SOMEHOW  album reviews 2018



''Almost forty years after Natasha England first came into our lives she’s given us her most complete, satisfying and important set of songs in her career. We can only hope that she continues making music of this calibre.''  (http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/MagSitePages/Review/11094/R/Natasha-England-CD-Somehow)

''The album is a masterclass in composition.......a fantastic collection of 13 songs which elegantly cross-genre and time.'' (https://fvreviews.com/2018/09/24/natasha-england-somehow)

''Natasha England has made a beautiful album full of emotion, bold vocals, and gorgeous melodies.....this album is seriously breathtaking....I loved every single second of this record and can’t even express just how inspiring it is to hear Natasha come back with such an immaculate & incredible album.'' (http://sleepingbagstudios.ca/natasha-england-somehow-album-sampler)

''Natasha England takes the unique authenticity of her lyrics and combines it with the enrapturing variety of her sound, to make the magical “Somehow”, a seriously great record that’s both accessible but exclusive enough to stand out amongst the crowd of other artists out there right now.'' (http://www.tunedloud.com/2018/10/03/natasha-england-somehow-meltingly-sublime)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



PENNYBLACKMUSIC  INTERVIEW 2008:

There was a lot of dross released in the early 80's. There, said it, upset a lot of people maybe, but it’s true. But there were a few artists that shone through. One such performer was Natasha as she was known then. There can’t be many men who watched Top Of The Pops religiously each Thursday who weren’t mesmerised by her when she appeared on the show for the first time singing ‘Iko Iko’. And it wasn’t just because Natasha had made a better job of updating the Shirley Ellis song than the Belle Stars who stalled at number 35 with their reading of the song the same year that Natasha took her recording to number 10. Here was a stunning woman and no doubt that evening many a young man's thoughts were locked in those first few moments when they had seen Natasha for the first time. 

Natasha’s first album, ‘Captured’, was released later that year and I’d put money on the fact that if any album was purchased in 1982 because the cover was so attractive then it had to be ‘Captured’. But the music contained within proved that Natasha was more than just a pretty face and a perfect pair of legs. Here was a woman who could sing and not just in the style of her hit singles. In many ways she reminded me of another young lass who hailed from Scotland, Lulu. Both were diminutive girls with big powerful voices but where the comparisons end is that Natasha was also composing many of her own songs. Not only that but it appears that Natasha was involved in other aspects of the music business before she actually started recording. 

With Natasha only troubling the charts with two singles ( 'The Boom Boom Room' swiftly followed 'Iko Iko' into the charts ) and her debut album, in spite of that cover, only selling enough to reach around position 50 in the album charts it’s not surprising that many thought Natasha was a mere flash in the pan. 1982 was her year and that was that. 

The sad fact is that if those people who bought Natasha’s first album had hung in there for another couple of years they would have been surprised just how good her follow up album, ‘Don’t Walk Away’, which was released in 1985, was. Co-composing all ten songs showed that not only had this talented Scot grown as a songwriter but her vocals and delivery had matured more than we could have expected in a few short years. In short, it was a better album than ‘Captured’ and this was totally due to the fact that on ‘Don’t Walk Away’ Natasha (now billed as Natasha England, her full name) had ditched the cover versions and shown the world that she had the talent to record a whole album of original songs that still stand up over 20 years after she first recorded them. 

It hasn’t helped that details, unless you knew where to look, of what Natasha has been doing since the late 80's have been thin on the ground. None of her work has been available on CD and it seemed that she had simply vanished. 

Then, out of the blue a month or so back we received a double CD compilation of all her work, ‘Back From The Mists Of Time’, which not only included both the above albums in their entirety but also all of Natasha’s singles; something those of us who still remember that Top Of The Pops performance had given up all hope of ever seeing. But more than that, it seems that after an eventful life Natasha is ready to perform once more and there is even talk of an album of new recordings. There is a lot more to Natasha England than a couple of great albums and a handful of well-received singles as you will find out when you read what Natasha had to tell us when we were fortunate enough to ask her a few questions recently. 


PB : 'Back From The Mists Of Time’, the double CD compilation which has just been released, is a pretty comprehensive collection of your work. Is everything that was generally available to date included on those CDs ? 

NE : The 'Back From The Mists of Time' anthology contains all of my releases since 1979. There are a still a few unreleased tracks from early album sessions that were not quite finished that I hope to finish and release at some future date. 

PB : There’s even a couple of singles on the collection which were released before 1982, the year that you first tasted chart success. The Flirts single from 1979 is the earliest. Was that your first ever recording? 

NE : The Flirts single release in 1979 was my first general release. This was released on Magnet Records. This did get airplay. In fact I believe Simon Bates of Radio One actually played the title track twice in succession on a BBC road show, saying "that was so good I am going to play it again." At that time the BBC had to see some movement in the chart to continue to play list the track and unfortunately Magnet Records distribution screwed up and they did not get the singles into the shops until three to four weeks after the first Radio One airplay by which time the Beeb had stopped play listing it. I left Magnet and did not release any more singles with them. 

That was around the time my then husband Bob and I set up our own independent record label, Towerbell Records. I wanted freedom to express myself in many different styles of music so I parted with the other girls in the Flirts and went solo. It was then I started to release on the Towerbell label. 

There are still several recordings of original songs that I did solo and others with various bands in the years prior to 1979. None of this material has been on general release as yet. 

