Natalie Claro Q&A
Hello you lovely little creeps! Here at Creeper Magg we are thrilled to reveal our Q&A with singer/songwriter Natalie Claro. At only 17 years old, Natalie has proved to be a trailblazing force in the city of Tampa, Florida and the rest of the east coast as well. With the release of her latest singles ‘Stumble’ and ‘Baby Bug,’ Natalie has continued to demonstrate her ability to be a versatile solo artist, producing alternative music with influences from rock to blues and everything in between. We chatted with Natalie and discovered how exactly her journey came to be and what she hopes to accomplish as a young musician.
Creeper Magg: At what age did you start getting into music? Are there any bands or artists that specifically influenced you to get into music?
Natalie Claro: Music has been involved in my life since I was born. I don’t think there’s been a day in my life where my dad hasn’t been blasting old classics through the house. I learned piano when I was 5 years old and since then all the other instruments I play sort of branched off from there. Music influences are weird. It’s like every phase of my life has a specific artist that motivated a different aspect. When I was 9 Michael Jackson died so I looked him up and sang Jackson 5 songs in the mirror every single day. When I was 14 I went to a Paramore concert and when I saw Hayley Williams running around that stage I thought, ‘Damn that’s what I want to do.’ Then Kanye West’s upbeat motivators like “Power” always made me want to jump up and conquer anything. But most of all, freshman year of high school is when I discovered Twenty-One Pilots, they truly encourage me to think outside the box and do whatever I want regardless of what the trends are. I relate to them artistically, which is really different in comparison to how the majority of their fans relate to them.
CM: What is your songwriting process and what usually influences your songs?
NC: The only thing that really stands out is that I always write on either my guitar or my keyboard. One of the songs on my upcoming EP is called ‘My Calling, The Door,’ and it’s about how I can never really write unless something is passionately affecting me. My music is fueled by inner emotional conflicts.
CM: You're 16 years old but you've already done an extensive amount of work. How has being a young musician shaped your musical journey?
NC: I just turned 17 today!! Being young is almost a blessing and a curse. I have a loud voice so it tends to shock people when they find out I’m still a teenager. The cons could be that any age below 18 is a major road block. A lot of the major festivals and concert promoters won’t even look at you until you’re of legal age despite your obvious dedication. At least more opportunities lay in the future. My family and I plan to move to LA once that time rolls around.
CM: One of your standout pieces is the song ‘Baby Bug.’ Since you’ve written it, have you seen a shift in the way you see it or how you perform it?
NC: I actually have. I wrote the song years back as a way to encourage myself not to let a situation of being bullied make me… give up. I felt very trapped in my situation and telling myself that I’d be successful in whatever I wanted to accomplish is what always gave me the power to deal with every laugh and every teasing song and every time I felt alone. I used to sing it on my little guitar at restaurants. I watched a video of one of those gigs a few weeks ago and I was shocked by how different I performed it. The song used to be so meek, so fast and softer spoken, now that it’s produced and my life’s taken a huge left turn I shout it with such confidence. Every show I do a speech before the song explaining it’s story and encouraging the crowd to feel like I’m singing the words to them. Rather than singing the song to myself like I used to, I say “everyone has problems, and no matter what you’re dealing with, use this as a motivation and as a reminder that you’ll be great one day.” I jump onto speakers and run through the crowd and really make it a huge finale.
CM: Tell us about your involvement last year for Hard Rock Cafe’s Pinktober campaign. What was that like for you?
NC: That seems so long ago!!! It was just last year but wow I’ve changed so much since then. Hard Rock was my first “real” gig. (Meaning outside of restaurants and street festivals). They signed me as an ambassador in 2015 to take part in all their major charity events and it was a dream come true. I took part in helping so many amazing organizations. Something crazy is when I sang in front of 18,000 people for the Making Strides cancer walk in my downtown city. Since then, they’ve selected their new group of annual ambassadors and I’m a now official alumni. I’ve moved on to touring outside my state and opening for tours, and I plan to start my own tour by next year. No matter where I go or end up I will always be forever grateful to Hard Rock for being so supportive of me in my beginning stages.
CM: Are there any other issues or causes that you’re passionate about? How do you use your art to speak out about these issues?
NC: Equality and social justice issues drive me mad and I can’t wait until I reach a stage where my voice can leave an impact. Whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, age, class, or religion you are, you are welcome and accepted to be apart of my music and family. I want to be a place of safety for anyone and everyone. I’m always here for anyone if they need someone.
CM: Is there any advice that you would give young women like yourself who are pursuing music? What has been a takeaway lesson for you?
NC: Ninety percent of the time I’m the only girl on a lineup full of adult guys and I don’t even think twice about it, because they tend to love my performance and genre of music anyway. There’s only been once or twice where I’ve been teased before I perform (only to stick it to them once I start) but I can’t tell if it’s because of my age or size or gender or what. I guess my advice [would] be: who cares! Girls are cool. Guys are cool. If you’re neither you’re cool too. You fit in wherever you’re meant to be and if anyone ever gives you a hard time make them be sorry.
CM: Do you think that the music industry underestimates women as artists and their capabilities to create good music?
NC: Yeah definitely. I don’t have many personal instances but I’ll always acknowledge and support how much I hear other girl artists voice their struggles. One thing I don’t think is true is any incapability to make “good” music. So many girls in the industry have such a unique sound. Melanie Martinez, Zella Day, Beyonce, I mean you name it, they all have their own individual zest. Just do you.
CM: When do you plan to release new music? And do you have any plans to tour for your next release?
NC: I’m finishing up my EP right now. It’s called ‘Atychiphobia,’ it means the persistent fear of failure. I interpret it kind of like homophobia, where it’s not a fear as much as a blatant refusal to accept. I don’t FEAR failure, but I have this competitive over achieving quality that takes over anything I’m ever working on whether it’s school, board games, or well, music. It really influences how I make my music when I don’t have the same utilities or money as major artists have. Kind of drives me nuts sometimes and feels like my eyes are going to drip out of my head. Once it’s done I’ll have a definite release date available.
CM: Any final thoughts on the music industry?
NC: If you’re pursuing music don’t let anyone ever take control of what you want to create. The whole point of art is it being unique. You wanna scream in your song? Do it. You want the tempo to change 15 times throughout the track? Do it! A whole 3 minutes of just buzzing and a xylophone? If you like it, someone else will too.
You can check out more of Natalie’s music on YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes and creep up with her on her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Interview by Jackie Castaneda
Edited by Emily Kimura