I had the pleasure to interview Natalise Kalea, the lead singer of the band Natalise + The Sunset Run. The indie artist just released her new single “Be”, which contains a powerful message that invites us to forge ahead with a genuine life. In short, just be yourself!
1 – Is it true you started to play the piano at the age of three? Why do you believe people think it is a hard instrument to play?
Yes, that’s true. My mom tells me I begged her for lessons. I’ve played the piano for so many years that it comes second nature to me. It’s like speaking a language. English is pretty easy for Americans, but Arabic or Chinese is probably really tough. Anything is easy when you start early enough… and hard when you’re older and your brain is filled with a lot of other things.
2 – What is your best memory from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music?
I loved sitting outside of practice rooms, just… listening. At the Conservatory, there was a long hallway of practice rooms, and they’d all be filled with one student rehearsing and practicing. I would have to wait for my mom to pick me up after my lessons – she’d be often late because she worked a lot – and so each day, I’d pick a different room to sit outside of. And I’d just enjoy the playing. Everyone was so talented and meticulous about getting just the right timing and feel. It was like a concert every day.
3 – If you were not a singer what other profession would you pursue?
In my heart of hearts, I’m an entrepreneur. I love creating things. Every company is like a new song, a new album.
4 – When did you form the band Natalise + The Sunset Run?
I formed the band in 2012. I had been a solo artist prior to that and I just wanted more of a “team.” I craved working with other creatives. Collaboration is really important to me.
I think the solo thing got kind of lonely. Sometimes groups and bands can be hard because of interpersonal dynamics, but when collaboration works, it really can be magical.
6 – I like your new single “Be”. What are the lyrics about?
The song is really about being authentic to who you are – remembering to own your truth and having faith that that will carry you through. I think too many artists, and too many people for that matter, try to mimic other people who they think they should be. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration, but there’s power in being YOU. No one does “you” better than you.
7 – Who do you want to dedicate this song to? Why?
I wrote this song as a reminder to myself, but it’s as an anthem for artists and dreamers everywhere. When you’re in pursuit of a challenging goal, it’s easy to get discouraged and lost. You have to draw strength (continuously) from somewhere. Draw that strength and inspiration from within. The same dust that make up the stars also lives within you. There’s both humility and power in that.
8 – Have you ever experienced a critical turning point throughout your artistic career?
I think right before I started Natalise + the Sunset Run, I came to a head in my own disposition towards a career in music. I was determined to be myself… no matter what, regardless of whether people liked it or not. I had producers and managers who wanted me to be like this artist or that artist. And I played around with many different genres. Nothing ever felt real. After a long while of trying to please everyone else, I was like… ok, the only way this is going to work is if I am fearless about being authentic.
Being an indie artist is a lot of hard work. It’s not glamorous at all. But, the awesome thing is that you have direct control of what you do AND you can be closer to the supporters who really appreciate you.
10 – Where can we see you and the band performing live soon?
We have a few pop-up shows coming up – people can check out www.NataliseandTheSunsetRun.com to get more info on future dates!