Monday, 5 March 2012

AS I AM: Natel riffs on his new mixtape, independent women, and making grown-folks music

FRESH PRINCE: "I am the type of youth that always try to improve."

Nathaniel ‘Natel’ Hewitt first caught our attention back in ’08 with this boy-next-door appeal and insistent talent on Rising Stars. He’s been making a name for himself in local music circles ever since. Now he’s released a stellar mixtape, Miles Away, full of passion and raw emotion and astonishing lyrics. As he continues to promote the project and make plans to tour the States later this year, the 24-year-old star (a son of Manchester by way of St. Ann) takes a time-out to talk to TALLAWAH about inspiration, finding the right woman, and challenging himself creatively.

TALLAWAH: Your new mixtape includes incredible love songs. Are they coming from a personal place?
Natel: Well, the mixtape was put together with many of the songs that I had recorded over the past year – and most of those songs are about my own experiences. Also, my fans are 80 percent female, so we wanted to use songs that they would find appealing. And because Valentine’s Day was coming up, the theme of love was appropriate.

Understood. You’ve been linked romantically to regular girls, but do you ever date fellow stars?
I prefer to keep that a secret (Laughs). But whether I would date a celebrity in the future, I say why not. It’s not like I go around and put an X on a certain class of people. I am open to dating all types of women because you never know who will be your real true love.

Based on your song lyrics, you seem to have a respect for independent women. Does that apply to whom you date?
It actually does, because it’s a turn-on knowing that ladies respect themselves and have ambition. In Jamaica, you have some women who like to beg constantly, and you don’t want to end up with a woman like that, because in relationships it’s supposed to go both ways.

Were you ever worried that you’d forever be referred to as the dude who was on Rising Stars?
For the next three years after I did Rising Stars I was worried about that because I hadn’t done any major original recordings. But after doing my own songs and videos, people started talking about the songs and recognizing me for other things, which is good.

True. And folks who haven’t yet downloaded Miles Away will be surprised by how much you’ve grown since 2008. How do you feel about your personal and artistic maturity?
I’m happy about it and grateful, because I am the type of youth that always try to improve and do better. I always want to elevate and keep pushing myself to new levels.

Mixtape REVIEW: Natel channels Doctor Love

DOWNLOAD: Natel’s Miles Away mixtape

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