What do you do when your inner voice whispers to you at a young age and tells you that you are meant to be a musician and entertain? Some would ignore those whispers and just be a kid but not Natalie Stovall. Young Natalie heard those whispers loud and clear and followed her destiny to become Country music’s next big singing sensation. SayWhatNews had the pleasure speaking with Natalie all about her rising star and how she continues to work on her childhood dream to be an entertainer:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Natalie. I want to thank you for taking the time speaking with SayWhatNews. In three words tell us who is Natalie Stovall?
Natalie: Peace. Love. Fiddle.
SayWhatNews: Natalie you started playing the violin at the tender age of 4. Tell us how a 4 year old became interested in playing the violin?
Natalie: My Granny saw an article in the local newspaper that said a “violin teacher” was coming to town. She asked me if I wanted to play. It sounded like fun to me… the rest is history.
SayWhatNews: So, when did you realize you had the gift of song and wanted to become an entertainer?
Natalie: I don’t remember not knowing! I’ve known I wanted to be an entertainer my whole life. I started acting at age 3, playing the fiddle at age 4… I don’t remember life before music.
SayWhatNews: That is so amazing to me how someone so young just knows what they are destined to be. Now, at age 10, you played your first gig at the Opryland Kid’s Club Show. Did you have to audition?
Natalie: YES! I auditioned with my fiddle. I played the “Orange Blossom Special”. When I finished, the judges said, “That’s great honey, but you have to sing in this show. Can you sing something for us?” So I sang “Happy Birthday” and got the job. I’ve been singing ever since!
SayWhatNews: Tell us how did it feel being just 10 year’s old and performing in front a crowd of people?
Natalie: Like heaven. At 10 years old I was already living my dreams. I used to tell myself during the shows “Never forget this feeling. Make it last as long as you can.”
SayWhatNews: Now that was some great advice you gave yourself at a young age. Speaking of singing, your vocals are amazing, have you ever taken any singing lessons?
Natalie: Awww. Thank you! I have. I started taking lessons a year after I got the job at Opryland. But until college I mostly worked on repertoire. So when I got to college it became increasingly important to me to focus on technique. That’s the main reason I wanted to go to Berklee. (Berklee College of Music in Boston) I graduated with a degree in vocal performance.
SayWhatNews: Natalie your first album “Late Night Conversations” had a huge radio success plus your song, “If I Run To You Now” was featured in the movie National Lampoon: Bag Boy. Tell us how you felt when you learned of all the success your music was having?
Natalie: As an independent artist, you celebrate every tiny little accomplishment. From the first time you sell more than 10 cds at one show, to your first sold out crowd, to buying your first van and trailer, every step matters. So watching a song I wrote climb the charts……ELATED. The first time I heard it on the radio I was on the road in St Louis and so I got to hear it with my band. That was an amazing feeling.
SayWhatNews: On your second album “Standing My Ground” your song “Standing My Ground” is powerful and can be considered an anthem for empowerment and never giving up. What was the inspiration for this song?
Natalie: It’s my theme song! My band and I know we are running a marathon, not a sprint. There’s no man behind the scenes cutting big checks or a big label getting my music out there. It’s all about perseverance and getting one fan at a time. So “Standing My Ground” was a bit of a no-brainer to write.
SayWhatNews: Also on the album you did a cover of Charlie Daniels song “Devil Went Down To Georgia” and have received great reviews for the way you rocked out the violin and made the song your own. Why did you decide to remake this song?
Natalie: Since I put my very first band together – that song has been my closer for every show. As a fiddle player and a country music singer… well, it just makes sense. And over time, I have played the song so much that it has started to feel like one of my songs. An adopted song, if you will. I love playing it and what it does to the crowd!
SayWhatNews: Natalie, your sound is a blend of country and pop. Has anyone ever told you that your sound is like Shania Twain but with an edgier sound?
Natalie: I have heard that before! And I thank you for that. I love Shania and she has been a huge influence on me.
SayWhatNews: Your talents have amazed and entertained many such as Oprah Winfrey. Tells us about the moment you learned Oprah wanted you on her show.
