Born into Music
Hi Natasha… You’ve performed to audiences around the world and have topped the classical album charts, so how did you manage to break into the competitive world of music and when did you know you wanted to be an Opera singer?
Hi Chloe… It took me a long time to discover I wanted to be an Opera singer, I certainly didn’t know it at school. In fact, I had to learn about opera before I could understand it! My musical career hasn’t been straight forward at all. It’s been a long journey, and in the end a fruitful one- one I wouldn’t change.
I grew up surrounded by music- everything from Mozart to Pink Floyd, Shirley Bassey to world music. My parents didn’t aggressively install music into us, but it was always there.
Then when I was about four I took part in a production of Oliver. From that moment, it felt great to sing in front of people. It felt natural and instinctive and I loved it.
At school I loved writing and languages- I was not great at science- but it was drama and music which really drove me. I liked sports too- running, basketball- and became a football fan. But at the age of 13 I began to get bullied a lot- I was very tall for my age and became very sensitive and self-conscious. The taunts mainly came from mean girls. So in order to get away from them and their teasing I ended up throwing myself into an extra-curricular, out of school world. I ended up singing in a choir, taking part in drama and shows, and making a lot of new friends. I think that helped me become a more confident individual, less sensitive and less worried about my appearance, and do you know what? Those bullies faded away and became irrelevant to me.
At the age of 17, I realised I wasn’t using the top end of my voice, the high notes. It was then that I met an amazing teacher, April Cantelo, who still gives me lessons to this very day, even though she’s a lovely old lady now. But it was April who took me under her wing and taught me how to use my voice, showed me a voice needs training, not forcing, and it needs looking after too!
Having found my love of music and my unique voice, I went on to the Royal College of Music. And can you believe it? When I got there, I didn’t actually like opera. I thought it was boring! But after studying it for a little while, I realised how wrong I was, it wasn’t boring at all, it was full of passions; the music, the writing, the acting, the artwork, the production, absolutely everything about it oozed passion! After several years of studying I realised I wanted this to be my life, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I found out I could make a living out of it. Now it’s my career, I do stage productions across the world an even get to do TV productions which reaches out to audiences across the globe.
Singing at the 2008 League Cup Final was just amazing. I knew then that football is just like opera- the roar of the crowd when someone scores is just as good as reaching the highest note. I love the passion, beauty and power that football and music share.
“My advice to you would be… When you’re starting out it’s really important to have good role
models around you and I was very lucky with that, I had my parents and April. Equally
important is working hard at what you love.
Don’t go for the quick fix like The X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. Play the long game. You
have to put your heart and soul into it and understand that you’re in for a long run. That is
when you get the best out of whatever field you chose.”