PB : How did the compilation come about and why issue it now ? It’s been over 25 years since your biggest hit, ‘Iko Iko', and there must have been many requests for your albums to be re-issued over the years. 

NE : Yes, there has been many requests for my albums to be re-issued digitally but because of my contractual problems my hands were tied. I had not been represented for 25 years and none of my material had been transferred onto digital. It was all effectively 'lost in time'. 

After years of contractual/legal wrangles I at long last through the default of the record company and my manager and ex husband got the rights back on all of my material. I was determined to re-launch my career and finish what I started when I got breast cancer at the end of 2004. Yet again my plans had to be put on hold. 

After my illness and my subsequent recovery I was more determined than ever. I now had the rights back to all of my music and more importantly I had my multi tracks that I had carried around with me for years waiting on this opportunity. I could now at long last have this material digitally re-issued. 

It all came about with the help of Ewan Mckenzie from Platform Records and Alan Connor. I wanted to re-launch my career and I thought that I should get a MySpace site together to help my profile and put me out there again. When I went to set this up I was shocked and pleased to find that a MySpace had already been set up for me. Ewan Mckenzie had set this up and Alan Connor had contributed and between them the site was up and running. They had both been trying to find me for years with no luck. I had lived both in the UK and Canada over the years and had moved around a lot, and despite all of their efforts they had still not managed to trace me. I had tears in my eyes when I saw this MySpace.I got in touch with both Ewan and Alan and we met up in London. These guys knew more about me than I did and they were so dedicated to my music. I was introduced to Dean Murphy by Alan and Dean transferred my quarter inch masters and my two inch multi track reels to digital ready for mastering. 

I did not have the multi track to 'Iko Iko' so I re-recorded the track [Mel Collins again did sax] and I had several different mixes done, nine in total including both radio and club mixes which I released along with the original 1982 version this year prior to the release of the double CD. 

PB : Did you have any input into what went into the collection and how it was presented? 

NE : Yes, thankfully I had total control over what went on this anthology. I also worked closely with Ewan in deciding the layout of the artwork and I provided all of the photos. Ewan Mckenzie and Alan Connor were instrumental in getting this entire project off the ground. 

PB : You had some talented and big names backing you back in the 80's. Did you request those musicians knowing of their reputations or was it just luck? 

NE : Yes, I had extremely talented musicians who worked with me on my albums. I knew of all of these musicians and I requested everyone of them. When I recorded 'Iko Iko' it was on Tom Newman's 16 track mobile which was plugged into Richard Branson's Barge Studio in Little Venice. Tom couldn't get a parking space on his road in Maida Vale so we cadged some electricity from the Barge. Tom had originally set up the Barge Recording Studio and the Manor Studios for Richard Branson and he had produced and played on 'Tubular Bells for Mike Oldfield. Anyway I wanted Graham Broad to drum on 'Iko' and he was on tour with Paris. I tried two other drummers but they were not right so I waited on Graham coming off tour. I was right to wait because Graham, who is now playing with Roger Waters, is an incredible drummer and person and when he played it all just fitted into place. His drumming on 'Iko Iko' contributed greatly to the song's success along with Brad Lang on bass and of course the wonderfully talented Mel Collins on sax. 

PB : You were involved in the music business before you actually started singing, weren’t you? Weren’t you involved in a company promoting some pretty well-known artists? 

NE : When I first came to London to pursue a career in music I joined a band. I had to pay the rent and have a regular paying job so I figured the best thing for me would be to work in the industry that I would hopefully be involved in as an artist. I landed my first job as secretary to Tony De Fries, David Bowie's then manager. I worked on the 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' album and tours. I worked with the best in the industry during the day and at night I performed with my band. 

During that time through David I also worked with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. I also helped set up Mainman for Bowie (Bowie's 70's production and management company-Ed) with Nicky Graham from Sony/CBS and Dianna Graham from BMG 

We shared an office with Gary Glitter and his managing director and producer Mike Leander. At Gary's request I appeared for the first time on Top of the Pops at the side of the stage wearing a Gary Glitter T-shirt on Gary's debut performance for 'Rock n' Roll Part 1'...Little did we know then what was in store for him. 

I went on to work with Billy Gaff, Rod Stewart’s manager. We shared an office above the Marquee in Wardour Street with the Marquee management and the managers of Status Quo and Rory Gallagher. 

At the 1973 Reading Festival we took over the whole of the back stage as the Faces were headlining, supported by Status Quo, Rory Gallagher and Strider. 

I was still in a band and played the Marquee every other week, Sometimes the support couldn't make it and Jack Barry from the Marquee would pop over to my office and ask me to do the support that night with my band.I would immediately get on the phone and sure enough we would be on stage that night. It was whilst I was working with Billy Gaff and playing with my band that I met Bob England, my soon-to-be-husband, who came to work as a booker/agent for Gaff in his agency. 

It was whilst I was working with Billy Gaff that I was headhunted by Tony Visconti, David Bowie's producer, and Roger Myers, Argent's manager, to set up Good Earth Promotions. It was at my suggestion that we brought Bob England to Good Earth and we both ran the agency /promotions company together. Jon Moss who went on to drum with Culture Club worked for us as an agent alongside Paul King who went on to manage Tears For Fears and Level 42 amongst others. 

We promoted the Average White Band's' first UK and European tour after they left to live in the States. We also promoted Kool and the Gang, the Commodores with Lionel Richie, Chuck Berry, James Brown and Jerry Lee Lewis amongst others. 

