Smooth Operator

Singing since childhood, Natalie was surrounded by music from her very beginnings. Her maternal grandparents, who she calls, “the Latin Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers,” exposed her to Jazz standards at an early age. Her parents later introduced her to Latin Jazz, playing the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz, and Astrud Gilberto on the home stereo.

This musical talent loves the old and the new. “My musical roots grew from a love and appreciation for the classics,” she says, “They will forever be a part of me.”  But the contemporary beckons her. Influenced by the music of artists like Sade, Sting, Bebel Gilberto, Emily King, Adele & Jamiroquai, this multi-genre chanteuse’s musical & songwriting pursuits embrace Pop, R&B & Latin genres.

Though her influences are many, her singular vocal talent is hard to miss. She can purr at the microphone, but there’s an underlying vocal power there. Praised by the Poughkeepsie Journal as,”an act you don’t want to miss,” Natalie has opened for artists such as Mose Allison, Frank Vignola [Madonna, Ringo Starr, Wynton Marsalis] & Stephane Wrembel [Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona & Midnight in Paris]. With every performance Natalie evolves into a more muscular and nuanced singer. A young artist just beginning to test the limits of her instrument. To see her now is to enjoy a talented diamond in the rough.

R. How did you develop your style of music?
NF. However an on-going development, I would say it's evolved by chasing the sounds that i love and identify with. Inherently I'm drawn to the sounds of South American music, music of my childhood, like that of Jobim, Gilberto, etc, its in my DNA. But i found my 'voice'/style however through discovering the music of Sade. Sade's music was a conduit for me, combining all the elements I love and gravitate to: rhythmic grooves, percussion, organic warm tones and cool melodies. And having similar tones, I could identify with Sade as a vocalist. More recently, naturally there's being a departure and progression in discovering who I am and what I can do through the exposure to different artists, collaborators and fellow musicians and friends.

R. What are you doing now?
NF. I currently have a band that consists of three gifted gentlemen: Akie Bermiss (keys), Anthony Candullo (bass) & Erik Perez (drums). With whom I've been playing with some time. While playing mostly cover gigs, over the past year we've started to write together. Our first song written collaboratively is called, "Slow Burn." A proud accomplishment between the collaboration of other songwriters and working with the band, I continue to seek the songs that will define me as an artist. And hope to record an EP in the early part of the new year.

R. Whats your take on where music is today?
NF. I think there are some amazing things happening in music. Despite the obstacles and trials of the industry, artists are taking things into their own hands. Artists are emerging, and "breaking down the walls," from the confines of strict categorization. Genres seem to be merely a suggestion, while artists are merging several categories, taking creativity to another level. Artists are fostering their audience through modern media, not only reducing the gap between the artist and their followers, but also allowing the potential of reaching worldwide markets. At the same time that independent music is a growing force, the industry institutions, record labels, I believe are still needed. It's painstaking work for the independent artist: many times one person doing the job of fifteen people. With the help of a label, there's the possibility of fifteen people working together to help one artist. Not to mention the financial backing that allows artists to fund their development. Best case scenario is an artist given creative nutriment with the help of well funded experienced guidance. Is that too much to ask? ;) I think it's a great time for music: new styles, new artists and new strategies to growing careers.

R. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
NF. My mother, hands down. A woman who has always and continues to fill my life with tons of love, encouragement, strength, hope, faith, and laughter. A true lady. Elegant and yet can be the silliest person in the room. She covers it all. She's an inspiration and has given me a beautiful life. I love you mamita.

R. Musically speaking who would you love to collaborate with?
NF. OH tough question, there's a long list… But based on what I've currently had my ear to…I'd say Emily King. An artist that's had the experience of a major label relationship and workin' it as an independent artist. She's craftily woven the elements of different genres: Pop, R&B, and Soul creating an organic yet modern sound. A terrific song-writer!

Last but not Least…

R. Lets imagine for just a moment it's the late 50s and the height of the Bossa Nova era is in full swing. Your at a party and the usual suspects are hanging around Getz, Gilberto, Jobim, and none other than Caetano Veloso. They decide to have a jam and pick you out from the crowd to come up and do a standard. Which one do you choose to close of the evening?
NF. GREAT Question! Well firstly if that scenario was true, I'd be in my glory  and there's no way I'm leaving that party early. You'd have to drag me out of there! Lol. Ok, back to the question… It;s funny, although all of their music is a huge part of my history, I've always been a little gun shy about performing any of their music. It's legendary. So I've kept it at arms length. However, given this dream occasion, I'll give it a shot. So I'd say, because of it's nostalgic value and whimsical power, Jobim's "Corcovado." What a night that would be.

Contact Natalie Forteza


Anonymous said…
I have had the honor of seeing Natalie perform many times and words do no justice to the sounds she pours out. She can take you to a place in your mind far away and then bring you home. A unique and accomplished star in my eyes who has only just begun.