Natalie: I had just pulled into my driveway from school, and my parents were both standing in the front yard. (So I immediately knew something was up) As I got out of the car, there was a bit of an awkward moment and Mamma looked at Daddy and said, “Well, aren’t you going to tell her!?!?” Daddy said, “There’s a message on the answering machine I think you should go listen to.” It was the producers of Oprah asking me to be on the show!
SayWhatNews: Natalie you became the first female to perform at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner for President George Bush. How did that opportunity come to be and what was that experience like?
Natalie: Surreal. The whole experience was like a dream. From walking the red carpet and being asked to wish “Hard Ball” a Happy 10 Year Anniversary on camera to standing backstage with the President and First Lady before I went out to sing. I walked up to the podium looked out into an audience of all-stars. I could see Larry David and Larry King sitting next to each other, it was surreal. It was just a microphone and me. When I got done, the President said me “You nailed it!” Best review I ever received!
I have a fun story about The President and the First Lady. I had met both of them at the party before, but right before the Dinner began everyone was ushered out of the room except for the President, First Lady, Secret Service, and me. We were getting ready to take a photo and Laura grabbed my arm and said, “Georgie, Natalie is going to sing “The National Anthem.” The President said “No she’s not. She’s singing “America the Beautiful.” We paused and took the photo while I pondered whether or not to correct them. So I put my hand on my chest and said “Actually, it’s God Bless America” Everyone erupted into laughter. Whew!
SayWhatNews: (Laughing) That was a good story. Hmmm, so she calls President Bush, Georgie. Very interesting. Please take us back to the moments when you swept the awards at the APCA National Conference and won: “Best Band”, Best Entertainer”, “Best Female Performer” and “Best Music” categories with Campus Activities Magazine.
Natalie: It’s always an amazing feeling to be recognized for something that you are working very hard at. It definitely makes me feel like I am doing something right!
SayWhatNews: Yes you are…… Natalie you are always on the road touring from city to city. Why is so important to you to tour all over from campuses to major venues?
Natalie: Everyone has their own path. In the country world (at least these days) going on the road and touring the way we do isn’t the most typical route. But it sure is the right one for me. I’m already living my dream – making my living playing music. And I love watching that grow as the shows keep getting bigger and better.
SayWhatNews: Your band was just recently snowed in Ohio. Have you ever had a bad experience being on the road that made you rethink things?
Natalie: We have had many challenges and tests along the way, especially when we first got started. I bought my first Suburban and trailer to start touring and was so proud. But that first vehicle seemed to break down at every turn. Leaving us stranded and constantly trying to pull together enough cash to get it fixed to head on to the next venue. When it finally bit the dust, we were somehow able to scrape the money together for a newer Suburban.
But 3 months after we got the newer, sturdier, shinier ‘Burb‘, we got hit head on by a semi on the interstate. The vehicle was totaled, but miraculously we were all ok. Walking away from that accident gave a whole new perspective on things. I knew that there was a lot of sacrifice involved in chasing your dreams, but Good Lord! We had to cancel a bunch of shows, but ultimately it made us all stronger.
Even with all the challenges, I’ve never had a doubt in my mind that this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I wrote “Whatever It Takes” the week after the accident about that whole experience, and now it’s on my new record. Crazy.
SayWhatNews: Wow, that was crazy. Thank goodness everyone was ok and you did not allow the set back in transportation stop you from sharing your music on the road. Ok, the hot thing right now is artist that you would never think to put together, collaborating together. Is there anyone you would love to cross over genres and collaborate with and why?
Natalie: Ooo… That’s a fun one! I would love to collaborate with Steven Tyler and Aerosmith or Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Those are two of my favorite bands and getting to collaborate with a legend like Tom Petty? Oh my goodness. That would be amazing.
SayWhatNews: Oh yes, that would be a real good and very interesting collaboration. Now Natalie, your schedule is so hectic with touring. In your spare time what do you like to do to unwind?
Natalie: Spare time seems really hard to come by these days. And when I’m on the road it gets hard to be away from family and friends all the time. We all try to spend as much time with friends and family while we are home. Just getting to go have coffee or go to a movie with my girlfriends feels like it rejuvenates me. We have even started trying to throw parties and get-togethers every time we are home just to get to see everyone!
SayWhatNews: What’s next for Natalie Stovall?
Natalie: More music. More shows. Big things.
Natalie Stovall Website