I spotted the Darts whilst at a club with Jon Moss. The Darts were a breath of fresh air in amongst a sea of punk bands. I loved them and decided there and then that we would manage the band. So it was then that Bob and I went into management. We left Good Earth and set up on our own. 

We started managing the Darts and we signed them to Magnet Records. They went on to sell millions of records with tracks such as 'Daddy Kool', 'It's Raining', 'Come Back My Love', 'The Boy from New York City' and many more singles and hit albums. We were not happy with how Magnet were treating the Darts at this time. We felt that the record company was not spending enough time or money on the Darts and that they deserved more. We wanted to release them from Magnet on to our soon-to-be new label Towerbell but unfortunately Michael Levy [now Sir Levy of the cash for honours scandal] made this very difficult for us and the Darts. He made the release clauses so bad that for a while after the Darts could not release their material and Towerbell was unable to help. Thankfully now after a very long absence the Darts are making all of their material available and are rumoured to be in the studio recording some new material. 

PB : Could you tell us more about co-managing Towerbell Records, the label that released your most successful records? 

NE : Towerbell Records was set up by myself and Bob. We also set up Rockney Records for Chas and Dave, who we had just started managing. Their first release on the Rockney label was 'Rabbit'. We had previously had to deal with other record companies in particular, Magnet Records. We found ourselves doing a lot of the record company's job so we decided that we might as well have our own label. When we formed Towerbell and Rockney Records we were one of only two independent record labels then...Towerbell and Stiff Records. 

PB : After a couple of albums and your hit singles you seemed to drop out of the public eye and music altogether. Why was that. Was it intentional ? 

NE : No this was far from intentional. I was actually prevented from releasing records due to contractual disputes with my husband. I had put my career on hold in order to further Bob's ambition. He relied on my business acumen to help create his dream. I had given up several years of my ambition to create his. We were doing really well and I took the opportunity to get back to what I had come to London to do i.e. sing, perform and write. I had an opportunity to sing lead with the Flirts and I took it. Bob found out through the grapevine and loved what we were doing. He said, "Why get a manager ? We are both managers. I will manage you." If only I had known then what was to transpire... 

I went on to follow a solo career and I had several releases on Towerbell Records that proved very popular in the clubs, but I could not get any significant radio airplay. It was not until I released 'Iko Iko' that I got the airplay I needed. 'Iko Iko' was the highest climber and the highest entry in the charts and sold over a million copies. I went on to have chart success with 'The Boom Boom Room' and the first album 'Captured'. 

By now things were not good in my marriage. Bob was putting a lot of pressure on me not to continue as an artist. Having put children on hold because he needed my business acumen he was now putting pressure on me to have children. I was several years younger than him and I wanted to have a year to establish myself and then have children but he was not dealing with my success and he kept up the pressure. It was then that I realised just how selfish he had been. This put a great strain on our marriage and how I felt towards him. I went on to release a new album, 'Don't Walk Away', a bit of an open book to my life at the time. I released a few singles from that album but yet again I was not getting the airplay I needed. The rot had set in in my marriage and Bob and I ended up divorcing. That's when the fun started. Bob punished me for leaving him and he made it very difficult for me to continue in my career. 

I couldn't sign with another label until I was out of my contract and I was unable to release any new material. The time I spent unable to release material was the kiss of death to my career. It took me many years to sort this mess out and I discovered that any money I had made had been misappropriated. Bob England left the country in a blaze of publicity owing a considerable amount to various people including me. He spent over six years out of the jurisdiction of the English courts living in Antigua. 

My hands were tied so I got back to the real world and nature, riding and rescuing horses from the meat man and saving chickens from battery hen farms. I was far happier standing in six foot of horse shit than dealing with the bullshit in the music industry. 

I never lost my passion for music and throughout my enforced absence from the music industry I continued to write and perform in various different bands both here and in Canada where I lived ,wrote and played music for a couple of years. My writing partner in Canada was Gregg Deckert. Gregg, who is a pianist and keyboardist, had worked along side my best friend Jodie Linscott, a percussionist, on a Dave Gilmour tour. After Dave's tour ended Gregg was asked to play with Paul McCartney here in the UK but he wanted to return to Canada. We had been writing here and when Gregg went back to Canada I decided as I could not do a lot here that I would go to Canada and continue my writing with him. I have several albums worth of material that I wrote over this time. 

PB : You co-wrote all of the songs on your second album, ‘Don’t Walk Away’, but only a handful on the first. There’s talk of a new album from you soon. Are the songs originals on that too? 

NE : I have always been a writer and I have several albums worth of material that I have written during my absence from the music industry. I love music passionately and I love all genres of music, as long as it touches me in some way and is believable and honest. I hope that I will be in a position very soon to record a new album. I so want this opportunity to show what I am really capable of. I need to get a major label or a manager on board who can arrange the resources to enable me to get back in the studio. I am also working with a young guy called Robert Logan. Robert is making a bit of a name for himself. He is a pianist/keyboardist/programmer who is very progressive. He pushes the boundaries of electronic music. We have several tracks that we have written that are ambient and progressive. I am hopeful to release several of these collaborations in the next few months. 

PB : What direction are the new songs taking? You’ve covered a whole range of genres in the past. 

NE : I will always enjoy the freedom of the big ballad to express pure emotion along with the energy of dance and the moods of jazz and blues and every other style in between. 

