Interview: Natasha Bedingfield on Connecting With All Women… Dinah and Beyond
Originally published at cherrygrrl.com, March 14, 2011 – Read the full text here
Natasha Bedingfield is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter who has recorded some of the most identifiable and danceable pop music of the last six years. Her tracks, “Unwritten,” and “These Words” are still heard today and are generally considered sing-along anthems. Her third album, Strip Me, was released on December 7, 2010 and this April she will be heading to Palm Springs to grace the lovely ladies of Club Skirts The Dinah with a special performance.
CherryGRRL (CG): So you’re doing The Dinah this year. Tell me how it came about.
Natasha Bedingfield (NB): I was invited to perform last year, but we just couldn’t make it work, schedule-wise. I’m very excited to be performing. I’m looking forward to such a fun weekend! Just a sea of fun, independent, beautiful women enjoying one another.
CG: What is the significance of your album title, Strip Me?
NB: It’s called Strip Me in reference to stripping everything away that is owned or achieved. Everything.
CG: Including sexual orientation?
NB: Absolutely. Orientation, especially. We’re all human, and we’re united in our humanity. It is the universal theme. I’m very inspired by my audience, and I love my gay and lesbian fans. The courage they have. There are so many battles that they fight in their lives. Just being a person isn’t easy, we all have our day-to-day struggles, but my LGBT fans deal with so much, and they’re so brave.
CG: Many artists tend to shy away from recognizing the LGBTQ community. Why do you think that is?
NB: People are afraid of being judged for their beliefs. It’s something that is very sensitive. When I came to America, people told me, “Don’t get too political. Don’t talk about politics or religion, because those things are very personal to people. You don’t want to offend people.” But I’ve met so many people and I’ve seen so many people experiencing so much difference in their lives, that it’s worth just talking about.
CG: When there are so many artists in pop music right now, does it ever become difficult just being a person of integrity or a person with a voice?
NB: I write hooky songs that people remember and it’s about having a good time, but at some point you have to ask: “Is it about me or is it about people?” I remember when I began singing, I didn’t look like other female pop singers. I wasn’t doing what they were doing. I got asked so many times, “Why aren’t you dancing sexy? Why aren’t you pole dancing?” That’s not me. When I go to Vegas, I look at those girls with admiration, but that’s not me. [Laughs]
CG: As someone who recognizes your fans of all backgrounds, what kind of impact does the bullying or suicides have on you, as an artist?
NB: It’s terrible. I’ve lost friends to suicide. People don’t feel like they have a way out, and they feel trapped. We have to find a way to let people be themselves. The song “Recover” is about that. Some of the lyrics: “Been torn apart, got so many scratches and scars, maybe they won’t all go away, but they’ll fade…” are about those feelings. The whole world has been through everything; from the financial crisis to the war, the world has been through it all. It’s about reevaluating our values and finding who we really are, and loving yourself when you find it.
CG: Do you think that music connects everyone?
NB: I think that it can, but when it does, you become a commodity, and that becomes very hard. I’m singing these songs, and people know who I am, but I’m also a woman and I’ve got lots of dreams.
CG: What kind of feelings do you hope to evoke when people listen to your music?
NB: It’s the greatest compliment when a song I wrote becomes something special to someone else. It becomes “their song.” When I get to Dinah, if the ladies are singing along with me, it will be heaven. I love to feel inspired and connected.
CG: Why do you still do this?
NB: Some people want to be famous. I want to feel connected. You can be a straight woman or a lesbian, but you can still connect because labels don’t really mean anything. We are all women and there’s a magic and power that makes us women. I want to see us confident and free.