HOME Elite Artist Spotlight: Natasha Blaine
Once a month, we are partnering with Helping Our Music Evolve (HOME) in East Nashville to feature an artist who is enrolled in the organization’s Elite Artist Program, which teams recording artists with HOME’s Verified Producers and other business professionals to accelerate the process of creating and monetizing their music.
First up is Natasha Blaine. A Seattle native, Natasha moved to Nashville in 2018, and has been captivating audiences in Music City with her jazz-influenced vocals and engaging live performances ever since. She just released her new single, “You Don’t Treat Me the Same,” co-produced alongside HOME-certified producer Allan Fine.
I had the chance to chat with Natasha about the new single, her creative process, and the joys of performing live. In the process, I could sense her genuine excitement for what the future holds. Read the interview below, and check out “You Don’t Treat Me the Same” when you get to the bottom!
Your new single, “You Don’t Treat Me the Same,” just came out on April 22. It’s incredible! What’s the meaning behind it?
“You Don’t Treat Me the Same” is one of my favorite songs that I’ve written, because there’s a lot of complexity in it. It’s a funky, upbeat, danceable song, but at the same time, it’s really sad. It’s a song that I wrote about a relationship falling apart, and we wanted to make it upbeat to add a level of “ignorance is bliss” and soften the blow.
On the track, you’ve truly captured the essence of what it’s like to see a live Natasha Blaine performance. What did you do in the creative process to bring that out?
It’s funny you say that, because that song was the first one that I’ve ever done live tracked! We recorded the whole band together, and it was super fun. I wrote it with Damian C, and we came up with the song last May. It was this little demo we had; it was super funky, with the cheesiest sounds on there. But, it was so good! I was listening to it over and over again, and I was like, “This has got to be the next song I release.”
I brought it to my band, and we started playing it the way that we’ve been playing it live. I liked the way that it sounded so much, that I went to my producer, Allan Fine, and said I wanted it to turn out the way that we do it live. So, we decided that we had to find a way to record it live, and that meant we needed to find a studio that had enough space. We ended up recording that all together in December. It was super fun!
From there, we had already knocked out most of the parts, so Allan and I added some more vocals, BGVs, trumpet, and organ. It came together pretty quickly.
Speaking of Allan, you work with him as part of HOME’s Elite Artist Program. How has working with him – and being a part of HOME – helped you develop as an artist?
The program, and Allan specifically, has helped me discover who I want to be as an artist. Allan and I met back in 2018, and at first, we started writing together. Then, I brought him some of my songs that I had written, and he was able to work with my vision in such a great way. He’s got a great way of taking the songs that I’ve written on acoustic guitar and making them into something amazing. I think HOME has been a big help with that too, because we’ve done a lot of the recording here in the studio.
Allan has been such a great person to collaborate with. He’s been with me through so many different phases of my writing, and different things that I’ve wanted to accomplish. It’s fun to look back and see how we started way back when we wrote our first song together, to “You Don’t Treat Me the Same.”
You mentioned offline that there is an acoustic version of “You Don’t Treat Me the Same” on the way?
Yes! The acoustic version is going to be a video. We just recorded it with the band and (videographer) Dylan Reeves. It’s going to be a stripped-down, jazzier version of the song. I am so excited for everybody to see it! I feel like it’s so much fun to be able to take my songs and do them a different way — and why not? It’s so much fun to be creative and come up with different interpretations. A lot of the guys in my band, including me, have a jazz background, so it’s fun to work that muscle.
What does the rest of 2022 look like for you?
It’s looking like a lot of new music and a lot more live shows. I have been playing a lot more with my band, and it’s been amazing. I think our live show has gotten to a special level. I’ve had a great time developing our sound. Right now, my band is a pretty solid group of people, and they’re some of my best friends. It’s so much fun to be able to come to them with new music and new ideas, and make the set more interactive, special, and expressive.
Every single time I hear you play, it seems like there are new layers being brought out in the music. Saxophonist Gus Arnold has certainly brought a lot to your live sound, as well. I’m excited to see where it goes from here. So, when is the next show?
Our next show is May 1 at The Basement, and Gus will be playing! I’ve really been trying to lean more into live music. That’s my favorite thing in the entire world.
The goal is to be able to say something to people and connect with people, and I think doing a live show and having that connection with the audience is the most special thing in the world. I had this choir director when I was going up who called that energy when you’re seeing live music “heart energy.” I think about that all the time, I think about whether or not a performance really felt like there was a lot of heart energy present. That’s such a special thing about music – it brings people together. It brings people together in a soulful way.