British neo-soul pianist, vocalist and songwriter Natalie Duncan prefaces her forthcoming – and quite superb – album Free with the first single Sirens, released today, Friday, May 29. The tune marks the first release on iconic producer and DJ Goldie’s brand new label Fallen Tree 1Hundred.
Due on July 24, Free is a 12-track collection of songs hugely influenced, says Natalie, by such as Robert Glasper, Solange and Frank Ocean:
“I’m a pianist first and foremost and that’s how I always write my songs: they begin life on the piano before I start mapping out arrangements for other instruments. I knew that I wanted simplicity in this album, which is why there aren’t thick sonic layers and grand orchestration.”
As well as Duncan on vocals and piano throughout, the album features a stellar line-up of fellow musicians including Richard Spaven [drums], Aaron Janick [trumpet] and Alan Mian [bass].
Duncan wrote Sirens – one of the only love songs on the album – whilst recovering from vocal surgery:
“I initially wrote the piano and I whistled the vocals because I wasn’t able to talk at the time. It was a very frustrating writing process, but it was so euphoric the first time I was able to sing the chorus line ‘Can you make me fly’ — it felt like my voice was finally free and flying again.”
Previously signed to Verve Records, Duncan has seen her musical career span many years. She has performed her own music across London venues and worked as a vocalist on Goldie’s live shows with the Heritage Orchestra since 2012, as well as collaborating with him on his own albums.
“We have a really good musical relationship.”, she explains. “Goldie has always been a huge supporter of me as an artist and he really understands the importance of letting me have creative control. I’m very excited to be the first artist released on the label.”