The first time Natasha Watts ever crossed my radar was with “Time to Shine,” her beautiful song with Aaron Ross. I’ve been hooked ever since. Following up on her self-titled debut album in 2014, the soulstress brings us her new masterpiece, 2nd Time Around, this time produced by SedSoul founder Rob Hardt (Cool Million) and UK Producer Richard Earnshaw.
The album is nothing short of amazing with its heartfelt lyrics and songs of positivity and I’m hoping this will be her ticket to making her way to the US.
The first song I ever played of yours was I believe “Time to Shine” with Aaron Ross. I understand you wrote this during a particularly hard time in your life?
Yes sadly. It was the same year that my mother passed. I wrote that track in the summer after her passing and used it as a way of coping with life. I always try to be positive when I write and for me this track really helped me to turn things around!
Rob Hardt (Cool Million) and Richard Earnshaw are both producing this album. How did you meet the two of them and develop your working relationship?
Well I first met Richard when I was at a gig and we were introduced. We soon realized that we did not live that far from each other. I kind of stalked him into inviting me down to the studio and I guess we have not looked back since!
Terry Jones and Kenny Thomas introduced me to Rob Hardt. Ironically Rob first saw me perform at Richard’s album launch, where I was singing vocals for him. I never knew Rob then and it was only when we spoke about it later in life that I realized he was there! Our relationship in music has gone from strength to strength. Rob gets me musically and I think the new album speaks volumes about our relationship.
The songs are all so beautiful and melancholy. How long have you been working on this album and tell us about some of the songs in it. My personal favorite is “Lonely.”
Oh wow, you like “Lonely.” That’s great – no one has said that to me other than my husband! I actually only worked on the album for around four weeks, that’s the time I spent writing and recording the vocals. The production takes the time and perfecting the whole thing takes even longer, I think I have the easy part!
I love writing and I guess I find it fairly easy to write from the heart about situations or what I hear from friends and family. I need it to have substance. “Lonely” was just that: I was in Germany recording the tracks and missing my husband and started to write about how I was feeling.
To be honest I believe the album is some of my best work, I feel a sense of maturity around my songs, especially with “Breath” and “Love Who You Are.” I also think working with some prolific writers and producers has made me up my game. JD73 is a star and his keyboard skills are off the scale! Dave Doyle has already produced some monster tracks and our track together, “Hit The Spot,” is also being played so much on the underground dance scene.
The UK Soul scene is so incredibly vibrant, all of my favorite producers seem to come out of there. Have you ever visited the US? Any US producers or singers you’d like to work with?
I wish! I would love to do more work over in the USA, but sadly I do not have those contacts yet! I am sure it won’t be long, as I am making some very slow inroads.
I really see myself working with people like Musiq Soulchild or Jaheim and also some of the greats like Stevie (hahahaha, yeah right, in my dreams!) I think once people see that I have been working with Omar they might be a bit more interested – after all he is Soul royalty here in the UK. Talking of Omar, I am so honored that he said yes to working with me, being such a fan for decades and I really believed he would say no to a duet. So you can only imagine my reaction when he was like, “Yeah, for sure! Plus I love your work Tash!” I think our track “Insatiable” is in my Top 3 on this album and having Richard Earnshaw produce it was the icing on the cake. He is my boy!
Will there be remixes coming out for any of the singles?
I am not sure, I would like to think so, as you know we have duetted with one of my heroes, Omar, and that particular track has had a lot of media support already. I think it’s an obvious choice for a remix!
I have spoken about doing a remix album, taking all my best tracks and putting them onto one compilation. I really think that would be a great idea!
Now I just can’t wait for everyone to hear it, and even better that we are taking it on the road. I prefer to play live over anything else and feed off the crowd. Sometimes you have to drag me off the stage! This is my first UK solo Tour and I can’t wait!
Celebrate The Beautiful One in 5 Magazine Issue #131, a double issue featuring Prince, Kenny Dope, Ralf Gum, N’Dinga Gaba and Natasha Watts. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music and save 66%!