"[Natal's] voice and words are forces of nature..." Velanche, Urban
The first music I ever heard was from my father's
violin, guitar and mandolin. He played gypsy melodies, classical pieces,
Italian folk songs, 'jazz hot' - and he loved Johnny Cash. I picked up a
guitar when I was about ten - started writing songs and singing.
Later, Nanette trained as a classical singer with the Helen Hayes Young
People's Theater Guild, performing at Judson and Cami Halls in New York
Eventually, I toured professionally as a singer/songwriter
- on the road, just me and my guitar.
She went on to work
throughout the South, the Bitter End Coffee House Circuit, playing at
universities and concert halls. Back on the East Coast, at the Gaslight, the
Bitter End, the Orpheum Theater, Paul's Mall and Café Au Go Go.
A lifelong commitment to social justice was
shaped by the counter-cultural movements which flourished during the late
60s and early 70s, and is reflected in her song writing and her
performances to this day. Please check out "The
Devil is Working Here" on Neil Young's "Living with War Today"
In the late 1970s, during a pop recording session of Duke
Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" at Columbia Recording Studios, an engineer,
who had worked with many of Columbia's notable jazz artists, told Nanette
that she "had the soul of a jazz singer." That moment was a turning point in
her musical life.
When I fell into jazz singing, I was hooked and challenged by its
complexities and I put down my guitar and never looked back.
Always an independent 'free' spirit - truly an artist - Nanette dissolved
her contracts with her management and record labels, formed her own company
and has focused ever since on developing her own unique musical expression. Benyo Music Productions has released nine albums. (See the
Nanette's reputation in the field of jazz singing is reflected in Bruce
Crowther's and Mike Pinfold's "Singing Jazz: The Singers and Their Styles,"
where they name Natal as "…one of the most interesting and exciting singers
working in jazz today."
Nanette loves to record live, direct to
2-track and onto ¼" tape. Most of her albums have been recorded this way. On
her latest album, "Sweet Summer Blue," working with Malcolm Addey at
Studios in New York City, an actual real time mix of the performances
creates a sound unusual in today's digital, overdubbed world.
The warmth and intimacy that can only be captured on tape (!!) - the power
and richness of the audio experience is unmistakable. Please
click here to learn more about this exciting, sensual form of recording
on the Avatar blog.
Nanette is a serious composer, whose lyrics take us deep into our humanity,
and a multi-instrumentalist: composing on piano, guitar, mandolin and banjo
- she travels musically wherever the muse takes her.
Blue" is a collection of mostly original songs, which celebrate American
musical traditions from Blues to Country to Bebop. It is an "Americana"
tour: an amalgam of roots musics formed by the confluence of the shared and
varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically
those sounds that are merged from folk, country and blues.
father passed away in 2008, I reached for the mandolin that he had given me
- playing out my grief - feeling him close to me in the music. Then, I
opened up the old case and started playing again on my guitar - composing
the songs recorded in "Sweet Summer Blue." It was like coming home again.
Natal's MySpace page