I sat down with Natasha to discuss her debut single, her journey to releasing music, and what she hopes for the future.
Natasha Oldcorn has always had an affinity for music, as home videos of her aged three singing and dancing around with a toy saxophone will attest to. Despite switching between goals of performing on the West End to recording pop music, she has always wanted to sing. The main worry for her growing up was working out how to make a career in music possible. “I was so upset all the time because I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to be”, she says candidly. Unsure of what her path would be, she made the decision to go to the University of Glasgow and pursue a degree in History. With the workload ramping up each year, singing and music had to take the back seat for a while, but she has no regrets: “I didn’t think I’d ever get my degree, so I’m very glad I got that”.
Time spent at home during the pandemic ended up giving Natasha the opportunity to start writing her own songs. It’s been a journey to get to the stage she is at now, ready to put out music she is proud of. “There’s been a lot of bad ones to get one that’s decent”, she says of the growth of her song-writing prowess, “but I’m also very self-critical”. A demo of one of these so-called ‘bad ones’ was played on BBC Radio Scotland over lockdown, giving her confidence in herself and her abilities.
A move to London this past September to study Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music (BIMM) Institute has only helped her skills develop and belief grow. Insight into the business side of the music industry has helped her prepare to release her music independently. Links through other musicians helped her find her producer Rod Jones for her single, and she travelled back home to Edinburgh to record it over Christmas. Finding that perfect balance between creative alignment and financial feasibility paid off: “It was a great experience the day I recorded ‘Next Without You’, we got literally the whole song done in one day.” She’s already been talking with Rod about potential collaborations in the future, looking forward to the summer and new music that she has been writing.
“Honest”, “emotional” and “authentic” are all words Natasha uses to describe her sound. Whether it’s writing about her own life or creating fictional stories, she wants her pop music to have a genuine and truthful character. One of the most powerful abilities of music is the way that it can connect people, something Natasha hopes will happen when people listen to her music. “Ultimately, if anyone was to connect to a song or relate to it, I think that would be such a nice feeling because that is what I do with the people I listen to.” With inspirations such as Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Taylor Swift, it’s easy to see where this hope comes from.
Natasha describes her single ‘Next Without You’ as a “classic breakup song”. Filled with heartbreakingly relatable lyrics and soaring melodies, it is a debut that epitomises the honest pop sound she wants to put out into the world. Her favourite lyric – “And I can’t even open a bottle of wine / And I can’t even tie my dress behind my neck” – explores the feeling of hopelessness and desperation that comes with the beginning of a breakup. “That bit made me understand the whole theme of the song and know what I wanted to say.” The layering of harmonies, synths, and drums on top of the simplistic piano chords allow the song to build and break free from heartbreak and despair, the song ending with her anthemically repeating “I’ll be fine without you baby”. The ending was close to not making the final cut of the song, but the promise of hope and better things to come was too meaningful for Natasha to not include.
The anticipation of the release of ‘Next Without You’ has generated both nerves and excitement. “It’s been built up in my head for quite a while now, so it’s scary now that it’s actually happening”. Having written the song over the summer and finalising its production in January, Natasha has been waiting for this moment for quite some time. She’s already moved on to new songs and new ideas and is itching to start working on them. “I’m excited to just get stuff out; I’ve been wanting to have music out for so long now.” Although this moment is a leap into a dark abyss, Natasha knows that the streaming age makes the industry harsh and difficult to break into. Her focus in on taking this first step and sharing her music to those outside her bubble of friends and family. “I’m not putting any pressure on myself,” she says. “I hope I get some nice feedback, that would always be nice.”
Whilst this is her first release, Natasha is already excited about what’s to come. Still in the process of deciding whether to stay in London or move back to Scotland, she knows that making more music is her current goal. Her aim is to release a few more songs before the end of the year, and hopefully pick up some practice performing live. “I’m excited to eventually have a gig myself. And I’d love to play support for some people as well, I think it’s a good way to get experience whilst not having all the pressure on you.”
Looking back on her journey from writing songs in her room in the middle of a pandemic to releasing her own music, she feels like now is the right time for her debut. “I do trust that everything happens for a reason and that timing is everything, so I think I am now in a good place to start putting stuff out there now – I know who I am 100% as an artist.” The time spent as a kid running around her living room singing, as a teenager scribbling out ideas in a notebook, and this past year studying on the songwriting course, has led her to this moment and given her the confidence she needed. Natasha is ready to take this step to start her career, and as she does, the future is looking bright. Here is a link to Natasha’s music: https://open.spotify.com/track/6wrBZJz5611YfZ207gcwXl?si=d44cc47912ee4ac7
By Hannah Stewart (she/her)