American born singer Natty talks about his music prior to yesterday’s headline show

Natty. Photo: Courtesy of Fine Company

Natty. Photo: Courtesy of Fine Company - Credit: Courtesy of Fine Company

We caught up with singer-songwriter Natty prior to his headline show at The Waterfront in Norwich last night.

Natty professed that he was looking forward to being surrounded by love and smiling faces when he performed at the Waterfront in Norwich on Saturday night as part of his 10th anniversary tour.

The American born singer songwriter returned to Norwich a year on from performing at The Norwich Arts Centre to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his top 20 album Man Like I only has fond memories of his previous gigs in the city.

'The one thing about Norwich is it's always about love it's not like there is a dark edge to the place it's just with lots and lots of happy places which is great when you're on tour.

Natty joked, 'You don't have any motorways leading up to the city it's just roundabouts.'

Reflecting on his journey, the London musician believes that the music industry has helped shape him to be a good person in testing situations and is looking forward to having the opportunity to put more time into the album that elevated him to fame in 2008.

'I made a lot of mistakes. When you are put in a machine that is moving faster than you can ever imagine you want to stand up for what you believe in. Everything moves so quickly in the first two weeks to the point my first album was rushed.'

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'It helped shape my understanding of the industry and how to manoeuvre. It pushed me into a more spiritual place and had I not gone there, I may have had more money and increased notoriety but would not be as good a person as I am today.'

'Man Like I meant a lot to a lot of people. In essence, this project is tribute to them.'

'The original album was recorded in 2 weeks, so some of the tracks didn't have enough time to breathe. After a decade of reflection and growth, this felt like the perfect time to delve deeper, explore and evolve the tracks that launched my career.'

Natty is known for an eclectic outlook on reggae, drawing on influences from various forms of ancestral music from his travels around the globe.

Since making his mark on the UK scene in 2008 with his debut album, Man Like I, Natty has travelled across the world with his music, scoring a number one hit in Japan, collaborating with the likes of Nitin Sawhney, Roots Manuva and Akala, and touring with Ziggy Marley.

Natty is currently working with artists Maverick Sabre and Seun Kuti, son of Afro beat legend FelaKuti on his latest tour.

Having initially wanted to become a music producer, Natty reveals that he only intended to become a musician having had a taste for producing and receiving support from people around him.

'I had ambitions to be a producer and worked on many many records, I just knew if I wanted to work on music that I loved I would need to make the music myself instead of produce other peoples.'

'I was working directly with a lot of indie bands and X Factor related content and I started to become disillusioned with it all, which is when I began writing my own songs.'

'I got a lot of support from my people in my close circles and fellow producers which gave me the confidence to go out and do it myself.'

'Experiencing childhood in London during the eighties when racial hostilities were still bubbling over, Natty reflects that he drew upon these experiences which provided him with musical inspiration in his later career.'

'I got a song called burn down this place, which talks about me having to come to terms with the atrocities perpetrated against African people through both slavery and colonialism and how that has a direct reflection of how I am received today.'

'Growing up in London as a young black child can be difficult, especially if you have an outward looking perspective.'

'Black boys running around without an identity and having a lower value of life, the slavery after show is a direct correlation of how we are treated.'

Natty cites his travelling experiences and upbringing as major influences in his music creation and aims to try and offer a lyrical outlet that helps others.

'I grew up in London, if your music is not a melting up of influences and you live in London, then you are asleep. I'm from a mixed household and grew up with a whole eclectic mix of different sounds from Neil Young right through to 60s Motown.'

'We've all got certain things in common that we can all relate to and my general mission is to make music which is real to me and real others.'

'I'm not a preacher but I like to make music that people can directly relate to. It's not about the hype, it is all about self-healing and healing others.'