There are so many different emotions that I wish to express and I never wanted to be restricted or limited in my mood or expression so therefore my choice of music is and will always remain eclectic. 

PB : You’ve recently been on stage again. How was that after not performing for so long ? 

NE : I had my first significant live performance in 25 years on the 29th August at the Retrofest Festival in Strathclyde Country Park in Scotland. My band all travelled up from London to Scotland the day before by air, train and plane and all seven of us stayed at my Mum's house in Hamilton, both inside the house and outside in tents in the garden. It is quite ironic that the first major gig that I have done after so many years was in my hometown. I have come full circle. 

It was wonderful to be back on stage. I had the best time. We performed live and did some hits from the 80's alongside some new material that I have written with Robert Logan. There was so much energy on stage and the band were incredible and I sang my heart out. The audience loved us. I can't wait to do more live performances. I have another festival in Eastbourne on Saturday 13th September. There will be several bands/artists from the 80's performing. This is a charity gig on behalf of a little boy who has an incurable decease and who has a short time to live. The proceeds will go towards sending him on the holiday of his lifetime. 

PB : Do you have any plans to tour the new album when it is released? 

NE : I would love more than anything to complete a new album and be able to go on tour to promote this album. I have to find the resources to record and produce this and I am working on that now. Material is not a problem as I have so many songs that I have written over several years along with up to the minute new material that i am writing now. I also have the musicians that I would like to perform on this album ready and waiting. I just need to find the money/backing to do this new album. Oh well, where there's a will there's a way. Nothing is impossible if you truly believe. I will find a way. 

PB : What song do you feel is the best you’ve ever written or sung? Or do you feel that your best work is yet to come ? 

NE : There are so many songs that I have written that touch a chord in different ways. I love the big ballads as I can have the space to really express the emotion behind the song.'Stay with Me' from the second album is a prime example and a very poignant song. It was the last song I wrote before I left my husband. 

'I Casually Strolled By' is a song from the first album that I particularly like as it encapsulates my real life experience as a young woman working in Wardour Street in the Soho area of London and having to deal with all the shady characters that lived and frequented this area. I also love the sleazy jazz overtures with the trumpet and flute. 'Love's Not A Game' is one of several ballads. I wrote in Canada. It instills the message "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." This song was an honest reflection of my life, loves, hopes and fears and a true justification and reminder of who I am. 'Homeland' on the second album is a very powerful song. This was me re-discovering my true self and my true identity during a very emotional and heart breaking period. 

I have many songs that I have written that have not yet been released that I am very proud of. Some of them could be big hits for other established or new artists. I love writing. It is how I express myself and I hope to get the chance to bring all of this material to a much bigger audience. Only then can the people hear them and decide for themselves.  I am always looking to write 'the song'. I believe there is much more inside of me that has still to surface. My songs will always be the first to tell the true story.  So yes I believe there is many more songs inside of me and my best is yet to come.  All I ask is the chance to prove my worth. 




PENNYBLACKMUSIC  INTERVIEW 2011:

’Deeper Into Reality’ is the first of many, we hope, collaborations between Natasha England and producer/performer Robert Logan. Natasha, who first came to prominence with her cover of ‘Iko, Iko’ way back in 1982, has had a remarkable musical career and she gave a detailed account of her early days in the business and also filled in the gaps as to what she had been doing up to the release of the excellent ‘Back from the Mists of Time’ compilation when we interviewed her around the time of that double CD three years ago. 

Already then Natasha was talking about some new songs she had written and now, with the release of ‘Deeper Into Reality’, we finally get to hear why she was so enthusiastic about them. Natasha has never been one to rest of her laurels and, although there is no doubt that this latest album is the strongest and most thought-provoking set of songs Natasha has issued so far, it’s also the one where she pushes the boundaries of the electronic genre even further. 

Natasha is still passionate, really passionate, about the music she makes. Considering that she is one of the few true innovators we have Natasha must at times wonder why her music is not receiving the attention it so rightly deserves yet it doesn’t prevent her from still producing music the likes of which no other artists are making. 

As I write these words Lady Gaga is on the radio for about the fourth time today so far with her version of Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ which the (admittedly talented) singer has renamed ‘Born This Way’ and we’re told once again how inventive Gaga is and what a great innovator she is. Have these people never heard of Natasha England? Never heard her music? Or do those that have still have Natasha labelled as a pretty blonde who hit it lucky with a cover version years ago? Personally, although ‘Iko, Iko’, opened many doors for Natasha I feel it’s become a millstone for her. The ‘Back from the Mists of Time’ collection must have opened up a few ears and eyes as to how talented and genre-breaking Natasha was back in the eighties and now with ‘Deeper Into Reality’ there is no doubt that Natasha has kept all her integrity, vision and passion through the years. 

The album is, in a word, captivating. While the overall sound firmly belongs to the electronic genre both Natasha and Logan really push boundaries on the album to produce a collection of songs that just keep drawing the listener back time and time again. You don’t have to be a synth-pop/electro fan to appreciate ‘Deeper Into Reality’; the songs indeed have a depth to them that is usually missing from this genre and while Natasha has always been vocally strong she has never sounded better than she does on this album. It really is a career-peak. 

Natasha has proven that she’s no one trick pony. Her past accomplishments have already shown that. Apart from having one of the most appealing, passionate and versatile voices in contemporary music Natasha is also a songwriter who has never been given the recognition she deserves. Hopefully, with the release of ‘Deeper Into Reality’ and the fact that with this album a whole new generation of music lovers will discover her for the first time, Natasha along with Logan will be rewarded for their efforts with the attention and airplay that these new songs should attract. 

