Check out our interview with singer and songwriter Natasha Hardy who just released her latest single ‘Into The West’.
“Into The West is the second single to be released from a collection of hand-picked cover songs. Natasha has once again brought her modern yet timeless classical perspective into the spotlight. With her signature haunting vocals, Natasha’s stunning voice transports you to another world. Opening with a beautiful, meandering piano line and gently building with the elegant orchestral arrangement, Natasha’s classically inspired take on Annie Lennox’s Lord of the Rings theme song takes you back to the magic of Middle-Earth.”
Follow Natasha @natashahardymusic
Into The West - Natasha Hardy (From 'Lord Of The Rings' by Annie Lennox)
Hi Natasha, please tell us a little about you?
Hi there! I am a classical crossover singer and songwriter from London, England. I trained in both classical and contemporary traditions, before pursing my career as a solo artist. My music has cinematic, operatic, ambient and Celtic influences.
My debut album, ‘Lost In Love’, was nominated for ‘Best Vocal Album’ by One World Music Radio, ‘In Too Deep’ received ‘Upload of the Day’ on BBC Radio Oxford, won ‘Song of the Week’ award on Spirit Radio Ireland, and ‘Strong’ placed as the closing theme for Feature Film Viking Destiny starring Terence Stamp.
My single, Bright Eyes, reached Number 4 in the iTunes Classical Charts on its release. Previous radio support includes BBC Radio, Spirit Radio, Calon FM, Women’s Radio Station, Christian Radio among others.
I also paint and have two toy poodles, Pippa and Pearl and love going for walks in the countryside!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Ooh, I would describe myself as… Artistic , Multifaceted , Caring
We’re sure you have been asked this a million times but how did you get in the industry?
I didn’t intend on becoming a singer I actually wanted to be an actress, but I decided to add singing lessons to add a feather to my bow so to speak and I just fell in love with singing and the rest is history as they say!
I trained classically with my singing teacher, who was also a professional opera singer; from my first lesson, singing sparked something inside of me that acting didn’t meet, and I was hooked. As I didn’t start singing until my early twenties, I didn’t go through the traditional route of a conservatoire education, I went about it the hard way by working full time and paying privately. It’s been long hard journey to get where I am vocally, but it was definitely worth it! I started performing professionally about 10 years ago when I started writing and producing my own dance music, following that I started my own music businesses performing 50’s music and singing classically at private events, weddings etc. After a few years of gigging around the country, I found that what I yearned for was to create my own classically inspired music and the idea of writing my own album started to form.
How has this changed your life?
When you start chasing your dreams, you have to overcome obstacles that you would never have foreseen!
Little did I know how much I needed to shift my perspective when I started to pursue my dream career in the music industry! I had to forgo a lot of the artistic side of things to become more business minded.
At the end of the day, the music industry is a business and unless you understand that, it’s difficult as an independent artist to get your art out to the public.
In other ways, it has changed my life as it has made me more patient and understanding because when you’re creating the art, you are very single minded, but to bring your creation into fruition you have to work with a team of people and that is a journey of beauty all on its own!
Describe your sound in 3 words?
This is a difficult one! I’ll use three words that often get mentioned by my listeners… Haunting, Ethereal and Timeless!
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
My influences are wide and varied! I was bought up listening to Doris Day, Harry Belafonte and Simon & Garfunkel, which I think is where my love of pure melody comes from. I love world music and film scores, so I am really drawn toward wide orchestral arrangements with ambient qualities so composers like Hans Zimmer, Gabriel Yared and Howard Shore are probably what influence my soundscapes. With regard to voices, I love the power and ethereal qualities of Amy Lee from Evanescence and Sarah MacLauchlan and when I started studying opera I fell in love with Renee Fleming and Angela Gheorghiu’s voices.
I think I choose to make music because I am an artist, I am painting sound onto silence, it feels very natural; like an extension of my soul.
Do you play any instrument?
Yes, my voice! A lot of people forget that the voice is an instrument! I work really hard at keeping my voice in top form. I am not a natural singer, as in I don’t roll out of bed and sing like a nightingale (although I do know some people who are like that) I have had to work really hard to get my voice to where it is now. To ensure my voice is in top form, I also have to look after my body so it’s performing at its best!
I also play a little piano although I would not consider myself good enough to play in public!
Do you ever get nervous?
All the time! I think it’s only natural but no one would ever know as I have a great poker face!
Tell us about your new single “Into The West?”
I felt inspired to cover ‘Into The West’ after polling my fans for songs to cover, it was one of the most requested songs which turned out pretty fortuitous for me, as it is one of my favourite songs from the Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy. The recording of this song started during lockdown with pianist, Stefano Marzanni, recording and arranging the beautiful, meandering piano line. I went on to record my own vocals in my home studio then enlisted my wonderful producer, Tom E Morrison, to begin arranging all of the additional orchestration. To complete the track in early 2022, we were joined by the lovely Emma Arizza who brought out the sparkle with her wonderful violin performance.
What’s the story behind the song?
