The Australian Soul Queen: An Interview With Natalie Gauci
After winning Australian Idol back in 2007, Natalie Gauci’s career has been a whirlwind of different experiences where she has experimented with various genres, from dance to a more soulful, acoustic sound. Two albums later and she is currently writing album three, having moved from her native Melbourne to the UK. Ellipsis caught up with her following her amazing live set for Coffee House Sessions.
Ellipsis: So firstly, well done on your performance! I can see why you’ve been called ‘the Australian soul queen’ because there’s a lot of emotion in your music, who are your main influences?
Natalie: Probably Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine. I love jazz singers, like Diana Washington, Ella Fitzgerald…
Ellipsis: So you’re inspired by strong women?
Ellipsis: We also read that you recently moved record labels, was this so that you could have more freedom to express yourself creatively?
Natalie: Pretty much, that’s exactly right. I wanted to explore different styles of music, I wanted to learn more about finding myself and my soul, really, because I am a soulful person.
Ellipsis: Was it quite a spiritual journey?
Ellipsis: I read a quote somewhere where you said you wanted to focus on ‘living the music’. Do you take a lot of your music from your personal experiences?
Natalie: Yeah. Music is very cathartic for me. I love writing when I feel like I really, honestly and genuinely need to express something, and it does heal me. I feel that it does make me feel so much better
Ellipsis: That’s really inspiring, because not many artists these days have that same connection, I don’t think, going through the big labels. Did you find that you just wanted to go in your own direction?
Natalie: Yeah. I found that the emotion gets stripped out in big record labels.
Ellipsis: Your music’s very eclectic, you’re a very versatile artist. How would you describe your sound now? I know you’ve done dance music in the past…
Natalie: I am mixing it all together. I’ve just found a producer I’m working with on the record, and we’re working on the sound now, at the moment. So that’s why I’ve gone back to piano and voice. I thought I’d strip it right back, find out what songs sound good with just piano and vocals, and then bring the instruments in.
Ellipsis: Are there any artists you’d like to work with in the future? How do you see your future working out?
Natalie: I can definitely see my future working out… Oh, I don’t want to say!
Ellipsis: You don’t want to jinx it?
Natalie: That’s exactly right! I want to collaborate with other artists, for starters, and work with people who are like-minded to me, and who have longevity in the industry, who are very much themselves, and I want to learn from that.
Ellipsis: So do you feel like you’ve found your own artistic identity now?
Natalie: I think I’m always going to change. I don’t think I’m ever going to find my identity. I think it’s always going to be what it is, this year is going to be this, next year is going to be something else, and I’ll just keep on going.
Ellipsis: You’ve had an amazing career, you’ve toured the world!
Natalie: Yeah, I’ve been around a lot, I’ve tended to stick to the UK recently though.
Ellipsis: How do you find the UK? Are you enjoying it over here?
Natalie: I love it, I absolutely love it! It’s the biggest challenge of my life, but it’s amazing.
Ellipsis: Why is that?
Natalie: I just feel like I’m growing so fast, compared to back home in Australia. Everything is just so fast-paced, it’s just so different.
Ellipsis: In terms of the networking and the people you meet?
Natalie: Everything is fast-paced, there’s lots more people, and it’s like it really grabs you by the balls, you know, especially London. If you don’t keep up it just beats you out, basically, so you’ve really got to work hard to stay on top.
Ellipsis: How are you finding that?
Natalie: Well, I moved out of London, I moved to Windsor. I found it was a bit too much for me, you know, the Tube thing.
Ellipsis: Is it a difficult transition, from Australia where it’s really calm to London?
Natalie: Well I got used to it, I got used to the hustle and bustle and the busyness, but after a while I thought ‘I want some open space, something quiet’. So I go into London to do my work, do my music, and then go home again.
Ellipsis: How do you find the writing process? Do you need to shut yourself out from the world when you’re writing?
Natalie: Absolutely. I need that space and my own time to then go back and collaborate with other people, other writers.
Ellipsis: What inspires you to write? Is it personal experiences? You do come across as very intimate and real.
Natalie: It is. Every single thing I write is intimate and honest.
Ellipsis: For the Brave especially, that’s really emotional and heartfelt, what inspired that?
Natalie: A break up. It’s about two people who are working really, really hard for something, and they’re so close to getting it, and then one of them freaks out and stuffs it up, basically. Self-sabotages.
Ellipsis: So is it sticking up for people who stick to what they believe in and staying strong no matter what sort of barriers?
Natalie: Yeah, pushing through that barrier. It’s about that tipping point, that last bit where you know that you’re so close, and it’s so easy to just deny yourself that pleasure of success, so easy.
Ellipsis: It’s definitely a brave thing to do, just to follow your passion, despite all the obstacles…
Natalie: It is! There are so many obstacles, just in life in general. Every day some obstacle will come, but how you deal with that is the success.
Ellipsis: Your songs have been described as an intimate set of autobiographies, would you say that’s quite accurate?
Natalie: Yeah, definitely.
To hear more from Natalie follow her on @NGAUCIOFFICIAL. Also read: A Coffee House Session with Natalie Gauci by Holly Phillips-http://ellipsisliverpool.com/2015/11/09/a-coffee-house-session-with-natalie-gauci/