Natasha kindly found time to answer a few questions for us about how the album came about and what she had been doing in the three years since we last spoke. 


PB: We last interviewed you nearly three years ago. Apart from recently releasing your new album, 'Deeper Into Reality' how have you been spending that time? 

NE: Is it really 3 years? it seems like yesterday. During this time I have written and recorded the new album 'Deeper Into Reality' with Robert Logan. We have had to do this over a period of time due to mine and Robert's commitments and schedules. Robert has had his own albums to write, record and perform . He wrote several film tracks and was also involved in remixing Grace Jones and supporting her at the the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls last year. He also re-mixed Faithless, Siobhan Donaghy of the Sugarbabes and Grace Jones during this time. Robert is very creative and productive. 

On the days we did get together we always wrote and recorded a new track for the album. Ideally I would have liked for us to have had exclusive time to concentrate on the music, writing and recording this album without any time limit interference...I felt that we were on a roll and I just wanted to get on with it. I must admit that I found it quite frustrating having to wait sometimes weeks at time to hook up with him to continue the album. When I start something I just want to finish it. I believed then and I still believe now that 'Deeper Into Reality' was well well worth the wait and I am very proud of this album. Last month I recorded a video for 'Stop Doing Nothing' which you can see now on YouTube. 

I have been back to Canada to work and record with another musical partner of mine, Gregg Deckert. Gregg played and toured with Dave Gilmour and prior to that he was in Bad Company. He is another exceptionally talented pianist/keyboard player who has worked with the best of them. We have written several albums of material over the years both here and in Canada going back to the late 80's and 90's and I hope to include several of these tracks on an album I plan to do with Tom Newman. 

I have been to Ireland to hook up with Tom, who produced my original hits, 'Iko Iko' and the 'Captured' album. Tom is very keen to do another album with me and I am looking forward to working with him again. Tom produced and played on 'Tubular Bells' and has worked with many world class artists. I have the utmost respect for him as an artist and a producer and I plan to record a more organic album with him in Ireland this summer. 

It will include more acoustic and band numbers and I will draw on my folk and blues roots to create a more contemporary sound. I have also been collaborating and writing with other artists and musicians during this period and I hope to include some of these tracks on this new album. I have not stopped writing during this time and I hope to release all of this material in the near future. 

PB: You mentioned in our last interview with you that you were working with Robert Logan then. Were those songs the ones that now feature on 'Deeper Into Reality'? 

NE: 'Deeper Into Reality' was the result of a full collaboration between myself and Robert Logan with the exception of Track 8, 'How Do You Like It?', which I wrote in Canada back in 1988 with Gregg Deckert. This song was originally written as a 'Rock' song well before 'The Wall Came Down'. We could not get it played on air back then because of the Gulf War and the song's lyrical and subject content. With Robert and mine's version of' 'How Do You Like it?', Robert used simplicity and depth in his instrumentation to capture and interpret the mood of the song perfectly. The song and its lyrics were significant then in the fight for injustice and it is still significant today....Nothing has changed... 

The current single off this album is 'Stop Doing Nothing' and the video for this can now be seen on YouTube. It is the antithesis of female pop video, no flesh or gimmicks just the song and its meaning. I have used some hard hitting images on this video and I won't make any apologies for the truth. The album draws on many different genres to create what I hope is something quite original, intelligent and cutting edge. It can be both punchy,yet ambient and haunting in parts. Lyrically I just tell it how it how it is... 

PB: I wouldn't say that this album completely abandons the Natasha England sound of old, as you have always covered many genres in your music, but would you agree that Deeper Into Reality' is the most experimental album you have made? 

NE: Yes, I believe that this album is very innovative and cutting edge. I have not heard any other artist/s that sound quite like Robert and I. 

The beauty of this album is that I had total freedom to express myself at its deepest most conscious level. That combined with the depth of Robert's instrumentation and sounds gave me the perfect vehicle to do this in the most natural way. This combined with the pure ability of Robert's musical talents created an album which is both brave and experimental. 

We took risks but we took them instinctively. Above all this album is honest and it expresses real emotions about real issues. 

From the instant I met Robert and his wonderful family, we just clicked. Robert Logan is an extremely talented and spiritual young man with a deep understanding of life. He is original and honest and he is not afraid to push the boundaries in his expression of the truth. I was transported and free to lose myself in the mood and the passion and let the melodies and the words flow. Writing and recording this album with Robert was a total pleasure. We just channelled and pressed the record button. When it's right, it's right and it could not have been a more natural process. I have found in Robert a true kindred spirit. 

PB: It's an album that while never losing sight of your past accomplishments is pushing new boundaries in the electronic field. Is this yet another side to Natasha England that you will explore more in future recordings? 

NE: There are many sides to me. I will always be eclectic in my choice of music. I love blues folk, jazz, rock, r&b, house, garage, club. classical and so on...Anything that conveys a true emotion and touches the soul I'm hooked. If the music lifts the spirit, makes you think, or calls you to dance I'm there. As long as I believe in the feeling behind the voice or the mood or angst of the instrumentation...It could be 'That guitar' that hits you in the gut as it cries out with emotion and pain pulling at your heart strings or it might be that voice that expresses so much of life, love and loss. Maybe it is the depth of the bass or the beat of the drums alone that beckons you. Whatever it is music is the food of life and it can calm the beast. 

