When you ask someone what their hobbies are, you often get answers like cooking, writing, drawing, dancing, video games, sports, etc. When people ask me, I often say concerts. I love hearing live music. Listening to a song on a train with your headphones in, to me, will never beat hearing the song boom through speakers on a huge lighted stage while thousands of people sing along. It gets your adrenaline pumping, your heart racing. Sometimes it’s so magical it gives you goosebumps or makes you cry. Live music can really be that powerful. Unless you are listening to a track from a concert or a concert film, you often don’t get that live sound in studio recorded music. Natalie Shay decided to face that challenge head on, and though there are no screaming crowds in her music, her new single “Whole of Me” still has that uncut vibe.
20 year old Natalie Shay is an indie pop/rock singer & songwriter from North London. She began getting classically trained in guitar at age five and her musical talents led her to get accepted into the prestigious BRIT school, whose alumni includes successful singers Jessie J and Adele. Upon finishing at BRIT, she began a solo career and performed to sold out crowds at venues like Brooklyn Bowl, The Roundhouse, O2 Arena, and Royal Albert Hall. Along with playing these famous venues, she has won many awards like The Guardian Music Award and the London Music Award and shared the stage with artists like Glen Matlock, Alex Francis, and Sex Pistols. She has received acclaim from publications like Clash, The Line of Best Fit, and Billboard, and her songs have made it onto the iTunes charts many times. She even got to be a member of the UK jury on 2018’s Eurovision contest. She has been influenced by artists like alt-J, Mumford and Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, but most of all, Little Comets, who she says are the “best songwriters in the world”. With the help of producer Pete Dowsett (The Vaccines), Shay hopes to fuse the indie pop sound with live instrumentation in order to create a raw and unique sound. While “Whole of Me” leans more towards the live sound than the pop sound, it is beautiful nonetheless.
The song begins with a low, mellow electric guitar riff and a faint buzz of an amplifier. It’s got a live sound just like Shay wanted, and it’s very moody. She begins to sing. Her chest voice is sharp and dynamic, larger than life with a slight echo to it. She has so much control over her singing. In the second verse, a subtle bass is added and then some superb harmonies. Though there are still not many instruments playing by the second chorus, the song still sounds so much fuller and louder than its beginning. Altogether, the song is simple with its instrumentation. And even with its seemingly loud and powerful moments, “Whole of Me” feels like a lullaby. Something raw and vulnerable.
Love will burn like fire,
so sit and watch me burn,
burnt by my desire,
a lesson I won’t learn.
While love is one of the best feelings in the word, it often makes people go head over heels before they see the cracks in the foundation. While the burn of love is enjoyable, the burn of unrequited love or heartbreak is horrible. It seems she keeps experiencing the bad burn over and over again, never learning from her previous mistakes.
And I swear you got that one thing,
and it’s killing me inside,
but the more that I will take things,
the more you’ll want to hide.
There’s just something about this person that completely pulls her in and makes her love them, but that love is not what she wants it to be. She’s afraid the more she loves this person, the more they’ll want to distance themselves from her.
So don’t be a stranger and,
you never wanted what I could see.
And don’t leave me hopeless,
but you never wanted the whole of me.
She doesn’t want them to leave or break her heart, but she also knows that they don’t want all of her or love her for everything she is. It’s a big contradiction. It seems she can’t decide.
So you want my body,
I’ll give it to you for now.
Do you know the way that breaks me?
I just like having you around.
Though she knows they only want her physically, she is willing to do that for them simply because that’s the only way they will want to spend time with her. As much as it breaks her heart, she does it for them.