Who IS Natalise Anyway???
(from her MySpace bio:)
It would be a simple matter to take the well traveled “artist bio” route …with the usual attempts to enthrall with the usual artist biography descriptions….”Started piano lessons at age 3″, “Sang in the Church choir”, “Studied Opera at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music”, “Started performing at 12, writing songs at age 13”, “High School Valedictorian”, “Graduated With High Honors from Stanford University”….even pointing out that at the ripe age of 19, Natalise owned and operated her own successful independent record label and had a hit song played on San Francisco’s Wild 94.9.
It could also be pointed out that you’ve seen Natalise on MTV, The WB, in prime time features on ABC, CBS and NBC…not to mention the pages of Maxim, Blender and The New York Times. (Betcha that’s the first time you’ve seen Maxim and the NY Times in the same sentence, eh?).
The real point IS the outcome. Stunning to say the least. Natalise. Singer, Songwriter, Performer Extraordinaire, Ingénue, Part-Time Nanny to Brad & Angelina, Stanford Honors Grad, 7th Degree Martial Yoga champion, told Simon Cowell to f**k off, thinks Rudy Gulianni is kinda cute in a B&D sort of way…..
Interview with Natalise
Q. You are the second most famous person to be profiled on ATO (number one is legendary Filipino singer Tillie Moreno) and yet a Google search of your name pulls up enough pages to suggest you’re in the megastar league. You must certainly be the poster child for effective viral marketing as well as the modern model for smart promotion. Precisely how did you achieve this?
HAHA… megastar league, huh? Well thank you – I will take that as a compliment. I am a little embarrassed to say that there hasn’t ever been an official “viral marketing” campaign in place. I take things step by step, really. It’s more of being real and interactive with fans online, whether it is through MySpace or Facebook, and now on Twitter. I keep up with mail and requests everyday, as well. And I think people respond to others who are genuine. I certainly do, so I would think others feel the same way.
I have been fortunate to have great fans who like me enough to tell their friends, and their friends tell more friends, etc. So there seems to be sort of an underground following. But in terms of the many articles and such, I have been always lucky in that people have been interested in the music and who I am as a person, my background and such. Just like you – who contacted me on MySpace, many newspapers and magazines have done the same.
Q. Also on the subject of marketing – how, exactly, did you determine what your most marketable image would be? Was this a calculated personal decision, a happy accident or the result of some sort of “focus group”?
Again, there was no plan or “focus group” that determined my image. With every album and photo shoot for press, I have always just tried to stay true to who I am as an artist in that moment. Artists are people first, and we all are constantly changing – in a sense that we are always learning and growing, etc. So my image has reflected who I am as an artist at that time.
Q. Virtually everything associated with your online presence is first-rate. Of course, that usually means a considerable sum of money is involved. As you know, many artists are operating on a very thin shoestring — so what can they do to present a professional image for pennies? Or is that even really possible?
Again, thank you. J That is a high-compliment. I am an indie artist and never have worked with a big budget. In fact, all the recording and marketing expenses have come out of money I have saved over time from working odd jobs since I was 15. (My first job was an “explainer” at the Exploratorium, which is a physics museum in San Francisco. I made minimum wage at that time). But the quality of work online and elsewhere from me reflects more upon 1) my perfectionist mentality – I absolutely hate things that look cheap – and 2) the enormous amount of help I’ve received from friends or family who have believed in me. And when I say help, I don’t mean monetary help – I mean – just good will. I have had friends who have helped me design things, do artwork, help pass out flyers for an event, etc. They are wonderful and I owe a lot to them.
Q. Realistically, at what point should an artist seek the services of a manager or agent? What qualities should that manager/agent possess – and how much power should they be given?
Every music industry person I have ever heard talk about this says that in music, when you are ready, a manager will surely find you. And this is quite frustrating to hear from an artist point of view. But it’s true. When you have a real sound and a real product that will sell, there will be more than one manager knocking at your door. A good manager is one that really and truly believes in you and is, at heart, a fan, but one who will also point out your weaknesses so that you can be better.
Q. You started your own record label. Why did you do that? How did you do that? What are the unique advantages/disadvantages of that approach?
I started my own label because I wanted more control. I wanted to do things the way I wanted to do them. I wanted veto power hahaha. But I also wanted to make things happen faster. I won’t go into everything I did to do it – that would take too long. I will say that the advantages especially in this market are many. But there is definitely more responsibility. You have to be not only an artist, but a business person, too. And if things end up sucking – then you can’t blame anyone else.
Q. Common complaint number one: major record labels want too much control over my artistic process. What are your thoughts about that? Should an artist be willing to sacrifice a degree of control in order to reap the rewards a major label can possibly provide?
This is a subjective question. It really depends on what kind of artist you are. For me, I feel like I have worked too hard to let someone just tell me who I am and what I should be singing. If I were to sign with a major label, I would want to know that they understand and love me as the artist that I am. I am certainly open to ideas, but I cannot change my essence.
Q. Common complaint number two: the major labels aren’t interested in me because they don’t know how to market an Asian artist. Is this really true?
I don’t know. I really can’t tell you. I think that yes, there are certainly people I have met in the industry who have no idea how to market an Asian-American artist. Absolutely. But I think when you are talented, you just are. And no one can deny that regardless of your ethnicity. I don’t think any artist, regardless of ethnicity, can afford to adopt this mentality of submission just because the culture is not as accepting as you might like or wish.
Q. Back to you now. What are you currently working on? What’s the next big step in your career?
I am working on my third album. I have been hard at work. It has been a long road of development and internal examination. HAHA I know that sounds all hippie-transcendental, but it truly has been a continual journey. I have written so many songs… and I look forward to coming back strong with this next project. I am very very very excited and happy about where and how it’s going.
Q. Where can people find you? And do you respond to every single message?
People can add me on Twitter @Natalise – It is super addictive. Lol. And of course, I’m on facebook.com/Natalise and facebook.com/NataliseKalea & myspace.com/Natalise. I do read all my messages and I often respond to everyone eventually! I love meeting fans and chatting with people who have feedback on music so all of this online social networking stuff has been great. Oh, I’m also on blip.fm. I LOVE blip. It is a dream for people who love music. You can find me there at blip.fm/Natalise.
Thank You Natalise!!!!