Major whooping occurred at SAE HQ this week as Film alumnus Nathalie Kraemer called in to share her news of signing with Mojo Records. She shares her creative journey with us in this insightful interview:
Of course mega congratulations! Tell us more…
Thank you! I’m so excited, it’s been an amazing week. Miles Jones is a Producer Manager who owns the Mojo Record label. We share the same vibes and we’re working together now to really nail the sound down before pushing forward as a team.
How does it feel to have worked solo and now to be part of a team?
It’s been great on my journey doing my own thing, but the more I delve into it I can see that being a lone wolf is just not the way forwards. It feels more collaborative and creative to be part of a team. Everyone has their own areas of expertise and it’s amazing to see it all going together. It pushes me to really focus in on my role and better myself, as everyone on the team is going to contribute to the process and final song.
What was the final step to being signed?
Well I spent a day working with the Mojo team to see how we all got on. That was a definite test to ensure that our working chemistry was right and that we all understood the artistic message we wanted to portray. It went so well, we actually ended up producing what I think is my best work to date. I can’t wait to share it with the world.
What’s next in the process?
So our next steps will be producing more songs with them while they will try and license our songs, they have a grant writer on their team who will try and get funding for me and then we will grow together.
Amazing, so tell me, where did your creative journey begin?
I’d initially wanted to become a musical actress and thank goodness my mum said ‘no’ and steered me towards something that could offer me a less stressful way of sustaining myself. Instead I focused on my passion for animation and film, and discovered found SAE in Munich which is where I studied my BA in film, with two years in Munich and my final year in London. I then moved to Vancouver.
What’s your day job been?
I’ve used my skills in design and creativity and worked for two years full-time for a company as a graphic designer and have used any of my spare time to work on my music. Whilst the 9-5 technically slowed me down, it also financed the production of my films and formation of my website. My colleagues in the design agency all came together to lend their expertise so the job in the end could not have been more perfect at the time to keep my creative juices flowing and my music progressing how it needed to. I’ve now switched to freelance graphic design which has been tough to build up a portfolio but worth it in the amount of extra time and freedom that I’ve had to create.
Have there been any moments of serendipity which has pushed you forwards and made you smile?
It’s funny how both aspects of my life have come together - I got the graphic design job after meeting the owner of a company at a party where I was singing jazz . So I honestly believe that even if it’s not directly related to what you’re doing, the more you put yourself out there and into the world, the higher your chances of creating new opportunities for yourself.
So it’s all about getting out there and connecting with people…
Yes, definitely. No matter how many people say to focus online, you need to get outside and meet people, experience their lives and let them experience your art - because that’s the way you’re going to grow as an artist.
How did you get into music?
I’ve always been in a band - literally one cover band to the next. Five or six years ago I tried writing songs because my boyfriend back then was a sound engineer but he made fun of the lyrics to the point where I just stopped and didn’t write again for years.
Well that guy is going to be kicking himself now…
Yes he’s seen my videos and really likes them. My gosh if I’d have listened to him I’d never have picked up a piece of paper and written a single word again.
So what prompted you to write again?
When I moved to Canada I moved to singing jazz covers which I absolutely loved. Then three years ago I just suddenly thought, ‘why aren’t I writing my own music?’ To research it a bit more I found a songwriting meet up and I went along. The people there were really encouraging and that positivity was all I needed. I realised that I wasn’t that bad and went out properly on my own and wrote more and more.
Where did the leap to recording come from?
I was performing one time and a producer heard my voice, really liked it and he ended up financing my first EP. It was amazing.
Do you miss the cover singing?
I actually loved singing the covers as it’s sharing good music which always needs to be done. But I love the therapy of writing my own music, it fulfils a need within me.
How often do you make sure you write?
For me I see writing, as exercising - it’s something I need to practice every single day. So even if I feel tired or uninspired I always make sure that I sit down and write at some point because then I’m practicing my craft and pushing myself forwards.
What’s your songwriting process?
Because I write every day I have a really huge notebook which is chock full of potential lyrics - I know at some point they’ll make sense and come together in a good way. I always remember the emotions I felt when I wrote them down and it’s like a catalogue of options to me. When the mood hits me, I make time to sit down and complete a song fully.
Is branding important?
Yes, definitely. Although that said it’s been a long journey to get to where I am today and my first website looked rubbish! It’s a lot of trial and error and I spent a lot of time researching the music industry, who I believed were my competitors. Through my work as a graphic designer I really spent a long time debating colours and shades and my colleagues came together to help me formulate my website via SquareSpace. I’m sure it will organically change and grow in the years to come but I’m definitely happy with the professional feel of it as a solid base.
What’s the one thing that you would change about the industry if you could?
I would change ban record companies for only judging a new candidate on how many followers they have. One place told me that they only accept demos from people with over 50k likes. Shocking. What if someone doesn’t know how to market themselves? They could be the next Bowie and yet they would pass by.