News > Natalie Royal comes to Charleston

Screenshot 2016-05-25 14.18.15For better or for worse, we live in a world that is constantly categorizing and defining boundaries between anything from artistic genres to political parties. In one respect, they’re helpful in smoothing things out, allowing us to make sense of a space in which Michelangelo and Warhol, Iggy Pop and Beethoven, Hitchcock and Scorcese can all coexist as genius. On the other hand, though, as artist Natalie Royal can certainly attest, definitions and categories are often deeply stifling if you allow them to take the reins.

Natalie’s musical education began at home in Charlotte, NC and contained little in the way of boundaries. When the stereo wasn’t alternating between Alanis Morissette and AC/DC, she could catch her dad on piano and her mom on guitar, perhaps penning some lyrics of her own. When her more formal studies in songwriting took her to Nashville, however, Natalie found herself thrown into a sea overflowing with aspiring singer-songwriters. She felt boxed in and limited by this classification she’d fallen into, unable to see through the masses and pinpoint what was singularly her own.

It wasn’t until someone gave her an off-kilter compliment that she realized she could break through this wall she was facing. “I can’t even remember who it was, but they told me I embodied the idea of a harbinger,” Royal explained, “and I still don’t know exactly what they meant, but the word really drew me in and got me thinking.” If this mystery bystander could see something of the future in her, perhaps it was time for her to take a little control of it.

Rather than simply obliging to traditional categorizations, Natalie Royal approached her latest album, Harbinger, with the conception of herself as an artist for the first time, a more open-ended, self-directed title that sent the creative juices surging right back. “I changed my thinking and it changed my work,” she says, but all you really have to do is listen to her previous music next to Harbinger for this shift to become immensely clear. You’ll notice that her versatile vocals now command a newly experimental and beautifully vast musical space that is just as haunting as it is soothing and rhythmic.

If you ask, she’ll name influences as disparate as Feist and D’Angelo, the mark of a true artist who has acquired a vision that transcends genre divisions and stylistic borders to create something that is decisively honest and uniquely personal. Natalie Royal’s Harbinger urges all of us not to just look ahead and idly wonder what’s to come, but to step forward and choose our direction.

See Natalie Royal with The Very Hypnotic Soul Band tonight at Redux Contemporary Art Center. Tickets are $8; doors at 7 PM, show at 8 PM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Stacy.

Categories: Performing Arts, Preview

Tags: Harbinger, Natalie Royal

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