Interview: Music Presenter Natalie Nicole

Nataly‘s Corner is the YouTube channel of Natalie Nicole where she presents her favorite music with a focus on chillout, lounge, and smooth jazz music. We meet Natalie to talk about her passion for these genres.

Natalie, please tell us something about your background, your musical roots: How did you discover chillout, lounge, and smooth jazz as your preferred music genres?

Chillout Music Influencer Natalie NicoleNatalie: I come from a very diverse mixed background of African-American, Italian, and Creole ancestry. My parents were not musicians but they had a huge music library of 45s, LPs, cassettes, and yes … even some old 8-tracks … spanning from the ’60s to the ’80s. I was introduced by them to different music genres, more specifically the old school sounds of the ’70s, classic rock, and jazz & blues during my pre-teen days. My parents not only groomed me on the music they listened to but they also taught me the history of the music and its artists behind it. My mom is my personal “music guru”. I learned a lot from her about lyrics and various sounds used in music. I rely on her feedback sometimes for the selection of music I’d like to have on my channel.

I discovered smooth jazz long before I was introduced to chillout and lounge. After the late ’90s, I was going through personal struggles in my young adult years. One day, I was listening to music on the car radio and it was the most beautiful track I had ever heard. The music and the lyrics were reflective and made me just feel, listening to it brought the inner peace I needed at the time. I called the radio station to get the name of the singer. The song was “Heaven”, the vocalist was Helen Rogers, and the name of the CD was “The Jazzmasters”. Later on, I found out Paul Hardcastle was the music producer of “The Jazzmasters”.

While everyone else my age was listening to hip hop, I was listening to Hardcastle’s music and have been addicted to it ever since. Though I like the music produced by various smooth contemporary jazz artists, I give responsibility to Hardcastle’s music for helping me make some positive changes in my life so I have more of his music on my channel.

I had developed a taste for smooth and contemporary jazz so much that I hadn’t given chillout music the attention it deserved until I listened to Paul Hardcastle’s “Chill Lounge Volume 1”. But it was after listening to some of “Café Del Mar” volumes that I really got into it and wanted to hear more. My taste for it has grown within the last few years upon listening to the music produced by artists like Schwarz & Funk, Michael E., Roberto Sol, Jean Mare, Marga Sol, Marc Hartman, Blank and Jones, and Enrico Donner, to name a few.

For us as chillout music producers there are many creative decisions to take. We spend days and weeks in the studio to craft sounds and grooves with a special atmosphere. It’s all about catching these soulful vibes! Which ingredients make a chillout tune for you exceptional? How do you select instrumental music presented on your YouTube channel?

Natalie: There is no special select process for the type of music I place on my channel. It’s just really whatever makes me feel or moves me, as you stated, what gives that “soulful vibe”. I’m not into the atmospheric “space-like” or dramatic sounds sometimes found in a chillout track.

I prefer a chillout tune that has up-tempo grooves, or soft rhythmic beats and/or sensual vibes to it. I like chillout mixes that give an urban jazzy chill flavor … such as what I hear in your Urban Phunk Society compilations. I also like hearing instrumental jazz tracks that include sax music. I think the saxophone produces some of the smoothest and most sensual pieces of music. But based on the number of views and positive feedback, it’s actually the chillout music that my subscribers and viewers prefer to hear on “Nataly’s Corner”.

What are your main sources to find new instrumental music?

Natalie: I use several resources but I do not have a main source. I utilize the same sources as anyone else who is into music, such as listening to Internet radio and I follow the music charts to keep up to date on what’s out there. Believe it or not, I rely on YouTube as a source quite a lot. I also network on social media, specifically on Facebook, with others who have a common interest in the type of music I like. Facebook has many established music group pages in which music is shared and many artists, including chillout music producers and DJs, will promote their music through Facebook.

You are a devoted fan of Paul Hardcastle, who shot to fame with his remarkable anti-war electronic tune “19” in 1985, and who belongs to the top-ranking smooth jazz producers today. What do you think is his secret of success?

Natalie: Paul Hardcastle is such a phenomenal music producer and creative composer. Though he accepts and appreciates recognition as being one of the top “smooth jazz” producers, Paul, himself, will tell you that he does not consider his music to be smooth jazz but more towards electronica and dance. He just has a knack for producing the kind of music that can be defined in several subgenres of jazz and chillout styles that people want to hear.

Natalie on Chameleonic Producer Paul Hardcastle

Paul had already touched upon electronic and house beat music long before he became known as the “Jazzmaster”. This is evident when you listen to some of his earlier work from the 1980s. Whether it’s the fast tempo beat of “Rainforest”, the electro-tech ballad of “19”, the smooth sounds of his “Jazzmasters”, or the sensual beats in his “Chill Lounge” volumes, you’re just drawn to his music within seconds of hearing it. His music has been, and continues to be, attractive to various age groups. He is not a “complacent” composer, meaning that he always has a hunger for different sounds to shake things up a bit. Hence, his creativeness on remixing. Paul is also a smart business man, as well as composer. He understands that the worldwide popularity of his music began with the “Jazzmasters” and he capitalizes on that.

Music listeners that started out with Paul in the ’80s have remained with him over the years because he keeps them satisfied with fresh, although similar, sounds produced in his earlier days. He and his fans have mutual loyalty for each other. As he grows with his music so have we! With the release of his “Chill Lounge” volumes and the new material on his PH signature albums, Paul has now managed to capture a new generation of music listeners. I know that Paul is currently working on the next PH project, titled “Paul Hardcastle 8“. Several of my channel subscribers and others that I connect with are waiting anxiously for its release.

Do you have some more music recommendations for our readers? Who are the most exciting newcomers of the chillout and lounge music scene?

Natalie: There are many chill music artists whose music I haven’t been introduced to yet. I don’t have the kind of “pipeline” to know who the newcomers are out there unless someone brings them to my attention. But I do know that there are more male, than female, DJs and music producers in the chillout music community. As an advocate for women in music, I would like to see more female musicians and singers get into the chillout and lounge genre.

This year “Nataly‘s Corner” celebrates its decennial. Reading the comments on your YouTube channel it seems there is a strong relationship between you and your followers. How important is the enthused feedback of the YouTube community for you?

Natalie: I got the incentive to create my own YouTube channel from an extremely talented individual who uses the YouTube channel name “Essence of Jazz“. His choice of music and the videos he puts together is top quality, in my opinion. We both like the same kind of music and he mentored me with the video-making process.

YouTube, like any other social media site, can be a very powerful resource for artists, especially independent artists, who don’t always get the mainstream exposure they need to push their music out there, or who don’t have record management working on their behalf. I have established a good report with many of the artists whose music is on my channel because I reach out to them before I post a video with their music. This is what I want Nataly’s Corner to be: A channel with music that viewers will enjoy listening to and who will also help to support the independent artists, by purchasing and sharing the music with others.

This is how my subscribers are helpful to the channel and I like having the opportunity to meet people from varied backgrounds and geographic locations who have that commonality in music with me. Their feedback is important, not just for me, but for the artist’s whose music I’m showcasing on the channel. I do try to respond to those who leave comments on the videos. I may not be timely in the delivery of my responses but they do receive a “thank you” from me, on behalf of the artists, for visiting the channel and listening to the music. I figure if they can take the time to view the videos I post then I should show my gratitude and introduce myself to them. It’s just common courtesy.

Thank you Natalie for the interview and also for presenting our music with your beautiful videos!

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