The rising talent’s latest ‘WHOAMI’ is another intelligent look into the obstacles of being ‘different,’ while still being relatable to listeners with a simple message he describes as being “under your nose.”
Speaking of the inspiration behind the track -his own story- he says, “Growing up being cast as ‘different’, even in the diverse cultural chemistry of London, is not something uncommon. My connection with this ‘different’ side of my heritage, is not one that was installed through speaking the language or living the culture at home.
“Growing up, assimilating feels important, so for a period I identified with my whiteness; suppressing my yellowness. To this day I feel ‘other’ to both sides of my heritage, I’m neither yet both: with my goldness, I find more solace in the moon and humanness then any claim to land. WHOAMI is about the defiance of ignorance.”
Natty uses his music to explore facets of himself, and by extension of others. He admits to the constant struggle – both in his music and in his life – of learning to navigate through change without losing yourself, saying “It’s easier said than done and a lot of people have fallen, but this is all just the experience of life.”
But he remains inspired by the people, the art and the experiences that surround him. Delving into his inspirations, he first credits his family and says,” My mum and dad inspire me greatly. My brother Harry gives me encouragement creatively and for lunacy in life.”
He continues, “‘Kafka on the Shore’ – Murakami is one of the most inspiring artists; he is an author, but I feel artist is more appropriate. His ability to express life through meticulous details is astounding, and he manages to touch even the unimpressionable. Leonard Cohen’s lyricism, Jessica Pratt’s blue melodies, Gang of Four’s damaged goods, Lee Perry’s IG posts, Wes Wilson’s poster art.”
Motivated by these inspirations and his talent, Natty has spent the year crafting his corner in the music industry. Reflecting on the year he has had, he says, “This year has been one of establishing a relationship with the curious machine of the music industry. As well as cementing my own understanding of what I’m doing as an artist which is to evolve and develop continually, but I feel so blessed to have found my mountain. And I’m steady climbing – trying to remember to enjoy the scenery along the way.”
Thinking back to the memorable moments of his career and hinting at his hopes for the future he adds, “It’s also that I played at the Laylow – so many friends and family were there and the collective energy of support and accumulated in madness or moshing and mayhem. Every show we play just keeps growing and growing so I imagine just more of the same but better!”
On the topic of the future, Natty has an extensive bucket list. Revealing aspects of it, he says, “I’d love to play in some festival scenario where all the colours and textures were fused with the music, and the exchange through the music left everyone feeling moved in a way more significant than words could do.”
He adds,” I’d also love to have spent some time with Sun Ra. I’m not sure how smooth the collaboration process would have been, but that’s some serious cosmic power. I’d like to learn and collaborate more with the indigenous music of the world – singing, chanting, and engaging with the roots of it all in a time were music fluctuates between homogeny and synergy this would be enlightening.”
Describing his whole musical journey as “a continual ticking of an infinite bucket list,” the rapper reveals his ambitious yet nonchalant approach to his career; he wants to succeed, but he’s more content making music and enjoy the experience.
But this philosophical approach does not mean he is without a plan. Asked what his plans for 2020 are his answer is simple and clear. He says, “ The year 2020 is the year for a focused vision.
“I’m going to be releasing my mixtape ‘Aim to Miss’ produced predominately by my boy Sigala, plus Purple Cloud and Nine8’s Mac Wetha on production too. Also will be releasing a project with my band which is comprised of members from Sunken – so I’m cracking on with two projects at once.”
Wise, creative and making music for the joy it brings him and others, Natty is the kind of artist that deserves success; and it definitely seems like success is on its way.