I am very passionate about all music and my interests span many genres. I keep a very open mind...but I must be free to write, sing and to express my feelings. Music is all powerful. It crosses all language barriers and can be used for good or bad. It can kill or cure, calm or incite. Artists have a duty of care and they should not abuse this by selling their souls for money and fame. 

If through my music I can make someone feel good or help others to confront their demons, deal with them and move on in a positive way then it would all have been worth it and there would have been a good reason for all of this. I would have done a good job. 

Oh , back to part of the original question. Yes I fully intend to do more tracks and another album with Robert Logan as soon as time permits and we can both be in the same place at the same time...and more to the point I believe the feeling is mutual... 

PB: When you write a song with Robert do you collaborate together or do you handle lyrics for example while Robert takes care of the music? 

NE: I like to work and write spontaneously and when I work with Robert nothing is planned. I don't open my mouth until the record button is on. I know through experience that when I hear a sound or chord I just lose myself in the music and the music evokes the mood and I go wherever that mood takes me. I have lost so many new ideas and songs by not having the record on. When I am at the mic about to write and record, I will not open my mouth or my mind until I know the record button is on. I know what I want musically and I will suggest different chords, sounds and rhythms. I play everything badly, but enough to write and create atmosphere. I played harmonica on 'How Do You Like It?' 

I know what I want and I am fortunate to work with talented musicians that understand what I want to achieve. The melody and the words came naturally and Robert and I just channel and follow each other arranging the song as we go. Sometime I would start to sing into the mic creating a melody and story line and Robert would then follow me, complimenting my mood and expression. 
Of course, I am aware of the emotion, melody and lyrics as I perform and we record but it is not until we have finished the recording the song that I then fully understand exactly what I was singing about, what it truly meant. 
It is like I am transported to another place. 

I love improvisation and that's how I write. I prefer to work like this as it is all so natural. From the moment of conception we did not change one word, melody, arrangement or movement on any of the tracks on this album. I may have written an extra verse or added some backing vocals afterwards or Robert would maybe add another part but once recorded we did not change anything including the vocals. The song was there at birth and we had captured the moment. 

PB: You've been involved in many aspects of the music business for many years now. 'Deeper Into Reality' sounds so contemporary I'm sure listeners who haven't heard your past music will have problems believing you were making music as far back as the late seventies. You've had no problems it seems with keeping your music fresh and exciting. 

NE: My passion is what keeps the music fresh and exciting. Back in the eighties I was always coming up with innovative ideas but I was prevented from doing certain things by my record label who were not prepared to take a risk and break the mould. After I had a hit with 'Iko Iko' the BBC seemed to have put me in a box...blonde, legs, puppet...At that time the BBC were so powerful and the labels courted them for airplay. They did not want to offend them so they did pander to certain suggestions. 

At one point whilst planning a new single release and choosing a track I was so frustrated by the label's lack of support for me doing something very original and different that I actually said to my record label, “Why don't you just cut the crap and ask the BBC what I should do next?” I had a constant fight to be free to express myself. I had several ideas that were not supported by the record label at that time which several months later I would witness another artist having a big hit with. Back then I felt like a very sad caged animal. 

With music I have never followed any rules. How can you be free to express yourself when your hands are tied and your mouth has been gagged? I never did like restrictions...never will. 

PB: Given that ‘Deeper Into Reality’ is such a remarkable album will you work again with Robert on future recordings? 

NE: I most certainly will work with Robert again. We have a wonderful working relationship and it's fun. We are definitely two of a kind when it comes to writing and recording. He is an incredibly talented young man who is not afraid to experiment and push the boundaries. He is most modest with it. Whilst working together he would often after we had just finished a new track thank me for inspiring him. I would smile and say, “But you inspired me too.” We brought the best out in each other and we have a very strong spiritual link. I so look forward to our next collaboration. 

PB: The next step now after the release and warm reception of 'Deeper Into Reality' must be to tour the album? You mentioned in our last interview that you would like to tour when the album came out. So is that likely to happen? 
NE: I would love to tour with this album. Nothing compares to performing and singing live. There's no bullshit just you and the audience. If they love it you will know and if they don't you will know. No media or spin. Fortunately whenever I have played live I have always had a great reception. We are currently setting up a series of gigs to include some intimate shows along with some festival dates. 

Northern Pride has shown an interest in me performing at their event on 16th July in Newcastle and I am hopeful that I may get the chance to perform at the Manchester Pride late August. I have always gone down well with the gay community and I love playing to such a loyal and appreciative audience.The more live shows the better. Our first gig has been confirmed for Saturday April 9th at London's New Cross Inn. 

PB: Lyrics are not always the strongest part of the electronic/ambient genre but 'Deeper Into Reality' has some really powerful lyrics, not least on lead single, 'Stop Doing Nothing', which make your songs more interesting. After all the let-downs you've come up against in the music business do you still feel that music and lyrics have the power to move and affect people? 

NE: I think my lyrics and the subject matter on all of the tracks is what has given us and this album an edge over other artists in this genre. Words can be so powerful and I think that it is important to express the true meaning and emotion behind the words. It has to be believable and convey the genuine feelings. I sing about things that matter and I tell it how it is. I am not scared of bearing my soul. and I am a very positive person who believes there is always a way out. Most songs are about love however you look at it...Love can conquer all. 

