Natalie McCool is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has picked up a steadily growing support base of fans and critics alike with her truly innovative and beautiful take on pop music. ‘The Great Unknown’ is the follow up to 2013’s eponymously titled debut and was recorded and produced with Dave Berger from Outfit at Schall Und Wahn in Liverpool. Out now on iTunes & Spotify the album also features additional production and mixes on singles by Rich Turvey (Blossoms, Clean Cut Kid, Cabbage) and is without doubt McCool’s finest and most accomplished set of songs to date.
Natalie first worked with us on the first Beth Orton residency in 2015 and has since gone on to facilitate Sing City, our weekly sessions for young musicians. This May half term she has been leading our latest Both Sides Now residency, the first for young female musicians.
Here Natalie shares her top tips for aspiring musicians…
1. Don’t be shy… Speak to people. Whether it be your friends or other people your age — find others who share your interests and passions and open up a conversation or correspondence! Start expanding your personal network of musicians and contacts — it’s a key area to build upon and will in turn build your own confidence.
2. Spread the love. Ever heard the expression ‘Together we are strong’? Once you start making friends and contacts who share your interests and passions, help each other out with them. This could be with performance, songwriting, lending them your skills or feedback, helping each other learn new stuff, supporting one another. There’s nothing better than feeling a sense of community and building a local scene — together.
3. Practice! This is a no brainer — we all know practice makes perfect so put the time in on your instrument(s) of choice. It’s worth practicing in different styles and genres as it opens your mind and makes you a better musician. Practicing also improves your musical ear so get to it!
4. Don’t stop there… Once you have a handle on what interests you the most, you can look to acquiring other skills that interest you that might help you on your way. For example other instruments, writing, graphics, photography, film other creative disciplines (dance, drama etc) — anything else that interests you, go for it. You don’t know where it may take you.
5. Create your own opportunities. Opportunities won’t come to you…you have to find them — or create your own. No live shows in your area? Put your own on. Don’t know other people with your interests? Get online, get out there and find them. Be an entrepreneur!
Natalie made up another lot of top tips for us way back in 2015 when she was leading a series of guitar workshops for young women as part of our Here Come The Grrrls programme. You can check them out here.