Words: Reginald Brooks
According to Vickie Natale’s official ReverbNation profile, the singer sounds like Adele and Amy Winehouse. However, judging by her depth of soul and vocal agility, a more accurate comparison would be to the legendary soul singer, Aretha Franklin. Natale’s late mentor, Nick Ashford, thought so too when he coined her as “little Aretha” after hearing her sing for the first time at his club, Sugar Bar in New York City in 2002.
Natale recalls some of her first music memories when she was just a child and her mother would play some of the most iconic Motown records. By the time she was seven or eight years old, she was itching to perform some of those “feel good” Motown tunes. “I begged my mom for a keyboard,” Natale remembers. Soon after, she got her keyboard and took lessons in school. She managed to score her first paid singing gig by age fifteen, stating, “My mom would take me to clubs to sing. I would get paid forty bucks an hour to sing at this Italian restaurant.”
Natale would prove Nick Ashford right during her first major breakthrough of performances as a contestant on CBS’s Star Search, receiving rave reviews from Naomi Judd, Ginuwine, and Patti Labelle. She was ultimately crowned the Grand Champion in 2004 and consequently signed a development deal with Sony Records immediately following.
Natale tells the IMC Mag about her music background, successes, disappointments, and future goals.
IMC: Where are you from?
VN: Brooklyn, NY
IMC: Where did you find your sound?
VN: Listening to lots of music and not being afraid. I know I’m always developing. I keep an open mind and try to stay very connected to my lyrics. I have a lot of things written in my journal but some of it I will never perform.
IMC: How do you feel about comparisons to Adele and Amy Winehouse?
VN: I don’t mind, but I have something different. They likely have some of the same influences as I do. We have some of the same flavor but my experience is different.
IMC: What is your favorite music or band?
VN: I like neo-soul, the stuff that is real and honest. I like to listen to Aretha Franklin and
IMC: What has been your favorite experience thus far?
VN: It was actually something very spiritual when I was doing Star Search in 2003. Anyone who understands the Law of Attraction or has seen The Secret will understand. Basically, I would write down things like, “I will win” and “I will do my best” over and over. I would also imagine winning day after day. This was so powerful and I actually won! That was my favorite experience; I haven’t experienced anything else like it. Also, meeting Stevie Wonder at Sugar Bar was awesome.
IMC: Where would you love to visit and play a show?
VN: I love to travel, and I’m actually going to Germany for a performance later this month. It’s also a goal of mine to perform at the GRAMMY Awards one year.
IMC: What was the last song to make you cry?
VN: “Same Love” by Macklamore and Ryan Lewis.
IMC: What have you found to be most disappointing about the music industry?
VN: Sometimes things can seem to be so cookie cutter and getting heard can sometimes be more difficult if you’re not a size two. I find that to be disappointing sometimes but I stand for my fans and not the industry.
IMC: Who are some of your biggest supporters?
VN: I’ve gained a lot of strong supporters from when I was doing Star Search. I would get so many letters from young girls telling me how they looked up to me and supported me.
IMC: What would you be doing if not music?
VN: I would be a psychologist or a therapist, I feel like one sometimes.
IMC: What are some of your goals and plans for the future?
VN: Right now, I’m working on finishing my new album called Time Machine. I also really want to win a GRAMMY award in the future.
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