Natalie McCool has certainly grown through the Liverpool music scene. Brought up in nearby Widnes, she is a graduate of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). She has been a part of the music scene in the city for a number of years recently winning Female artist of the year at the Liverpool music awards.
She's played with many acts and even written with Paul McCartney and has her new album out as well as a new single which is creating plenty of buzz. I met her for a coke and a chat about the influences that led to her new album.
“I remember my sisters playing Jeff Buckley when I was little, I must have been really small. I just remember being like ‘Oh my God who is that’ I'd never heard anyone sing like that before. The solo guitar, when I was growing up it was all Britpop and Indie bands and guitar-y bands. I don't think I'd heard anyone play solo with an electric guitar in the way he did before. It really caught my ear in that way. It's just so vibe-y that song, a lot of atmosphere. It's very him that song, so much of him in it.
“Sometimes I think band stuff can be quite flat because there's so much occupying the space. But when you've got someone playing solo there's more room, there's not drums and bass filling everything in. You can really hear everything and it creates a completely different feel on a record. You can hear his [Jeff Buckley's] character in it.”
“This must have been a very young influence, I was maybe about 10. I heard Jeff Buckley when I was very young and them completely forgot about him, I barely remembered him until about 2 years ago. Listening, I remembered him from when I was a kid but I was almost too young for it, too young to look into his music myself. There was no internet or anything like that so it wasn't as easy to pick things up and find out about them. But I'd always known that was what Jeff Buckley sounded like, then when I started listening to him again 2 years ago it was still as good. It still had the same effect on me as it did when I was younger, he is completely timeless in that way. It'll always be one of the greatest albums, to me anyway.”
“I don't want to be all nineties but it's gonna go that way as my next track is I Wanna be Adored by The Stone Roses. Again just because of the guitar and also the feeling that's created in that whole song. It feels like you're at a festival when you're listening to it. You know all hazy and the sun going down, everyone's a bit magical.”
“It's such a nice bass line, quite hypnotic in a way, and the guitar is just so nice. Just what he's playing is so nice, I think John Squire is one of the best guitarists. I remember that Seahorses track, Love is the law, I loved it as a kid. I can listen to it now and remember why I liked it but it is very of it's time. I still like it but it fits in its era so well. I used to listen to it everyday.”
“This track I heard at an age when I didn't know anything about the world, but you can imagine being somewhere you've never been before. You can imagine being at a festival even with no knowledge of what a festival is like, you can feel yourself there listening to this song. It's what music can do, what it's supposed to do, take you away somewhere else, give you a completely different feeling.”
“The Stone Roses are a strong influence, mainly just the guitar. I'm all about guitar, voice and the song writing, not much else.”
“Jesca is from American but she's based in Manchster now, she's great, amazing, I wouldn't say I'm musically influenced by her at all but I think she's fantastic. I have a load of favourite bands that I like but I'm not influenced by, and then there's people who I generally don't listen to too much but I have taken something from their music.”
“I take something even though it's not something I enjoy listening to, but what I sound like. I take different things from people and mix it up in my head. I wouldn't have an idol and then just completely copy them though. I wouldn't aim for that - in the way, say, Bruno Mars is so much like Michael Jackson, I wouldn't want do that.”
“With this track I'm not fussed on the music, strangely I don't listen to it for the music. She's such a good songwriter, her songs are just perfect. She's really good at writing lyrics, but it is a great everything song. A beautiful melody and an insanely good voice. This track has Guy Garvey of Elbow on and some amazingly good harmonies.”
“As a song it's very coherent, she writes perfect songs. She's really really good at putting herself in music, it's like her in music form. Some bands write songs and you think ‘I really like it, but I don't know what it's about’ you can't connect with the song. With Jesca I listen and I know exactly what it's about, I can connect to it and feel something, it's very emotional music. That's what she's all about, and what everyone should be about.”
“You can't just write nonesense and expect everything else to pick it up. You need everything, all three - lyrics, music and talent, whether that be singing well or something else, just talent.”
“No one knows about Jesca Hoop really, she's not as famous as she should be. I was asked to support her and got to watch her live and she was just so good. I can remember the songs from the first listen, I got the album and me and my guitarist just love her. He'd never heard of her and he's in to heavy stuff, metal, but he enjoys her music.”
Natalie has a new single, Dig It Out, and a self titled album out now, available on iTunes here - Natalie McCool - Natalie McCool. “You just don't get singles on CD anymore” she says “maybe a limited vinyl release. Albums are still going pretty strong though, people do still want them, they still want music in that form. The resurgence of vinyl shows that, it's about quality, they want great content. Vinyl is a quality product, an album is a quality product, 10 or 12 tracks by one artist. People always want something for nothing though, especially music, it can feel like music has zero value nowadays. It's all about live shows and some physical merchandise, collectors stuff. It's hard getting people to buy in to the music when they're used to getting so much for free.”