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NATASCHA SOHL

Natascha Sohl is a 24 year old singer-songwriter from London who has been described as 'Lenny Kravitz meets Alanis Morrisette'. She has been writing and performing since the late nineties.

She is currently promoting her excellent debut album 'Strange Fascination'.

1. What are you currently up to?

I've been doing quite a lot of radio and newspaper promotional work recently to push my debut single, 'Are You Ready?', (that's just been released!) so thatís been a lot of fun. It's shown me a whole different side of what you have to do to 'get out there', as well as all the usual - gigging and generally getting yourself about.

I've also got some gigs coming up which I'm quite excited about. I'm playing an acoustic slot at The Cellar Bar in Bracknell on 9th September, another long acoustic set on the 29th September at a place called Hugo's in Queens Park and then I'm playing a Charity event called The Silver Bear Concert in aid of Children in Need at the Clapham Grand on 23rd October.

Towards the end of the year I'm adding the 'rock edge'(!) to a series of arena gigs for The Young Voices Concerts. They'll be at MEN Arena, Manchester - Monday 29th November, National Indoor Arena, Birmingham - Wednesday 1st December, Sheffield Hallam Arena - Thursday 2nd December, Odyssey Arena, Belfast - Tuesday 14th December and The Halleluya Concert at The Point Theatre, Dublin on Sunday 19th December. These will be a totally different thing for me, as I'll be performing one of the songs in my set with a choir of 5,000 kids! I'm looking forward to it.

I'll also be doing various other gigs in and around London, some Uni gigs and hopefully some a bit further afield. I'm planning some gigs in Glasgow, Lancaster and looking to go back to New York before I'm too much older! These haven't been confirmed yet, so keep your fingers crossed and keep checking my website!!

2. Tell us about your album. It was first released in 2003. Is this effectively a reissue?

No it's not really a re-issue, coz it was never officially released! I made it available to friends, at gigs and on my website, but that's about it. The artwork's been changed and re-thought a bit for the 'Official' release, so hopefully everyone's looking forward to getting themselves a copy! Hopefully when it's gone platinum, the people with the 2003 version will have themselves a collectorís item!!

3. What sort of reaction are you getting to the album and what plans have you for it? (eg promotion)

So far the reaction's been really good - that makes me happy! I've had a couple of really good reviews and people seem to be really liking it.

There's quite a diverse sound to the album, so hopefully there's something everyone 'gets'!

As far as promotion goes, I'm just trying to get as much awareness for it as possible. I've been getting some radio play of some of the album tracks as well as the single, so obviously people hearing it is a good thing. Reviews and articles in magazines, newspapers and on the net are very helpful and I'm hoping to be doing some TV stuff with it soon as well. I'd love to get one of the tracks on an ad, that'll get it heard!

4. What are your own personal favourites on the album?

Mmm, that's hard - I'm proud of them all! I really like Remember Me - that's come out really well with a really cool driving bass line! Give It All Away sounds great and I love Walking Thru Space too!

5. . What gives you inspiration for your songs (eg real life experiences) How did the songs come together?

Real life situations give me the most inspiration to write about, or potential real life situations! I think it's always better to write about things you know and that mean something to you, rather then just spouting on about something you know nothing about.

If you write for yourself, at the very least you should feel happy with what you've written and more than likely other people will have gone through similar things and feel some sort of connection to your music.

Most lyrics you listen to tend to be about relationships of one sort of another, coz it's something we all get - we've all had emotional issues!

When I write, I seem to do every song in a different way! Sometimes I'll come up with some lyrics, and then piece them together with others that I wasn't even thinking about for the same song, but they just fit well together!

Other times you'll sit down and the song will just flow out. It really depends on my mood I think! 'Are you Ready?' came really easily, coz we had this really funky riff that I loved and this funky, rhythmical melody going round my head which just wouldn't shift and the lyrics came really easily for some reason(!) and just slotted into place!

I had a slightly different subject matter in mind when I wrote 'Wishful Thinking'. I was getting really irritated about the fact that people seem so obsessed by celebrity these days and how people seem to want to be famous for no apparent reason, then get all narky when it doesn't turn out to be everything they were expecting! I felt like I had to vent, but most of my songs are more relationship based!

Natascha Sohl

6. . Who have been your main musical influences and who are your all time favourite artists/albums? Who are the female singer-songwriters you most admire?

