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Music Interview

Natalia Kills

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Natalia Kills
Remember the days before Facebook when Myspace was all the rage? Chances are you may have come across Natalia Kills, who under the equally-curious guise of Verbalicious became an online sensation - even managing to threaten the top ten with one-off hit 'Don't Play Nice' back in 2005. Post-FB she relocated to Hollywood and caught the attention of will.i.am, whom she worked with on her soon-to-be-released debut album Perfectionist. Curious to find out more, we called her up to quiz her about said LP and her rocky journey to fame.

You're gearing up to release your debut album Perfectionist in the UK, are you nervous?
"I'm excited! My album just came out in Germany and it seems to be doing really well over there - it's great that the UK will finally get to hear it."

You wrote your first song when you were 14, does success feel like it's been a long time in the making?
"I don't think it has - how long does it take you to do anything that's beyond natural? It's one of those things - if you're a naturally creative person you can't put a time limit on things. I'm 25-years-old - I think I've managed to get to this stage pretty quickly!"

How would you describe your sound?
"A lot of people have described my music as dark pop, which I can understand as the lyrics are depressive and more confrontational than a lot of mainstream music has been recently. It's however you think it should be described, I guess. I suppose I have a certain style that I like, but it's subconscious. My new single 'Mirrors' I'd describe as the [Eurythmics'] 'Sweet Dreams' for 2011."

Were you in a dark place when writing songs for this album then?
"I don't really know what a dark place means. I have windows in my house and I'm generally an upbeat person! A lot of people throw that word at me because I wear a lot of black and leather."

You were discovered by will.i.am - how did it happen?
"I had been writing songs for other people for a while and I made a demo and I put it on my Myspace, which Perez Hilton found and blogged about on his site. Suddenly it had two million plays, so I got on a plane to LA and was introduced to a DJ who had a friend who turned out to be will.i.am. I couldn't believe it! Before that I wrote songs for movies."

You've also worked with Fernando Garibay (Lady GaGa, Britney Spears) and Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West) on the album. Were you nervous at the time?
"No! The entire value of a person is subjective to your relationship with them. For me, I see it as a producer needs an artist to work with, and an artist can work with anybody. It's a privilege on both ends. I bring just as much to the table regardless of how new I am as an artist - that's irrelevant. The only important thing is that we value creativity and have chemistry."

Natalia Kills 'Mirrors'
What else can we expect from the record?
"It's definitely a concept album: all the songs revolve around my ambition, celebrations, frustration and disappointments of being a perfectionist. I think we're all perfectionists - we're all looking for the best to fulfil our ideologies and dreams. 'Break You Hard' and 'Nothing Lasts Forever' are two of my favourites on it, but I suppose they all are really! It's hard to pick out songs when you've committed so much to each one."

Your sound and style has been compared to Lady GaGa - does that worry you?
"People keep using that word 'worry' and it reminds of when I used to live in the UK - they seem to worry about a lot of things! I live a very worry-free life. What's the worst thing you can think of? You might get in an accident and die, but once you're dead, you can't worry about it then, can you?!"

Christina Aguilera was often compared to GaGa during her last album...
"I think it's irrelevant and stupid. They both have tits, blonde hair and a microphone - I don't see why people should worry about it. I don't think Christina's unpopularity or lack of fortune recently is to do with the being compared to GaGa. I think that she was at certain level and disappeared, and then came back and tried to fit in with the current trend and it came off desperate. I think if she stuck to her soulful, pop-meets-gospel R&B, maybe her original fanbase would have supported her more. She'll recover from it, though, because she's talented."

Do you think it's harder now for female artists to gain recognition since Lady GaGa's success?
"If people like your music and it's good, then what does it matter? Who gives a f**k? If people like the music, it will survive. GaGa is the most popular artist at the moment, but we don't know what's going to happen in the next three years. I've been making music since I was 14, before the likes of Christina and GaGa's music careers even existed. If people go into music with the idea of competing with other artists, then they're doing it for all the wrong reasons."

You're originally from Bradford but are now based in the US. Are people surprised by your roots?
"I don't know actually! No-one has reacted strongly to it. In LA they think everyone in England talks like the Queen, and when you say you live 200 miles away from her it means nothing to them, because you can travel that far here and people have the same accents and culture."

We heard rumours that the album will have a different track listing for the UK. Is that true?
"I'll probably add a couple of new songs for the UK release. The problem is once the album is out there it leaks all over the internet and people will have heard it and it'll be old news. It'll be nice to have some surprises on there to keep it interesting!"

Have you decided on the next single yet?
"'Mirrors' is just a buzz track for the UK as far as I'm aware, but different things are going on in each country so it's hard to keep up! I know 'Wonderland' will be a proper single in the UK next."

What can we expect from your live shows?
"I'm coming to the UK in May and I have loads going on. I've already performed there a couple of times last year. When I was a little girl I always wanted to be in a bad bitch girl gang and I wanted to make that apparent in my live show. If I tell you any more then I'll have to kill you!"

'Mirrors' is available to download on April 24. Her album Perfectionist follows later this year.

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