The message throughout is love over evil every time.This album is thought provoking .both directly and subliminally and I am challenging views and opinions on issues that are fundamental to us all in the hope that we can change things for the better. 

PB: As all the songs on 'Deeper Into Reality' are co-writes with Robert apart from 'How Do You Like It?' they are probably songs written over the last few years. Are the songs you wrote prior to meeting up with Robert ever going to be released? 

NE: I have several albums worth of songs that I have written over many years. These are good songs that I truly believe in and I fully intend to release sometime in the future. Unfortunately people and situations above my control have prevented me doing this up before now. 

PB: 'Deeper Into Reality' is an album that both you, Robert Logan and your fans can be proud of. Is this now a new start in your musical career and one where you will hopefully stay around by releasing more records in the near future? 

NE:  A 'Star Control' dance mix of 'Darkside' comes out on March 7th. You can hear it now on YouTube. It's an entirely different treatment to the album version. Apart from a re-release of 'Iko Iko' in 2007 (as it had never been available digitally), I have no intention of re-hashing any of my old songs. I have no shortage of new material and although I stay true to my roots I will always move with the times and be experimental. I love creating new songs and drawing on all of my musical experience. 
There are songs on my first album that with a slightly different production would fit very easily into today's market and could so easily be a hit for one of the more established artists. The only thing that dates them is the 80's production. Retro still remains cool. These songs were good then ,but this is now. I have grown and so have my fans. We are older and wise. That's all. 
I remain the same person. The only difference is that I have less chains to tie me down and at last I have total freedom to express myself and my music. All I ask is that this album and single gets the airplay then the people can decide for themselves. You can have the best track/song in the world and if no-one hears it then it does not exist... 
'Deeper Into Reality' has given me the chance to breathe again. It has been a long time coming and I am not finished yet...there is much more of me to come... 




SECRET SOUNDS  INTERVIEW 2013:

On September 16th 2013, Natasha released a cover of T-Rex’s Get It On, to commemorate the passing of one of rocks greatest frontmen, Marc Bolan. Natasha was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule and chat to us here at Secret Sounds.

SS: The song, Get It On, has met with the approval of the Marc Bolan Appreciation Society. Was their approval something you sought after or just an additional bonus to the recording?

NE: The Bolan Society the longest established Marc Bolan organisation in the world is run by Andrew Gardner.  Andrew, being familiar with me and my music, suggested I do a Bolan track. Get it On was a very significant track to me in many ways, so I chose to do that one.

SS: The recording coincides with the 36th anniversary of the tragic death of Marc Bolan. What is it about Bolan that drew you to commemorating his legacy?

NE: My love of everything Bolan and Andrew Gardner’s involvement and suggestion to cover a Bolan track. Growing up in Scotland I had the opportunity to see ‘Tyranosaurs Rex’ several times live and was captivated. At that time
T Rex were one of the few bands that actually took the time to tour Scotland. I recorded my version of Get it On several months ago but decided to release it now as part of the anniversary of Bolan’s death and birthday.

SS: Your choice of song is interesting. Get it On is considered a fairly iconic song in the T-Rex canon. What made you choose this song?

NE: Again my love of all that is Bolan and the fact that just prior to me moving to London from Scotland to follow my singer career, I won a big dance competition and one of the three tracks I danced to in the final and after winning was Get It On.This song has many good memories. When I went to London not only was I in a band playing support at the Marquee, whilst  working for David Bowie, I was also making a bit of a name for myself as a Go Go Dancer all through winning this dance competition and the press that followed. I was burning the candle at three ends. Amongst others I had a residency at The Chelsea Drug Store and Dolphin Square restaurant and complex where Princess Margaret had an apartment. There was a pole at The Chelsea Drug Store which I did use in my routine so I suppose I was one of the first Pole Dancers with Clothes on, albeit very little.  All thanks to Get it On that inspired me to dance.

SS: Was it quite challenging to make the song your own as well as retaining the essence of the original?

NE: When I decided to record Get it On I knew exactly how I would do it.  I had no intentions of copying the original as nothing can surpass the original. I wanted to do the song as a tribute to Bolan’s writing.  I did not listen to any other versions, I just knew that I wanted it to be laid back and I wanted to put my slant on it while doing the song justice.

SS: In regards to your music, your last album ‘Deeper Into Reality’ has met with almost universal acclaim. Are there any plans of releasing new music in the near future? Or plans of a possible tour?

NE: I have just come back from Ireland where I have began recording a new album with Tom Newman who produced ‘Tubular Bells’ and my first album ‘Captured’.
I have been waiting for a while to do this due to Tom and my schedules.  Having started the album, I am looking forward to getting back to Ireland to continue with this.  I wrote a couple of new tracks for this album whilst I was in Ireland in the studio and it will also include some tracks that I have written over the years.  I started work on 3 tracks when I was there- 2 new ones ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Hook Line and Sinker’ and another track that I had previously written called ‘Work it Out’,  It is all sounding rather good and I am very happy with the progress so far.  I will be releasing ‘Hook line and Sinker’ as a single from this album in the new year . There is a strong chance that I will do some dates to promote this album next year.

