Interview: Perfectionist Natalia Kills Nails It.
by Daniel Haim
To call Natalia Kills a musician is, honestly, a bit laughable. That’s because the stunning and talented phenom is infinitely more than just a producer of ear candy. While Natalia does make music — a dark, seductively catchy brand of smart pop — she also acts, writes for film and directs. To be a jack of all trades and a master of none is all too common in today’s entertainment world. To have success in everything one touches…is to be Natalia Kills.
Later this year, Natalia will release Perfectionist, an album that will bring a fresh breath of sophistication and creativity to a music scene that sometimes seems full of recycled songs and ideas. Natalia is the antithesis of that stale scene. Everything from her high-end style to her low-end, bass-heavy electronic beats surges with energy and originality. Perhaps it’s because Natalia’s vision is so much broader than that of many other artists. As she puts it, her music is written as if she’s “scoring a soundtrack to a film scene, that way the music speaks the same emotion of the lyrics.” Creating the emotional connection allows Natalia to create unifiying, memorable music, so that “it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak English or you’re not paying attention to the song, the drama is still the same.”
The reference to creating a soundtrack isn’t a surprise coming from Natalia. She has steadily been building buzz and eliciting interest through her “Love Kills xx” webisodes. A new installment of the series is introduced every Monday, and each one builds upon the story, adding momentum and suspense. Natalia has also integrated several songs from Perfectionist into the series, which will play out like a film, titled “The Exhibitionist,” once completed. To Natalia, it seems that everything she does is part of one over-arching concept — a unique and comprehensive entertainment experience, not just an album. Everything Natalia does has great depth, a definite purpose and speaks to her relentless work ethic; even the biography on her site is written like a screenplay.
Given Natalia’s combination of creativity, dedication and devastating beauty, it’s not surprised that she has caught the attention of big names such as Akon and will.i.am. Perhaps it’s because they see the potential in Natalia and realize that she’s on the verge of becoming a big name herself. Natalia has the drive and the talent not just to be “the next” someone else — she will undoubtedly establish herself as the one and only Natalia Kills. If you haven’t heard of Natalia Kills, you will. As Natalia says herself: “I am Natalia Kills… and you better be ready for me.”
Well, are you?
Daniel: Where did all of this begin for you? When did you first realize you were blessed with such an incredible voice?
Natalia: HA HA thank you! I think there are people who want to sing and people who just do. I’ve always made music, even if it wasn’t a career opportunity I’d still make music. It’s how i survive.
Daniel: How has 2010 been treating you? Is it safe to say that it’s been a good year so far?
Natalia: it’s been wild so far! I’ve finished my album and film… and making the series “Love, Kills xx” is great.
Brian: How did will.i.am end up discovering your talent?
Natalia: In 2008 I had written and produced my own demo and put it out on myspace… the blogger Perez Hilton wrote about me and i got a lot of buzz. When i went out to LA i met with a few artists and major labels but Will and i had a creative connection… It wasn’t a hard decision!
Daniel: There’s so much buzz going for you these days. Tell us about some of the cool relationships that you have forged over the past couple of months.
Natalia: It’s lovely how excited people are about my work. I’ve had the chance to make music with some of the best producers of our time, like Cherry Cherry Boom Boom and Fernando Garibay. The first songs i made for my album (“Zombie” being one of them) are with Jeff Bhasker who has a very innovative and distinctive sound, and I’ve recently worked with Akon who is so creative and wild!! And some of my favorite songs were produced by Ron Feemster who is unbelievable… a musical savant.
Brian: What was it like to work with producers who have worked with big names like Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys?
Natalia: The nicest thing is to be able to describe my sound and ideas I’ve had for a track and walking away with a song that’s even better than I imagined it. It’s nice to work with people who are not only incredibly talented but also exited to donate their skills to making my idea come to life… The producers i worked with put so much of themselves into the music that it becomes their creative expression, their idea, their artistry too. And I’m sure the listener can hear the passion come to life through the speakers.
Brian: Your songs have a real feeling of depth and a lot of instrumentation. Do you have all of this mapped out in your head before the hit the studio, or do you like to explore what the studio setting offers?
Natalia: I always have ideas… sometI’mes just the drum pattern or a melody, sometimes the whole song. But i like to make music as if i’m scoring a sound track to a film scene, that way the music speaks the same emotion of the lyrics. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak english or you’re not paying attention to the song, the drama is still the same.
Brian: Your songs are catchy like mainstream pop but feel more sophisticated; do you consciously strive to make that distinction, or does it just naturally come out?
Natalia: It’s just my style… It’s whats natural to me, but of course while I’m writing the song, looking for the perfect phrasing, i know i’m doing it. I try make my lyrics as close to how i speak and think (literally) as possible, weather or not it rhymes or is grammatically correct. It’s I’mportant to say the unsaid… that how all I’mportant movements in life begin.
Daniel: What is it that you draw upon for a musical inspiration, or inspiration for life? What inspires Natalia Kills?!
Natalia: I watch film to become inspired. I love drama and suspense! I like old horror, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarantino… new films, action films… everything! The way film uses music is what inspires me. If you watch a thriller on mute it’s not scary… the music is the heart beat of cinema… with out music a film is a body without a pulse.
Daniel: What has been the most difficult part of breaking through into this industry?
Natalia: In any industry it’s difficult to get people to believe in ideas they’ve never heard of. It’s a risk, and if it doesn’t work, you loose a career and they loose insane amounts of money. But even when they do believe in your vision it’s still hard to not compromise and sacrifice you dream for a safer and more probable success.
Daniel: What has been the most rewarding?
Natalia: That moment when people first ‘get it’. Producers, the Label, fans… when you reach somebody in a way they can connect with, in a way that explains them and gives them a purpose and identity. That moment is everything.
Brian: Do you prefer to set aside time to write, or do you just write as you get inspired?
Natalia: it’s a constant thing… like when you dream at night, you don’t tell yourself “i think i’ll dream tonight”… it just happens, and whatever you dream about is out of your control. I try to embrace my imagination as much as possible, so when an idea comes i just write.
Daniel: Where do you get inspiration for your style?
Natalia: it’s just whatever i feel like. If i feel like war i’ll wear something in military green like a suffragette… if i feel love i’ll wear a red dress…
Daniel: Where do you buy your clothes? Have any favorite store?
Natalia: I’m really not into fashion… I feel like clothing is a 2nd skin and a 2nd way to speak your mood that day. If i see something i like i’ll buy it regardless of the store, price or designer… i won’t wear beige just because the seasons says so.
Daniel: Do you have any favorite designer?
Natalia: I have a few but it often depends on the collection…
Daniel: Your best style advice?
Natalia: Wear what defines you.
Daniel: If you opened your iPod right now, what would be the top 10 most played songs on it?
Natalia: The first few are sound track music (Terminator 2, Batman The Dark Knight, StarWars etc) and the other are Kate Bush “Hounds of Love”, Prince “when doves cry”, Depeche Mode, Michael Jackson “Bad”, Queen “Love Kills”, Erik Hassle “Don’t Bring Flowers”
Daniel: If you could choose any three things to get for free what would you choose?
Natalia: Love, Happiness and Success. The price for all of them are way too high!