She’s the firebrand frontwoman of Blue King Brown, and now Nattali Rize has embarked on a one-of-a-kind project resulting in a truly powerful debut, solo record.
In 2014, Nattali relocated to Kingston, Jamaica to write and record with reggae heavyweight producers Notis. After a US festival-tour run that saw her perform alongside the likes of Michael Franti & Spearhead and New Zealand’s Katchafire, Nattali will return for a run of shows in December and January.
What motivated you to start a career as a solo artist?
As musicians and people we are ever evolving, growing in life and in our art. When I got the inspiration to make new music as a solo artist I followed those feelings and they lead me to some great opportunities with some great people. I love to be able to collaborate with different producers and musicians from other parts of the world. It is vital to my art at this point in my career to be open and available to new connections, inspiration and experiences through my music.Tell us about your latest collaboration with Notis...
Notis is Unga Barunga on drums and Welsh on bass; they are musicians as well as producers. I met Unga in Australia when he was on tour as Jimmy Cliff’s drummer. We had a pretty quick and creative connection; the first night we met we wrote and recorded our debut single, 'Rebel Love', with the other musicians who were also on the tour. When I went to Kingston to work on a couple of songs with Notis and see how it felt, it was the same upful [sic] and great vibes that we had the night we met. So we decided to embark on a collaborative project which has now realised itself in our debut, nine-track EP, 'New Era Frequency'.
To record this album you relocated to Kingston, Jamaica; did you experience any culture shock when you moved there?
Jamaica and Kingston actually reminds me of some of the islands in the Pacific; similar climate, food, trees, etc. So there was that familiarity. But definitely, I also fell in love with the people and the conscious roots culture. Everything from the music to the food, to the street-dance parties and a huge amount of talented artists coming up and bringing new frequencies to the reggae world at large.What did you miss most while you were in Jamaica?
I think the main thing I missed is the coastline. The beaches, that ocean. The beaches are beautiful there in Jamaica too, but there’s just something more raw, livid and energetic about the ocean back home.Your music carries with it powerful statements about global and social consciousness; what would you say are the key themes with your new album?
The key themes are really about raising our consciousness to a level where we start to really see the illusion of the reality we live in… the system in all its corporate, unjust, false, misleading glory. We are about reminding people of their own power, and to think twice before giving that power to authorities, governments or cultures that don’t have your best interests at heart, that are only interested in the capitalist way of living, thinking and connecting with each other.
There is so much more to life than we know; we are evolving consciousness, ever shifting and growing. The paradigm we live in is designed to keep us numbed and unaware of our spiritual, physical and emotional potential. We don't trust this system as it continues to prove itself as an enemy of the people in all its doings, in all its glorification of war, mistreatment of refugees, murder of innocent beings en masse: animal, plant and human.
We don’t trust the illusion, we’re building our own paradigm, a new era, as we free our minds, our perception of reality shifts and our understanding of what is possible grows and grows, inspiring other free-thought in other free-minds. And that is why music is so powerful, because it is sound, a vibration, and everyone can resonate with not just its audible sounds, but also with the intentions behind it and the lyrics in it.Keeping with politics, have you ever considered a political career?
Not really. Politics is for people who don't see beyond the box of the rat race that is politics: the lies, competition, petty talk and downgrading of other people who chose to be politicians. Some people get into politics to help people, but end up being stuck in the rut of it and becoming part of the bigger problem; that is, dependency on a system of so-called ‘democracy’ through capitalism that only serves the minority and their own business or corporate interests, and that is not what real life and freedom should be, feel, or look like. We see quite clearly the fukrey of the system and its ever tightening grip on our freedoms across the board, their taxing of us just for living. Tell me this; if the human beings are so 'intelligent' then why are we the only species that pay to live on planet earth?
What is the biggest change you’d like to see in the world?
I want to see the freedom of all my human family from mental, physical and spiritual slavery. I want to see the end of slavery and suffering to all my animal family, and to the plant kingdom – our environment. The biggest change I want to see in the world comes from within each and every person on the planet. It’s the change in them, in their consciousness that is going to change the world… and that change is not only coming, it’s here… and people are reconnecting with their higher selves and reclaiming their personal power to 'Rize Up'.Given the chance, what would you say to our political leaders?
I’m not sure there’s enough space here to fit that… but condensed down to a smaller statement, I would say this:
Your services are no longer needed. You are free to go, but you will not be paid an ongoing pension or wage for what you’ve done as our so-called ‘leaders'. You have been deemed unfit to lead by The People and by your continual acts of war against our health, our planets health, our human family and our collective future. Goodbye.
Nattali Rize & NotisYou and Notis will be touring the album in Australia for the first time starting in December; how are you feeling in the lead-up to this homecoming?
We hope you find your connection to the light that we have found and free your selves from the nightmare that is the reality you have blindly championed and perpetuated.
We are more than excited to be bringing this unique project to Australian shores. We really feel the importance of sharing these works with the Australian audience; we rarely see young, Jamaican bands come through our part of the world. We’re more used to the legends passing through, but Notis is in the next generation of artists out of a thriving, live-music scene in Kingston. That with myself, an Australian-based female artist, fronting a full-Jamaican band is possibly the first of its kind ever to come from and to Australia.
We are very proud of our musical communities and peers and as I have been in Jamaica connecting with the musical community here and the Jamaican people, I am very happy to be bringing Notis to Australia to return the experience and link with the many artists and fans who I know will love them.How have you and the band been preparing for the Australian tour?
We’re deep in rehearsal mode right now. We are putting together a newer version of the show we toured in North America earlier this year and are firing up the musical vibes; we will be ready in all ways.
And what's happening with your other band, Blue King Brown?
Blue King Brown have been doing some select festival shows and gigs in Australia since I’ve been coming back and forth from Jamaica. We released our third studio album, 'Born Free', late last year. It has some great songs on it, including a couple that were produced by Notis and feature one of the next generation artists I spoke about; his name is Jesse Royal. Check him out! BKB will be doing some more shows in February 2016 and beyond; we are still going strong… BKB will continue to do what it does best, while balancing that with my other project movements, but well and truly it’s all ONE movement... same spirit, same intention, same livication to the evolution of human consciousness and the struggle for truth, justice and full freedom. ONE.
Nattali Rize Tour Dates
Tue 29 Dec - Woodford Folk Festival (Sunshine Coast)Thu 31 Dec - The Croxton (Melbourne)Fri 1 Dec - Nightquarter (Gold Coast)Sat 2 Jan - Solbar (Sunshine Coast)Sun 3 Jan - Hotel Brunswick (Brunswick Heads)Blue King Brown play Earth Frequency 12-14 February.