You’re probably aware of the outpour of roots-revival singer-songwriters coming from the musical mecca that is Nashville. Although singer-songwriter Natalie Royal hails from the very same Nashville, she’s not one to blend in with the crowd. Her 2016 album Harbinger showcases her talents as a heartfelt lyricist and a musician not afraid to pull elements of funk, jazz, and soul into her warm yet forlorn backdrop of folk.
“One of the biggest compliments I can receive is when a listener has a bit of difficulty fully defining my genre,” says Royal, citing influences for the new record as far apart as Feist and D’Angelo.
A constant throughout her music is the stripped-down honesty of her voice, sweet but solemn, like if the boot-tapping side to bluegrass was switched out with staring at the moon, trying to decipher what it means to feel loss.
Harbinger, while in part about the passing of Royal’s father, still fulfills the album name’s definition in positing that there is something hopeful beginning to show on the horizon. “I didn’t want the entire album to be about losing my dad,” says Royal. “I wrote about life after loss… I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because that’s life, you know?”
Royal will perform with The Very Hypnotic Soul Band at Redux Contemporary Art Center tonight at 8 p.m.