Natasha Pasternak

Featured Musician

Photo by: Emma McIntyre

Photo by: Emma McIntyre

Natasha Pasternak is an artist in the most honest sense of the word. As a songwriter and composer, to a producer and performer, you could say she has been making art since the day she was born. Natasha spent her childhood by her mother’s side, while the family toured and made records. Deeply influenced by the folk and soul that surrounded Natasha, after high school she headed to Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts to be classically trained in acting, voice, and dance. She completed her two years at RAPA and in 2010 she co-founded the acclaimed indie pop band, Hands & Teeth.

 

What stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?

One of my all time favourite highlights, though there has been so many, was being invited in 2011 to play SXSW. Austin is such an amazing and supportive music city. Everywhere I went if someone saw I had an artist wristband, they would get so excited and asked when/where I was playing..then they would show up to the show with 10 of their friends! The band I was in at the time also was hosted by a local Austin family, who had chickens in the backyard and made us breakfast with the eggs every morning. It was the most glorious time for sure.

What are you currently working on?
After the break-up of my band, Hands & Teeth, I wanted to take some time and discover who I was as a solo artist. I had been around 4 creative voices non-stop for 5 years, that I barely knew my own. So Jan. 2015 I packed up my life and moved from Toronto, Canada to Los Angeles, California. Since landing in this sunny state I’ve turned to honing in on my spongwriting and producer skills. I’ve been working with several artist, as well trying to take some time to do my own thing. Starting this week I’ll be apart of a selected few to be mentored in ASCAP’s 2016 Harold Adamson Workshop, which is really exciting and something I’ve worked very hard for over the past year and a half. Also I just finished a short film based on my song “Hearts Aren’t Lonely”, it will be submitted to festivals for next year.

How did you get started as a musician?
I grew up in a musical family, my mom had a folk-rock band that toured and made records. So I got the music bug basically from the moment I was conceived. She said she use to put headphones on her belly when she as pregnant with me and play John Lennon, Lenard Cohen and Mozart.The problem was I very shy growing up and didn’t really start singing in front of people until I was 16 and shortly after that started playing guitar. It all kind of rolled out from that point on. It wasn’t until the band Hands & Teeth formed in 2010, that I got my real musical chops.

Who or what influences your music?
Since I grew up around an heavy influence of folk ( thanks mom ) I really tend to lean to a strong melody and storytelling lyrics. But what I find interesting/inspiring in some music today, is the arrangement/production has become a big component of the storytelling. I remember a very good friend of mine locked me in a car one winter and we drove around the country side listening to Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It was an attempt to force me to like Kanye’s music…and it worked. I think I even cried when the All Of The Lights Interlude came on. He took organic sounds and split it open with digital interference, and it still had a string story. Kanye likes to layer everything on a song and then carving it out, only to leave the bleeding hooks bare to the ear. Needless to say after that car ride my mind was on fire, I wanted to be influenced by this sound. And so that’s been my mission since, brining organic sound to a digital dinner party. Bon Iver I believe is the latest artist that is executing that marriage. Like Kanye, that man is a modern day genus.

What is your creative process like?

Lately I find myself start a song with a beat I cobble together. Then I start to layer the tracks, all the time with my guitar on my lap, figuring out the structure and a strong melody. But it can also be as simple as sitting at my piano and writing the song first, then heading to my studio to fill it out. I’ve tried to have a routine these days, I’m working out my music muscle in my brain everyday. Even if it stinks, just getting it out. It’s literally the hardest thing to do as a creative, because you’re facing a blank page everyday, which is facing a big old question mark. But it can be exciting too. Endless possibilities.

How do you feel our Art Plus Brewing initiative can benefit emerging artists?

I first met Bob Russell when Collective Arts was just starting, he was at a show of mine. He asked if the band wanted to be on a beer label and then he explained the Collective Arts vision to me. I got so excited! It was brilliant. And here we are today and it’s brilliance is being seen and heard across the continent. It’s grown so beautifully, so lovely to see and be apart of a supportive, creative movement.

What was your experience like when you participated in our Series 6 Call for Art?

It’s been an honor and really exciting to have my first solo attempts to have a cozy home with Collective Arts. Y’all are fighting the good fight and I’ll always support that!

Learn more about NJP: www.natashapasternak.com

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