S Soul - My first interaction with you was in 2006 through the Swedish gospel choir Tensta Gospel Choir, where we both sang Tenor and you had written the very funky soul jam "Dance With The Lord." At that point, how long had you been writing songs?
Natanael - I wrote my first song back when I was 7, and that was 'cause I had guitar lessons and my music teacher, after my mother talked to him, asked me if I could write a song, so yeah that was the first time. But I started writing more when I was like 16-17. But after school was when I REALLY started writing, and that was 1-2 years before Tensta Gospel Choir.
I also remember seeing you create a full arrangement from scratch at our choirleaders (Cedwin Sandanam) crib back in the day. When you write music, do you (before laying the instrumentation down) hear the complete music in your head or do you create it bit-by-bit ?
Yeah, I remember that day! It was fun being involved with you, Cedwin and the rest of the choir. Sometimes when I'm "in the zone" I do those type of arrangements. I like to improvise and let things flow free. After that I can listen collect the nice parts and bring them together to complete the song or the arrangement.
definitely no black metal
I have been listening to your EP "It's You." It gives me a joyous and positive vibe, but also a rejuvenating, African feel – was that intentional?
Yes you're right, it’s definitely no black metal.... The lyrics on IT'S YOU are about love, sacrifice and doubt, all brought together with music, phrases and instruments that I love, and I love everything from American soul music to west African sabar-drums and Swedish pop-productions.
Paul Simon's "Graceland" and Stevie Wonder’s "Hotter Than July" spring to mind. What are some of your inspirations?
Well, thank you for telling me that! I love Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon! In fact I have listened a lot to their music through my parents when I was younger. Nowadays I listen to whatever catches my ears. It can be everything as long as it gives me that tingling feeling. Often a good song combined with a nice groove and a soulful voice does it for me!
How long have you been working on this EP and with whom was it created?
I started working on this EP last summer. I decided that the time was right for me to step out and into the music scene. I rented a studio and gathered musicians that I love to play with. With no click track, recording drums, guitar, bass and keys at the same time I wanted to create a vibrant "live feel." The backing vocals are recorded the old school way, me and the girls (Sabina Ddumba, Melinda De Lange, Janice Kavander) stood all together around the microphone. Then me and Efraim Törnfeldt, who's also playing the guitars, sat down and did some ad-lib guitars, keys, percussions. Also featured on the EP is: Christian Tapper-Drums Adam Lännerholm-Bass Magnus Ramel- Keys. Thank you guys!
What has your family background and your upbringing meant to you as an artist?
I come from a very musical family. My mother is a professional singer since the age of seventeen, my older brother was playing the drums for several famous bands back in the 80's, and my sister is now a very successful singer/songwriter. So that means that music has always been around me since I was a baby. So I would say that my family is my biggest source of inspiration. My father has a huge record-collection which I've found all sorts of music in, and my little brother, who's a house/techno-DJ always has something new to show me so that I can be inspired. I'm blessed to have a family who is so talented.
Our friend Mapei once told me something that's followed me since she made the statement – that the music that one creates becomes best when you manage to re-create the same feel that you felt as a young kid listening to music, do you agree?
Yes! That's true in a way. When you were a child you only knew that you liked a certain song or a voice, not thinking about who that person was or what they stood for. You can say that you were more free as a child, and that is one of the most important things when you're working with music, art etc. To be completely free.
Have you tuned in to any other Scandinavian Soul artists growing up, and will there ever be any collaborations?
I listen a lot to people around me. I have had the possibility to work with and jam with some really good singers and musicians, and that has formed my musicianship, and I'm very glad about it! Sanne Karlsson, David Lundberg, Joy Himmelmark, Jacob Sollevi, Kristin Amparo, Samson For President, Beldina, Sabina Ddumba, Melo just to mention a few!