Natasha Bedingfield Q&A
Natasha Bedingfield returned to pop music in late 2010 with a brand new single, the racily titled “Strip Me,” which is also the name of the U.K.-based pop singer-songwriter’s third album, released last winter. Still, the title is no cheap come-on loaded with sexual innuendo a la the Britneys and Rihannas of the pop world. After her success in the Zeros, Bedingfield is all about stripping away the façade of celebrity and pop stardom, and keeping it real.
KOvideo catches up with the bubbly blonde, who was born in New Zealand before her family moved to London when she was still a child (her brother Daniel Bedingfield is also a chart topping artist), at the start of her first tour for “Strip Me.”
“Strip Me” marks a return to the public eye after a couple years break. After two successful albums, including her mega hit “Unwritten,” Bedingfield became disillusioned with her path. She took time away, attended songwriting camps, and became involved in social justice issues. Bedingfield has been active in anti-slavery and human trafficking campaigning. These days she splits time between London and Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, Californian businessman Matthew Robinson, whom she married in 2009.
Though she waited till summer to tour, Bedingfield had one very auspicious gig over the winter. In February, she joined a slew of stars including Sheryl Crow, John Legend, Seal and Nick Jonas, to perform at the White House before an audience that included President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, in celebration Motown Records. The audience also included Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson before whom Bedingfield, joined by Jordin Sparks and Ledisi sang the Supremes' "Stop in the Name of Love,” and then, solo, she sang Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears.” That was certainly a moment.
Now it’s time to hit the road. Performing live is something she’s really looking forward to, she tells us a couple of days before the tour, dubbed the “Less is More Tour,” began in Northampton, Massachusetts, in June.
Kovideo: You took a couple of years off from music, has that left you more enthusiastic to play again?
Taking a break can’t help but enhance your live gigs. I love playing live best of all and I think this is going to be as good as it’s ever been before.
KOvideo: You produced “Strip Me” yourself; did you want to make a statement about being more hands-on as an artist and not just a pop singer?
I’m an odd egg. I don’t really fit into the pop world, or the rock world. I’m an immigrant; I was born in New Zealand and then raised in London, I’ve never really felt like I fit in anywhere. I found my way to pop, but I don’t listen to pop. I listen to Motown or rock music. So, I don’t think of myself as just a pop singer. I think this album and this tour reaches a new level for me because the songs really mean something. My approach is as a songwriter; the song is key. When I’m singing, I try not to get in the way of the song, adding riffs all over the place. I actually hold back a lot of the time.
Kovideo: Talking of holding back, this album is all about stepping back and reevaluating your life, isn’t it?
There’s so much that is so crazy in this world. I think everyone feels it and wants something simpler. I don’t think of myself as special, I don’t want to be special. I think we are all very special and that’s a reoccurring theme on the record. Everyone is special, regardless of where they are and who they are.