from Reggae and Hip-Hop. Being from the

UK, our boundaries are really kind of blurry, so we mix things a lot. We mix

the Euro-Pop, Techno and Hip-Hop.

 

AHHA: As a singer- songwriter, who are some other

singer-songwriter’s that you admire?

Nathan: There are a

lot of people that I really admire, definitely Ne-Yo because being a he’s had a

few songs that I thought were written perfectly like “So Sick” and

“Irreplaceable” for Beyoncé. Currently, I’m feeling The Dream as well. These

guys Claude Kelly and James Fauntleroy are also dope writers. For me,

singer-songwriter wise the two people that I really admire from recent times

are definitely Michael Jackson and R. Kelly.

 

The reason I picked those two is because in contrast to all

of the others, they were able to have success writing songs that were

different, not just the same type of songs. That’s what is really creative, to

make a hit like “I Believe I Can Fly” and then “Snake.” To me diversity is the

key; I’m a big fan of diversity and versatility. That’s the type of artist that

I want to be. To have a song that’s influenced by Hip-Hop, Reggae, and R&B,

but all of them are hits. All of them have a common thread itself like the way

I deliver it, because that’s what all of my favorite artists did.

AHHA: What are some things that influence your writing?

Nathan: With me, I

definitely don’t have a routine when I’m writing songs; I just like to let it

flow. There are a couple of things that I use, my mother is an actress now so

she taught me a lot; I went to drama school and everything like that. One thing

I learned to do when I’m writing songs is put myself in someone else’s position

and kind of make a movie. Then write a song from a movie standpoint.

 

Like create a character, create a situation, put yourself in

that situation, put yourself in that character’s shoes and then write a song

about it! It’s very artistic, you find yourself thinking of things and

challenging yourself. So that’s something that I’ve done on quite a few

occasions. A lot of the times I just feel the music and what does it make me

feel, for me that’s the best way to invoke feeling. People like Marvin Gaye and

Michael Jackson were the kings of making people feel what they were saying. So

the music itself has a large part to do with that.

 

AHHA: I must say I love your track “Cold As Ice”

partially because my nickname is Ice [laughs]. How did you hook up with Rick

Ross?

Nathan: So I

actually made the original version in London. I flew over to Miami to work with

Salaam Remi on the first album and that was surreal. We were doing the “Cold As

Ice” remix and he was like I want a rapper on here. He asked me what rapper did

I want and I said Rick Ross. He came to the studio, heard the beat and went

crazy. He laid his verse in like five minutes and his verse is dope too!

AHHA: What are you working on currently?

Nathan: We’re

working on the album right now. I’m having fun because this is the second time

I’ve made an album and this time I really know what I want. This time I know

what type of songs I want to make, I know what type of sound I want to go for.

Very international, I want all of my influences to come out. It’s going well,

its really rewarding when you go into the studio with a goal and then you

fulfill it.

 

AHHA: So let’s say you had to assemble a team, you need a

producer, a female singer and a rapper. Who would your team consist of and why?

Nathan: That’s a

dope question! I love people that can play a bunch of instruments, so I

actually think my producer would be Ryan Leslie. I definitely think he’s a

genius; all you have to do is watch him work. The rapper would be Graph, he’s

definitely underrated. I’ve wanted to do a song with Graph for a long time, so

hopefully we can make that happen.

 

I’m trying to think of someone who might be the new Beyonce,

but really, she just shut that whole spot down. Looking at artists and their

career, she’s the most current template of what I would want to do. Just like,

I was saying about Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and R. Kelly. If you listen to

the songs off her current album from “If I were A Boy,” “Single Ladies,” Diva,”

to “Ego” look at how different they are and she’s the common thread. Beyoncé’s

definitely winning, so that would be my team!

 

AHHA: Lastly, where do you see yourself ten years from

now?

Nathan: To me sky’s

the limit and there’s not point in dreaming if you’re not going to dream big. I’ve

always grown up believing that you can do anything that you want to do. In ten

years time, I want to be an established artist. One of the best

singer-songwriters that can just take a break and come back when ever they

want. I’m into fashion, so I want to have a clothing label, I want to set up my

own record company, my own studio, and I definitely want to be in film. That’s

not it because I want to do loads more, but that’s like a summary.

Dirty Sexy Money – Nathan

Related Stories