2013 has been the biggest year yet for undergraduate Pop student Natalie Holmes, performing as a support act for Gabrielle Aplin, hearing her original songs on television, and releasing two EPs. We had a quick chat with her to see what else she has planned before Christmas.
It’d probably be fair to take a break when you reach one million hits on YouTube, 3,500 Facebook likes and number five in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart.
A comfy nook indeed – and third year Pop student Natalie Holmes found herself there in January 2013. But as she reflects, it was just the start of her busiest year yet, and one that has culminated in her supporting Gabrielle Aplin.
Since her debut EP The Simplest Things was released in January, she’s seen her songs featured on E4’s Made In Chelsea, American ice cream advertisements, and garner attention from BBC Introducing to LA-based celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. On top of that, she’s written, recorded and released her second EP, Child, in August, which reached #8 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart and #141 in the main iTunes chart.
Any energy to spare Natalie? “It’s almost like I’ve had a new wave of motivation with my music,” she explains. “I’ve always been musical, and I’ve always known it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so now I’m doing everything I physically can to make this happen.”
Unmanaged and unsigned, Natalie has achieved everything on her own steam. Her drive and independence comes out in her music, which channels her “beautifully honest, level-headed pop-folk tunes”, alongside lyrics gently articulating the struggles of growing older.
“I definitely feel like I’ve grown up a lot since the last EP, with all the gigging and experiences I’ve had in the last year,” she says.
Her listeners agree – many commenting that her second EP has a stronger edge of maturity, which has transformed her music into something new and unexpected.
Natalie started writing songs from a young age; first on piano, (which she’s been playing “since before I can remember”) and then guitar, which she picked up and taught herself. Years later, in her own words, she’s “fully-fledged and out of the nest, just trying to find the best places to fly”.
Her recent slot supporting Gabrielle Aplin, alongside third year Production student David Orton, certainly seems to be a point of lift off.
“It was an incredible experience. I wasn't expecting the O2 Academy to actually be packed from 7:15pm when I was on, but it was and I couldn't believe it! I was so excited I don't actually think I got nervous at all once on stage, which was unexpected.
“But the set went really well and the audience was more attentive and interactive than I could've hoped for! Overall this has just been a great month and I'm really excited for what comes next.”
And as others began winding down for the year, Natalie performed her second headline show at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds, on Friday 6 December – a show that warmed the chill and made those Christmas lights twinkle all the more.
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