I guess I've had quite varied musical influences. When I was growing up there was a lot of Queen in the house (my parents are massive fans!), as well as bands like The Police, Supertramp, Dire Straits, so quite a rocky sound.

There was also quite a lot of classical music being played as well as the likes of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, so I always liked quite varied genres.

When I was a bit older I was really into bands like Garbage, No Doubt, Incubus, Ben Folds Five, Lamb, Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

I have quite a list, so couldn't really name an all time favourite - it depends what mood I'm in so take your pick!

As for female singer-songerwriters, I thought Alanis Morissette was awesome, she was so aggressive and 'troubled' which I thought was great, coz girls are meant to be quiet and well behaved! Well not any more, we can all express ourselves more easily now!

I also love Fiona Apple - she's amazing, she's got such a cool voice. Sheryl Crow's always a favourite too - she's just so cool and looks great in a pair of leather trousers - proper rock chick! Ricky Lee Jones is another person I really admire - she's got such an individual style and can change it about whenever she feels like it, she's great.

7. What have been the highlight (s) and lowpoints (s) of your career to date?

I don't think I've really had any lowpoints! When I was in my original band, Little Entity., I definitely thought it was a bit of a low point when we split, but it actually turned into a positive.

Everyone develops in their own time, so going our own separate ways was all part of a learning experience - it gave me things to draw from in the future, so I don't think that really counts, does it?!

Highlights have definitely been when I played the British Radio Academy 20th Anniversary Award Show and also when I went to New York! It was such a good experience for me to play over there, following in the footsteps of many others, and it was lots of fun! Seeing my single on the shelf in Virgin in Tottenham Court Road was definitely a bit of a buzz too!

8. What are your views on the curent state of the music business?

I think the music industry is having to change the way it's doing business because of the way the world is changing.

There is so much technology around these days that it makes sense that people can download music.

It's only really come about because CD prices are so expensive, so if people can get the music for less than half the price they're going to do it aren't they?! So I think legal downloading is a good thing, especially now that it counts towards chart sales as well.

It's a very accessible way of getting music heard. Illegal sites may raise awareness, but musicians do need to earn their keep too! There also seems to be a lot more Indie labels springing up, taking on the major labels, and artists trying to do it themselves more.

Gigs are always about, which is great - there are so many venues around these days. I don't think it's really that fair though when you get massive artists charging £50 a ticket to see one show! They could do it for a lot less - I'm sure they're making more than enough profit!

I think Festivals are the way forward - you get to see loads of bands all in the same place, and hopefully the sun shines too - bonus!!

Natascha Sohl

9. What sort of live dates do you play? Will you be touring the album with a band?

I play all sorts of places really - anywhere that'll have me! Usually bars and music venues in and around London, and Universities.

I've played a couple of small festivals too - it's always fun to play different kinds of venues. It's good to adapt your style a bit too, so I've been playing a few acoustic gigs recently, which is nice coz it gives a completely different vibe to the set. I'm definitely hoping to do some touring with the band and get a bit further afield too. I can't wait actually! I'll let everyone know when everything's confirmed. Check out my website for details!

10. What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

I'd really like to get my music out to as many people as possible. I'd obviously like the album to be a success, because it means a lot to me and I've worked hard on it, so if people like it and relate to it, then thatís great!

I'd really like to get touring, both here and overseas, and see how far I can get with it! My aspirations are to be in the situation where I'm earning my living doing what I love for as long as possible! I'm hoping I'll have a long career making and performing my music! This is the only thing I want to do, so I'm more than happy to work hard to get where I want to be.

11. Outside of the music business, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Pretty ordinary stuff really! I love films, so I tend to get myself off to the cinema fairly regularly and I'm working on increasing my DVD collection!

I'm also quite into fashion, so I tend to customise some of my clothes - sometimes ruining them in the process! I like listening to music and I'm also trying to improve my guitar playing skills, coz it's kind of useful if I can play my own songs from time to time! As well as all that, I do occasionally like to see my friends too, but life's a little hectic at the moment!!!!

12. Message to your fans?

Just really to say thank you so much to everyone who's come to a gig, bought a CD and generally given me their support. It really does mean a lot to me and I really do appreciate it! Keep up the good work! xxx


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Interview © 2004 David Randall/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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