Natalia M King

(Website)

Photo : Siegmar Gebele

She came had come from nowhere. Or rather, she came from the United States, where as an Afro-American of Dominican origin she had been raised in Brooklyn, in the shadow of the Big City. Traces of it remain on her fingertips, in the guitar riffs she plays, runs that are not quite clean and polished, not quite conventional by the standards of jazz, nor by any others. No matter, she had the spirit – and it could be heard at through every note, in the slightest word, between all the lines.

She also had education: at age 17, the adolescent went to Rochester to study Medieval History, and wrote a thesis on the humanist John de Salsbury. This didn’t feed her, however, and so she took to the road, crossing the United States from north to south, from east to west. Working on assembly lines and in child-care for charities, driving taxis or delivering pizzas, she never stopped. She saw the Grand Canyon, Oregon, Seattle, Alaska and then Los Angeles, where she dropped her bags for more than five years, finally deciding to make music her life. She had already had a taste of it as a kid, first at school, singing in the choir, and then with a group in fashion at the time, Living Colours.

She came back to music in 1993. The young lady sang the blues, strumming a Fender Telecaster, instinctively. It suited her well, too: she composed the music (and wrote the lyrics, the better to put her own opinions across) with the Mojo Monks, a kind of raucous, psyched-up blues trio.

That lasted until 1997, when she decided to try her luck at recording all on her own, like a big girl… she released a self-produced album called As I Am, recorded in her home studio. The horizons in California, however, seemed limited, and the people hard of hearing. She sold everything she possessed, and bought herself an acoustic guitar and a plane-ticket. She chose France as her destination; it seemed to be the Promised Land for those wanting to live from their music, “a welcoming land for Black Americans”. She took the step that took her from myth to reality. It was also in this land of exile that she hoped to “meet musicians from the world over”. The hour of glory strikes for those who know how to wait, those who want to hear it.

But it was not to be: one day Natalia King crossed paths with a pair of wide-open ears that were ready to listen. One evening, at the “Flèche d’Or” club, as if by magic, a woman from the world of images chanced to listen, and a spell was cast. She was to be the subject of a documentary made by French television group Canal+, and her story took a new turn.

In no time at all she was propelled to the Zenith of Song, the Olympia Theatre, where she opened for Diana Krall. The strength of her conviction and the keen accents of her guitar were striking.

After two more dates, the young unknown opened the door that led to a recording studio; she did not have to push hard, nor did she have to hurry – just the time it takes for circumstances to coincide, for chance encounters to occur. For a girl who believes in fate, the path was traced. At the beginning of the year 2000 she put down her first demos, simply recorded pieces that finished convincing those who had believed in her. She had come a long way since her first steps in France, in June 1998.

After over a hundred concerts in Europe and The United States, Natalia went back into the studios in the summer of 2002 to record Milagro and one year later, Fury and Sound.

Albums

FuryandSound

Label: Universal Jazz - 067 917-2
Distribution in France: Universal Jazz
Release date: March 17, 2003

After over a hundred concerts in Europe and The United States, Natalia went back into the studios in the summer of 2002 to record Fury and Sound.
She had a new crew: Pierre Crosnier (guitar) and David Granier (drums); a new instrumental format – the quartet – with the addition of the cello played by Solange Minali-Bella, and a silken, wrapping tone that brought an extra fullness and roundness to the sound of the ensemble. Ten new songs with tight, clear texts, half-tender, half-despairing. Ten titles with an orientation that was more Rock than those in Milagro, more arranged and salient, too, folding into each other without a break like a long, carnal, heady suite where moments of tension follow the more reflective tracks, acidity following softness, contained violence following melancholy wanderings.

Natalia M King - FuryandSound

Milagro

Label: Universal Jazz - 548 187 2
Distribution in France: Universal Jazz
Release date: January 01, 2001

Milagro revolves around a – the – Miracle, as its title suggests, but it also speaks about her life, her own experience on all kinds of terrain, her joys and her blue moments, too. When you know where she is coming from, this first trio album takes on its full meaning. The nomad soul of Natalia King is an invitation to ballads that aren’t always calm, with tempos that run away over a background of fresh air. Her ballads exist in spite of her: the music returning time and again to the origins of her life, a life that allowed her to take note without ever copying, that could just be inhaled, inspired.
The musical result is totally original, carried by an exceptional voice, and helped by two creative French musicians on guitar and drums: Pierre Fruchard and Etienne Bonhomme.

Natalia M King - Milagro