Into the West’ was one of the most highly requested songs for me to cover from my amazing musical family. It is not only one of my all-time favourite songs (if you didn’t know?! it is the end-credit song of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King!), it also has the Enya-esque qualities that I find so inspirational, from the production to its wistful storytelling lyrics, the listener can interpret the song however they see fit.
To me, ‘Into The West’ is a song about a hope. As one door closes, another one opens, as you are near the end of this journey, you realise another new exciting unknown adventure is about to begin.
How was working with pianist Stefano Marzanni on the single?
It’s always a pleasure to work with Stefano, he has such a great aura about him! He is such an amazing pianist that however good I think my idea is, he always manages to excel and make it even more interesting than I could have imagined. He is a really good translator of my emotions through the piano.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
When a project comes to completion and I get to hear people’s reactions to my creations!
What book should every entrepreneur read?
“Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” – Susan Jeffers The book is designed to help readers realise that our fears are normal and gives techniques how to overcome them. After reading it, it reminded me of a famous Japanese proverb: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
What would you say are the greatest lessons you have learned so far?
Time really is the greatest healer and that self-belief is more important than support.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Don’t worry about what other people think of you; stay focused on achieving your dreams!
How would your best friend describe you?
A deep thinking, caring, complex, poodle lover.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
We always have a choice as to whether we want to dwell on the past or to grow and blossom.
What’s next for Natasha Hardy in 2022?
In 2022, I have a few surprises in store! I will be adding to the collection of cover songs I have been releasing to form an album of classic cover songs, I have started to write original songs for the follow up album to ‘Lost in Love’ and I am working with a new producer on some music for film!
What is your favourite healthy food?
For breakfast, I would go for a banana with goats’ yoghurt, some ground linseeds and Manuka honey! Then, for dinner some grilled salmon and steamed broccoli!
I think I could live on these two meals alone for the rest of my life, that’s how much I love them!
And your favourite cheat food?
How would you explain your fashion style?
Very simple! I mainly spend my week days in workout clothes and weekends in jeans and a t-shirt! My fashion style is very boring but it counteracts the need to run around in a forest in a ballgown like in my music videos! In another life, I feel like I could be an eccentric old lady that eats breakfast in a ballgown!
What is your own definition of happiness?
Finding pleasure in the simple things in life. Taking the dogs for a walk, breakfast in bed, spending time with loved ones, smelling flowers as you walk past them, watching the changing sky from a window. All of these make me feel happy!
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Michael A Levine. He is an amazing film composer and violinist. I wrote the lyrics to his beautiful music on Crossing the Highway (from my album Lost In Love). Although we have worked together we still haven’t met in real life yet!
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
Horseback riding in Vermont, alone or the Isles of Scilly with my husband and two poodles.
However, the real dream would be to go to Jamaica with my Dad, he spent his early 20s there and I wish that before he passed away, I could have gone back there with him so he could have shown me his life there!
Best advice ever given?
Visualise your dreams.
Do you support any charity?
Yes, I support a few! To name a couple, I support the ‘PDSA’ which is an English charity that cares for all types of domestic animals. They are dedicated to improving pet wellbeing by educating owners, preventing disease and carrying out life-saving operations. I also support ‘The Brooke’ that support over 1.6 million working horses, donkeys and mules across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. They protect and improve the lives of horses, donkeys and mules which give people in the developing world the opportunity to work their way out of poverty.
As you may be able to tell, I’m a huge animal lover!
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I hope to complete another album, to be able to do a world tour and to continue my journey in collaborating in film and TV music!
Favourite song? Why?
This is a very difficult question for a musician in particular, I just can’t choose 1!
Firstly, I would have to mention ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’ by Boney M, it’s the first song I remember! I remember holding my dad’s hands and standing on his feet while we’d dance together!
I also have to mention ‘Cowboys and Angels’ by George Michael. The emotion, it’s structure and how it tells a story is why I love it so much! I think it’s an underrated song of his which is pure art!
Finally, I have to mention ‘Drifting Away’ by Faithless, they were very famous for the dance song ‘Insomnia’ but this particular song is what first introduced me to opera and I fell in love with it. It started my journey in music!
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is a double-edged sword! Sometimes I love it and sometimes I …don’t!!
It can be all consuming but at the same time it gives independent artists an opportunity to reach fans like never before. However, it is also a shame that I spend so much time on social media for work, that I don’t get to enjoy it as a user anymore.
Where we can follow you?
You can follow me on any of the following platforms!
Spotify / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube
Book: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Quote: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift”
Movie: Lord of The Rings, if you couldn’t already guess after the release of my cover of ‘Into The West’!
TV Series: House
Favourite Food: Pizza, of course!
Favourite Travel Destination: So Far… Mauritius
Sports Team: Although I do love sports and exercise, I wouldn’t say I support a particular team. My husband supports Arsenal so I should probably mention them! However, I do love watching all kinds of sports, if Wimbledon is on I’ll be supporting Andy Murray, or if the Euros are on, I’ll be supporting England!