The Dancehall Sweetheart Holds Her Own in Kingston While Making Moves Worldwide
Natalie Storm will tell you that dancehall is an intensely competitive world, but the spicy lyricist wouldn’t have it any other way. And though she’s always played rough, she has never had to fight to stand out. Working with producers like Jamaica’s Ward21 and American wiz Dre Skull, Storm built a formidable reputation for verbal dexterity and forward-thinking musical versatility. She’s as likely to cut a downtempo reggae track as she is to jump on some crazy electro beats.
It’s a potent combination, even before you factor in her god-given hotttness, swag-laden wardrobe—and those lyrics. They’d make almost anyone blush and look at their shoes. (Anyone, we found out, except Natalie’s mom.)
Yes, among other things, in our interview with the diva, we asked her about her slackness. If you’re not sure what we mean, read on, you’ll get it. No one does it quite like her, so she stays in demand. We were very lucky to catch this busy lady while she was taking a vacation.
Are you home today?
Yes, I just got in. I was in the country. Right now, I’m actually taking a break. The whole of last year I was working so hard I haven’t had time to sit down and enjoy life. I went down there to do a show and I ended up staying down there. I was on one of my friend’s estates, it’s a getaway in what you call Irie Beach. Nice beach, nice river. You can go there and clear your head. So that’s what I was doing.
It’s actually a river, but they call it Irie Beach. There’s also a beach but it’s far away from the estate.
What’s a typical day like for you in Kingston?
A typical day when I’m working would be to get up, go online, Twitter, Facebook, talk to some of my fans, and answer questions. And them I’m off to the studio by around 2 o’clock. You know everything starts later in Jamaica. I’ll be in the studio vibing on some beats, working on a song or recording or just sitting in on a mix. After studio, I’ll come home, chill for a little, eat some nice Jamaican food and then back on the road again to do promo for whatever weekly dancehall event is happening at the time. Then it’s back home, sleep and start it all over again the next day.
What are you working on lately?
I have a lot of singles. I have a song with Sinden called “Pull UP Wheel Up” and I have something with some European guys called Hint and that’s called “Crash and Burn.” I got a wicked song with A-Trak coming out called “Hit Me Like the Dancefloor.” It’s an uptempo dance track, crazy vibe. I also have a song on an album that Reebok is putting out this summer. They’re doing a promo CD and I’m one of two vocalists on the CD. It’s a part of their summer promotions. I’m excited for that.
I have another one out now and it’s doing well. It’s one of those extra raw ones. I haven’t done one of those in a while. It’s called “Mi Too Good” and it’s on SeXXX Tape riddim produced by Truckback records. Lady Saw is on that riddim as well and you know how Lady Saw does it. Mr. Lexx is on there. Even Capleton is on there singing about things you wouldn’t expect Capleton to be singing about. He’s a Rasta, he does more cultural stuff, but this song is raw.
I also read you had something new coming out with Dre Skull. You’re on his Loudspeaker riddim.
Yes, Dre Skull! I did that so long ago, I almost forgot about it. I did that song after we worked on “Look Pon Me.” It was supposed to have been a follow up to “Look Pon Me.” But Dre Skull wasn’t ready to put it out and he wanted the riddim to feature other artists. And, you know, trying to compile a riddim took about, what? Two years? It’s just coming out now because the project basically just gelled together. Dre Skull is putting that out soon and I’m excited about that one because I was really loving that track. I went all out for that track. My track for that one was called “Large.”
Is that the last time you worked with Dre Skull?
No, we’ve done other things, but nothing that’s going to be coming out soon. And we have some more work to do together. I’m looking forward to that. We’re just working together. Ever since “Look Pon Me” he’s been really into my career. Helping me and guiding me and I’m very appreciative of that.
Does he usually send you a track or are you in the studio together sometimes?
He usually sends me a track. But sometimes when he gets to Jamaica, which is like every other month, because Dre’s a traveler, we’ll link up in the studio. Sometimes we go out and have drinks. He’s like my brother, you know? We vibe off each other sometimes.
You work with a lot of different people. How do you maintain a signature sound? Are you selective about what sort of tracks you’ll get involved with?
I’m very selective of the tracks. I like dance music, I like electro music. I like anything with a very hype vibe, anything that’s very energetic. Anything that puts me a mood to dance, I love jumping on that. So, I tend to choose beats that are like that, but sometimes I want to go low key with something where I can speak my mind and be, I don’t want to say political, but a little bit more deep and just talk about some issues. But most of the time I choose beats that I can dance to and that puts me in a party mood.