One of the best parts of attending the SXSW Music Festival is learning more about musicians. Examiner had the opportunity to interview Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose at Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin on March 14. Nataly was a SXSW showcase featured artist who performed at Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn on March 15. Nataly is one half of the duo Pomplamoose with Jack Conte and released her first solo album, 'How I Knew Her,' on Nonesuch Records on February 12.
'How I Knew Her' was recorded in one room with a full band that included Ryan Lerman on electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, and acoustic guitar; David Piltch on upright bass; Louis Cole and Matt Chamberlain on drums. The recording sessions were filmed and two videos for the songs “Leslie” and “Araceli,” are viewable on Nataly Dawn’s YouTube channel.
Nataly Dawn was already well known for her work with the duo Pomplamoose. Their first upload to YouTube was an original collaboration, “Hail Mary,” which was featured on the YouTube homepage and received millions of page views. Nataly started a funding campaign on Kickstarter, where her minimal goal of $20,000 was reached in just 3 days. At the end, the album funding campaign closed with 2,315 people donating a grand total of $104,788. Nataly joined Barry Manilow on his latest album entitled 'Fifteen Minutes' and sang the song "Letter From a Fan."
Examiner talked to Nataly about recording with Barry.
Examiner: "You sang a song with Barry Manilow?"
Nataly: "It was fairly recently, about two years ago. I got a call from Barry's producer, who wanted me to come down and sing on his first album of all originals in the last decade, I think. Barry has been doing a lot of covers. So I came on board for that, and it was a very dramatic piece. I was playing a psycho fan basically. And I was obsessed with Barry. It was from his life. A psycho fan came to his house with a bloody knife and later Barry wrote the song."
E: "Where did you meet up?"
N: "At his recording studio at his producer's home. That's where we met up, it was an interesting day."
E: "Was it just like you would expect where he's standing in front of a baby grand piano? I picture him being really friendly."
N: "He is super cool and a friendly guy. It's always strange meeting someone up close for the first time."
E: "Especially when you're used to seeing someone in two dimensions."
N: "Exactly. So it was surreal seeing him in real life. He was in the studio and really involved in every part of the production and critiquing and coaching me on every line. He really wanted it to feel dramatic and I'm not a musical dramatic singer - that's a certain type of singer. So I came on to play a role more than to sing."
E: "I can relate to that. Is there anyone that you would consider approaching that would be fun to work with, a fantasy project?"
N: "I don't know. John Lennon would probably be at the top of my list. I think everyone would probably choose him."
E: "What if you knocked on John's door, and Jim Morrison answered instead? Would that be cool?"
N: "I would roll with that. I think there are very few people that if they approached me, we couldn't make anything good together. So long as you are working with someone who is okay with it being a collaboration, and accepting your ideas and offering up theirs. A exchange where you can just try things. I think that is the most important thing."
E: "You have to be open to experimentation. There's some degree of kinetic energy that has to be there."
N: "That's what it's like working with Jack. That's why Pomplamoose has always worked."
E: "I read about your Kickstarter and saw that you exceeded your goal, congratulations. I saw that you already recorded your debut album 'How I Knew Her' and released it. What is next on the horizon for you as an artist?"
N: "I would like to follow up this album pretty quickly with an EP or a full length, just to get to get that whole sophomore album out of the way. An interesting thing that happened on the road is that I've become more prolific about my songwriting. Something about the solitude and isolation of being on the road. The extremes of it."
E: "The experiences on tour have to be kind of enriching."
N: "I'd like to do something more stripped down. The last album was a large production with strings and horns, anything I could afford I did basically. I splurged. Hopefully some Pomplamoose stuff on the horizon. Jack and I have to be in the same place and not focused on our solo projects as much. It would be preferred I think to be on the road together."
E: "You probably could make that happen."