Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HHR Exclusive: Interview with UK-born singer “Nathan Official”

by Angela Severiano

United Kingdom-born singer Nathan Official was the early collaborator with Rick Ross on his 2006 hit single “Cold As Ice.” Now, the UMA Award-winner is at work on furthering his brand with a new collection of songs set to be released January 2010.

With a childhood divided between England, Jamaica and New York, Nathan Official told about the distinctions between a hit in his genre in the UK versus the US. “I think the main ingredient for a hit in the UK is to have song that everyone can sing along to.”

With the success of international stars Estelle and M.I.A., Nathan was also candid about the outward movement right now on the US Pop/R&B charts. “I definitely think that timing is everything and there are a lot of factors that make right now feel like the perfect time for my project..I definitely think there is a lack of mainstream R&B males and there’s space for something fresh and new.”

Son of Reggae singer Lorna Gee, Nathan’s also told about his goals overall in the music industry. “My goal is to make R&B that is unique to me and also make authentic music. I call my music ‘International R&B’ because my influences are from all over the world in all different genres. Being from the UK, it’s ok to mix and merge sounds and genres. I believe my music makes a truly unique blend.”

Nathan Officials diverse performance experience has brought him all over the world, even Virgin in Japan. He’s been rapidly making his mark in the State’s as well headling with Ryan Leslie in NY, LA and DC. While performing at BB KIngs in NYC, HipHopRepublican asked Nathan a few questions.

Tell me about yourself…where are you from…where were you born…where were you raised…which city and state are currently home to you?

I’m Nathan from the UK. I was born in London, moved to Jamaica when I was 2yrs, lived there to the age of 5yrs, then moved to NY (Brooklyn, Staten Island) then went back to Jamaica for a year at the age of 10, it was after that I moved bk to the UK permanently.

What type of a family did you grow up in?

I’m my mothers only child and she was touring when before I was born and when I was 2 yrs old she started to tour again so I lived with my grandmother for 3 years in Jamaica before moving to NY to live with my mother and then bk to the UK so its always been me and my mother…. When I got back to the UK I had a chance to see all my family Dad (10 half brothers and sisters) cousins etc… I’m a very family oriented person…

What do you like about the city and the state you currently live in?

I’m currently in Atlanta GA and its perfect for me because the music scene is booming and the producers really open to work with talented people… And the nightlife is buzzing and the girls are off the chain!!!!!!!!

Have you written any songs?

I write 90% of my songs

Are you considered a dancer, and what type of dance do you do?

I don’t consider myself a dancer even though other people do.. I do hip hop freestyle and also I definitely get it in with choreography in my videos.

What inspires you as an artist be it singing a song or writing a song?

When I’m writing a song, most of the time I’m inspired by the feeling I get when I here good music, like Michael Jackson- Human Nature or Marvin Gaye- Let’s get it on…

Have you ever been in love?

Yes I have

How does being in love or never having been in love influence you as a performing artist and as a songwriter?

Being in love affects different people in different ways.. For me any feeling that I’m living with for a long period of time seeps into my music… For me music is about feeling and love is the strongest feeling so its natural for me to show that in my songs

How old are you?


How does you age flavor or temper your style as a recording artist and as a songwriter?

Regardless of age, I always like to keep my music young and fresh while also referencing old skool lyrics, melodies or songs that Inspired me when I was growing

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?

I call my music International R’n'B because ALL of my musical infuences from ALL of my life experiences come through in my R’n'B from reggae to pop to techno to hip-hop etc

Are you successful abroad as well as in the United States, or is your success only a United States’ phenomena?

I’ve had success in the UK, most of Europe and Japan and now I wanna conquer the most influential market, The USA

If you are successful abroad as a musician how does this compare to being successful in the United States?

USA is the most influential market and it is also where all of the most successful artists in my genre are, so its important for me to be successful here.

Where have you performed?

Everywhere from a 50 capacity club deep in south london to the biggest record store in Japan (Tokyo Virgin Megastore)

What was your favorite venue?

Either one of my shows in Japan or perfoming in Bristol UK in front of 60,000 people.. Plus they were singing my songs too… That was kinda dope….. And ADDICTIVE!!

What was your least favorite venue?

Don’t have one…. I love the stage.. Hopefully I never have one

Which songs do you perform the most frequently and why?

“Come Into my Room”, “Do Without my Love” and my new single “Superwoman”… The first two are my most popular songs

Is there an overriding theme to most of the songs you write and/or sing(play)?

My theme is my life, my feelings and my stories…

Which label are you with now?


How has your music evolved since you became a musician?

In the begining I made music without knowing who I wanted to be musically… But now I’m finding myself more and can now define who and what I want to be musically and I can build on that as I grow and meet more musicians and producers

What has been your greatest challenge as a musician and as a songwriter?

To be different but familiar

What advice do you have for people who want to break into the music or the Recording Arts Industry?

Hard work and consistency pays off and…. To be different but familiar

How can your fans gain access to your music?

Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge for offering financial and/or emotional support to you in your career?

My Management Monalis360/VCM and My Family

Where do you see yourself in your career five years from now?

Sky’s the limit … To continue making good music

Angela Severiano is a songwriter, performer, and political contributor currently living in New York City, New York. She is a music and pop culture writer for the blog


Anonymous said...

Spoken like a real Pro!!! Love u nathan!! Cop the album

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