Natasha Barnes

You’ve just been signed to Sony Music; how does that feel?

It wasn’t something I was expecting at all; I work mainly in theatre and, despite always being in love with many genres of music, I never saw myself as a recording artist. Its become a dream I never knew I had. I have loved exploring who I am and what my voice is away from playing roles in musicals, television and plays. Singing a song as yourself is far more exposing.

How did you get started with singing?

I was raised on Disney films and later old classic musicals. I fell in love with Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra and that cleared the path for Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. I have always been drawn to female singers who have a story to tell and I began impersonating whoever I listened to. That’s how it started… copying what I was hearing at six years old.

Do you play instruments?

I’m learning piano and guitar. I wish I had started sooner.

Who gave you the support to keep singing in the beginning?

Not a lot of people! I was tone deaf till I was about 12. Really, always flat and off key unless I had headphones in. I used to sing a lot with my grandmother, for family. My younger cousin is a singer-songwriter too. She’s incredible. She sang with a big band when she was younger.

How does singing make you feel?

I’m a very emotionally led person. Singing is a bit like a release for me, or a way for me to work things out in my head. Its cathartic. I lose myself sometimes. It’s a bit like a hot bath after a long day, or a really big satisfying stretch.

Do you think your songs make others feel something special?

I hope so! Very few people have heard them at this stage, but I love that people find them transporting and are taken in by the authenticity of the sound. I know some of my close friends have had them on repeat! I am very nervous to see what people make of it. It’s the most nervous I have ever been.

What was the first song you ever sang?

I’ll be completely honest: ‘Part of Your World’ from The Little Mermaid. Closely followed by ‘Rotterdam’ by Beautiful South.

Who are your music inspirations?

Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Karen Carpenter, Judy Garland, Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Adele, Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell.

Frank Sinatra. He is the king. Eminem is a genius… I could go on.

Do you write song lyrics as well?

I have started writing more and more. My problem is that I am impatient and want them to be perfect straight away. Like a sketch artist who refuses to use a rubber. I would like to feature more of my own work on my next album, if I do one.

Natasha on stage in Funny Girl in 2016

Natasha on stage in Funny Girl in 2016

What embarrassing songs might we find on your MP3 player?

I genuinely don’t think I am embarrassed by any of my library! I have literally everything on there though. Eminem to Disney, to old London Music Hall to Spice Girls to Taylor Swift to Pearl Jam.

Where would you most like to perform?

Royal Albert Hall, Glastonbury, Carnegie Hall.

What genre of music can’t you stand to listen to?

Dubstep. Sorry all dubstep fans.

Who do you listen to these days?

Haim! I love Haim at the minute. I am still making my way through Julie London’s back catalogue.

Who was your favourite singer growing up?

Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland… can’t have just one.

If you weren’t singing what would you be doing today?

Acting—which I am doing also!

Other than music what interests you most?

I’m a big film and book junkie. Always watching and reading. I like trying my hand at new things, rock climbing was last year’s thing. I’m interesting in being strong and fit and healthy.

What hidden talents do you have?

Cooking, I have been told! Apparently I could have been a good boxer, I had a couple of serious lessons but it hurts!

Do you have any celebrity crushes?

Cillian Murphy, hands down. Can’t resist him in Peaky Blinders.

What city would you most like to visit around the world?

New York! I can’t believe I have made it this far without getting there.

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