“Ameri-kinda.” That’s how Natalie Price describes her music, a combination of catchy melodies and smooth, clear vocals that fit firmly into the Americana genre, with a quirkiness weaved into her lyrics that bends toward indie-folk.
On the fittingly self-titled Natalie Price, she explores complex emotions and experiences through relatable, confessional tales in the singularly authentic manner that has garnered her
recognition around Austin as one of the city’s most up-and-coming singer-songwriters.
“Natalie has the distinct ability to blend lyrics of depth and feeling with absolute ear-worms of melody,” says Ben Jones of Beet Root Revival, one of Price’s many supporters, “There are always little nuggets of wisdom.”
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Price’s early exposure to music was mainly church gospel tunes and contemporary Christian radio. Looking back, she describes her writing as a reaction to the shiny, glossy, Christian culture songs she was surrounded by; “Christian music tends to get tied up with a perfect bow at the end,” she says, “But that’s not how life actually is. Not everything gets
When Price moved to Austin, she found a community of musicians and songwriters who showed her that playing music could actually be a real profession. “I always had the drive to play music,” says Price, “but my family never really understood what I would do with that. So I initially had a hard time wrapping my head around it too.”
Price took a full-time job at a mortgage company to finance her music career, and then two other jobs on top of that to make ends meet. “Whatever it takes,” she thought, “I’m going to make it happen. It was a moment of faith. One year I didn’t make it home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. That was when my family finally realized how important this was to me, and ever
since then, they’ve been supportive.”
Price names Muse, First Aid Kit, Pedro the Lion and David Ramirez among her influences, which makes sense when you hear her Indie-Americana style – as she playfully calls it, “Ameri-kinda.”
She felt lucky to fall into a welcoming community of songwriters and musicians in Austin. Just a few years after moving to the Live Music Capital, Price found herself in a well-respected
songwriting group called Soulwriters, run by Ray Prim. It was there that she found her people, and began to find her way as an artist.
Price’s self-titled full-length debut is full of gems. The opening track, “Done” reflects on the end of a relationship, but it also tells a story about struggling with the assumptions people make about a person of faith. Price sings, “And you think that I’m a robot programmed from my youth, that I don’t make my choices or consider other views / But the truth is that I got a little drunk last night and lost all of my clothes…” “I’ve gotten comfortable writing about the darker side of life,” says Price. “I don’t think every story needs to be tied up with a perfect bow.”
Another standout track, “The Island,” was composed on the Kalimba, and the recording is a knockout because it’s primarily just vocals and kalimba, which gives it a stark, dreamy vibe. “I was writing on a deadline while I was traveling,” says Price. “I wasn’t able to bring a guitar with me, so I had to find a smaller instrument that would fit in my luggage. I was determined to get a
song written, so I borrowed a kalimba from a friend and worked on learning some chords. A lot of the inspiration for the song came from the instrument’s dreamy, lullaby sound.”
The opening line to “All We Need,” a strong song featuring Jaimee Harris on background vocals, draws you in immediately. “Some days you never know what hits you in the face / Was it love, was it allergies, or falling out of grace?” The song goes on to explore the divisions we feel in the current cultural climate, and how that flame is fanned by disinformation. “Some days you think
you’ve heard the truth instead of lies / and then the light shines through the darkness and fiction’s all you find.”
Price says, “I was troubled by how heated and hateful everyone was, folks were cutting off relationships with people who disagreed with them. I grew up in a big family and you have to
figure out how to get along with people to survive, and part of that is listening, understanding the folks around you and their needs. I was trying to illustrate the idea that we are all deeply human
and flawed and ultimately looking for the same things.” “Everybody wrestles with their demons, everybody’s fighting to find freedom / everybody needs an absolution, everybody wants something
that moves them / All we need is love.”
The majority of the record was written during the height of the pandemic, with Price cooped up in her room. Another idea she conceived of during that time was a nightly online talk show. “I needed a distraction, and I knew that a lot of people were just doomscrolling like I was, watching the covid numbers go up. I wanted to find a way to bring people together, so I invited guests on to talk about the things that we love, like music.” More and more people tuned in each night, and the show became a comfort to many of its viewers.
The record was produced by Mary Bragg in Nashville, TN. Price describes the recording process as a relaxed experience, with fresh biscuits and jam every morning, and all the permission she needed to feel emotionally open. “I was able to be honest with Mary about my fears about making the record, which was really helpful,” she says. “There were songs that I had to re-work
while we were in the studio, and I was able to go to an emotional place in order to do that work.”
Bragg says, “The first time I heard Natalie play ‘The Island’, I was struck by her resonant voice; she had a way of approaching melody that was wildly original and quirky. It was an incredibly
life-giving challenge to serve her songs as they were born into the recorded world. Raucous yet crystalline; honest yet philosophical; optimistic yet heartbreaking. What else can you ask for?”