Natalie Jane on Playing Live: “It’s just a room full of good energy… It’s my favorite part of the job!” (3/13 at The Foundry)

Last month 19-year-old pop star on the rise Natalie Jane released “Tattoos” – her latest single, whose teasers racked up over 25 million views on social media and even...

Last month 19-year-old pop star on the rise Natalie Jane released “Tattoos” – her latest single, whose teasers racked up over 25 million views on social media and even got a repost from Billie Eilish – and kicked off her first-ever North American headlining tour, which sold out well in advance of opening night.  The song is the follow-up to Natalie Jane’s debut EP, Where Am I?, which dropped last November on Capitol, and the tour will have her headlining The Foundry this coming Wednesday, March 13th (“Verified Resale Tickets” are currently going for as low as $28.)  Late last month I got a chance to chat with Natalie Jane via Zoom, who tells me about just how much she loves playing live.

Izzy Cihak: I know you just played opening night of your sold-out US tour.  How did that go?

Natalie Jane: I was really stressed for my first show, actually.  Leading up to tour, I was doing so many last-minute sessions to finish up new music, because I’m not gonna be doing sessions now for like three months.  So, my voice was super tired yesterday morning.  I just drank tons and tons of tea and then, once I was onstage, I think the adrenaline helped.  But I think it was a great show!

Izzy: Have you noticed patterns amongst your audiences yet?  I know you haven’t really done a ton of touring thus far, but you have played some pretty big shows and a sold-out European tour.  What kinds of people seem to be showing up?

Natalie: There’s honestly a big variety of people in the crowd.  I notice in Europe there’s a little bit of an older crowd, and America’s a bit of a younger crowd, but there’s always a mix.  There are some 11-year-olds, but then some 20-year-olds, there are a few 30-year-olds…  It’s all over the place.  It’s great!  It’s amazing!

Izzy: You have a ton of upcoming dates, with the US tour going into April and then you’re headed back overseas.  Are there any dates you’re especially excited about?

Natalie: I think I’m the most excited about London, Amsterdam, and Cologne, because those are gonna be like the biggest shows I’ve ever played.  And I also have family in London.  We have a bunch of surprises for those shows…

Izzy: I watched a bunch of your tour vlogs yesterday that I really enjoyed, so I’m curious how that idea came about to document all of this?

Natalie: I feel like there’s a lot of behind the scenes that people don’t see.  They just see me on the stage, or if they get a VIP ticket, they see a few minutes of me beforehand.  But there’s so much going on behind the scenes, before you even get to the venue and after you leave the venue, that I think is cool for other people to see!

Izzy: Again, I know it’s still pretty early on in your career of touring, but are there particular types of venues that you most enjoy playing?  This tour has you in a variety of different types of spaces.

Natalie: I used to think that only the big rooms are cool, but I honestly think it depends on the people that are in there.  I know that sounds corny, but you can have a room of 200 people that are the loudest people you’ve heard in your life, and then you can have a room of 600 or 1,000 people that are crickets.  It honestly depends on the energy that the crowd brings.

Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you play The Foundry?

Natalie: I’m super excited for The Foundry!  It sold out, if not the quickest, the second quickest.  I have a couple surprises for the high-energy crowds!  I give them more if they give me more…  So, I’m really excited, especially for The Foundry…

Izzy: You released your most recent single, “Tattoos,” earlier this month, so I’m curious how that particular track came about.

Natalie: This sounds crazy, but I went to a session and didn’t know what I wanted to write about, and I drank tons of water and I really had to pee.  So, I went to the bathroom, and when I was in the bathroom I was like, “What if we had a song that goes like, [singing] ‘Tattoos hurt less than what you put me through…’”  I don’t know how it happened, but it happened…  And now we’re selling temporary tattoos that say, “TATTOOS HURT LESS THAN YOU,” [Shows me the backside of her right hand, on which she’s sporting one.]

Izzy: You’ve released a lot of cool music videos.  What is it that inspires the visual elements of your work, or is it different with every video or project?

Natalie: Every video is different!  The more emotional songs have been more performative videos, whereas the dramatic songs, like “Do or Die,” had a whole story behind it.  It has like cops in it, we’re running from them…  But I’m excited for the new music videos that are coming soon, because we’re already planning them and they’re gonna be very nice and big!

Izzy: This is a big question but, considering that your music career is still pretty new, what have been some of the personal highlights so far, whether reactions it’s gotten, experiences it’s afforded you, or anything else that has really stood out?

Natalie: I think my favorite part of this career is touring and being live in front of people.  A big part of my career is social media, and there are thousands of people on social media that can be very mean and very awful.  But even though there are hundreds of thousands of people that can be super nice, there’s still a good chunk of people that don’t like you [laughs].  But when you’re performing live, it’s just a room full of good energy and it’s a room full of people that love you and it’s just very rewarding.  It’s my favorite part of the job!

Izzy: I know last year you did a run with Bishop Briggs and MisterWives, who we’re big fans of — and we went to that tour, but we had Raffaella opening our date, who is also amazing! — so I’m curious, how was it touring with them?  I mean, that’s a pretty huge tour.

Natalie: Bishop Briggs and MisterWives, that tour was amazing!  I’ve always been a fan of Bishop Briggs.  She’s like the inspiration behind all my music.  I was a huge fan of hers, so it was crazy that I was able to open for her.  And those rooms were really big for me; I’ve never played rooms that size.  I think it was really, really a great experience and a really amazing full-circle moment, because I bought tickets to see Bishop Briggs two years prior, and then I got to perform with her, which was amazing.

Izzy: On a related note, are there any acts that you dream of possibly one day opening for or being on the road with?

Natalie: I feel like the dream is to open for either Billie Eilish or Ariana Grande… two slaying superstars, huge inspirations…  They’re the goal, they’re the dream…

Izzy: Not to detract from your music, but you also have a really great sense of fashion, so I’m curious what does that draw inspiration from?

Natalie: I’m obsessed with wearing moon boots, like these massive, oversized winter boots.  And I love pairing them with shorts, for some reason.  I think it’s fun, and I think it looks cool.  And, honestly, I think a big thing, a big factor to my style, is comfort.  I see so many celebrities that wear these insane, amazing outfits, but I look at it and I’m like, “Oh my gosh!”  I feel like if I had to go to bathroom, it would take two people just to undress me!  So, I think a big part of my style is comfort.  I also think it’s relatable, because other people can dress like me, too.  Ya know?

Izzy: Finally, what are you hoping and planning for the second half of 2024?  Is there anything you’re especially excited about?

Natalie: I feel like in the music industry everything you do is always a secret until it’s announced, but I can definitely say new music and a lot of announcements about more performances…

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.