I continue to work  with Robert Logan who I co wrote and recorded ‘Deeper Into Reality’ with. I rate Robert very highly and I am fortunate to have met him, he is definitely a kindred spirit.  I am the only singer/songwriter that he collaborates with as the majority of his own music is purely instrumental. We both have busy schedules and we are both away from London quite a bit so we try and meet at our earliest convenience when ever both of us are in the same city. We have mutual respect for each other and love creating music together .  I have several tracks that I plan to release within an new album we are doing.  I am releasing a limited physical CD of both the radio and mellow mix of ‘Get it On’ and I plan to include some bonus tracks of which ‘Shine on’ and’ It’s my Life’ two new tracks I wrote and recorded with Robert Logan will be included.
I have spoke to Robert about doing some live dates to promote our music and he like myself would love to do this as soon as is feasible. It is down to schedules again. Robert Logan is off to L.A. to attend the EMMY’S as he has been nominated for his music on a documentary ‘Silence in the house of God’. It is the only documentary to be nominated.  What an honor just to be nominated. Whatever happens on the night I am so very pleased for him and I am hoping he wins an award.

SS: Following your recovery in 2000s, in 2007 you re-released your biggest hit to date, 'Iko Iko', and a two disc set ‘Back From The Mists of Time’- featuring several unreleased songs from your diverse career. What was it like looking back on all of this material?

NE: It really was a blast from the past and it brought back a lot of memories good and bad. Because of contractual problems none of my past catalogue had been transferred from analogue to digital. I had carried the master reels around with me for several years but it was only in 2007 that I had the opportunity to transfer all of theses tracks from big bulky multi track 2″ inch tape reels to digital.

It was a delicate process as we had to bake all of the reels before transferring them to digital. Some of the tapes disintegrated after transferal but thankfully I got them transferred just in time. This then allowed me at last to release my entire back catalogue on digital including Iko Iko which had not be available since the beginning of digital.
Unfortunately I did not have the master for 'Iko Iko' as this had been lost when the record company I had been with went in to receivership back in the 80’s and I had to use a straight copy from vinyl. When I wanted to release several different mixes of Iko Iko for the Iko Mixes CD I had to record the track from scratch. Mel Collins who played saxophone on the original came along and re-recorded his part for this and when the track was finished it was more or less impossible to tell the original track from the re-recording. 

SS: Throughout the 90s you were writing copious amounts of new material for a comeback. I was wondering if you could talk us through your writing process. Do the lyrics or melody come first?

NE: Yes I do have copious amounts of new material that I have written over the years that to date no-one has heard. Trouble is, I keep on writing new material so I can never quite catch up on re-recording and releasing them all quite yet, but I will.  Writing comes quite naturally to me as music has a way of transporting me to another place and the melody and words flow.  I play most instruments badly but thankfully well enough to write, arrange and get my song down. I know exactly what I would like the instruments to do and how they should sound. I was a real tom boy growing up and I was also a fidget who had to be active all of the time so consequently I was too busy climbing trees, swimming, running or riding horses to sit down in one place for any length of time and truly learn an instrument.    My voice and melodies are my instrument. When I do get the chance to record these songs for real I usually I call in the big boys to play on the track.

When I am being creative and inspired I see visuals of the story I am telling and singing and it’s like painting a picture. I can write anywhere, on my own or with another musician and my preferred instrument is piano/keyboards  but I always prefer to write in the studio with my headphones on and the record button on before I open my mouth. Nothing is planned and when I work with another musician, I just close my eyes and loose myself in the track and melodies and words come to me. I may play an idea or chord with a sound that inspires me and they then will play and follow me and all the changes, we are both in tune with each other and on the same page and before you know it a new song has been born.
With Robert Logan nothing is premeditated,  the studio is all is up and running and set to record from the off and we play write and record simultaneously.

Robert’s playing and sound has been the inspiration for some of my most conscious work.  I do not open my mouth until the record button has been pushed as I have lost so many ideas and songs by not recording.  The whole album ‘Deeper into Reality’ was written and recorded this way. I go with a blank page and let the music inspire me and I will start singing a melody and writing lyrics simultaneously. Every track on ‘Deeper Into Reality’ musically, melodies and lyrics did not change one bit from the original idea and recording.  I very rarely change any lyric from the original thought or idea.  A simple sound or chord can transport me and inspire me to write.
So in answer to your question, I write alone on piano/keyboard finding a sound that inspires me and melodies and words more often than not come simultaneously.  I go where the music first takes me whatever it evokes in me, it’s the most natural and honest place to go.   I have been lucky with my choice of writing partners we have a knack of being in tune with each other and we channel the music and emotions and follow, work and inspire each other to a common goal.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be at one with the music and each other. It is the most natural process It makes it all so effortless. The day I do not get inspired to write and sing will be the day I give up. For the moment I love nothing more than to sing and be creative.

SS: Radioplay has unfortunately been somewhat elusive for you; what is it that drives you to continue writing and performing your music?

NE: You could say that, it’s been the bane of my music career.  I have never had the airplay that I would have liked or hopefully deserved.  I had several releases before 'Iko Iko' that were real good songs but got none or very little airplay.  Iko was the first of my tracks to get airplay and it was the highest climber and highest new entry in the in the charts. It got to number 10 in the charts but I have it on good authority that it should have had a much higher position in the chart more towards the top 2 sellers at the time. The reason for this I was told was that there might have been some corruption of the tick box system they used at the time for the official charts that worked against me.
You can have the best track, voice, song in the world but if you do not get airplay then no one hears it and you don’t exist, no one is going to buy a factitious track that they have never heard. All any musician/singer/songwriter ask is that their music gets played and this brings it to the attention of the listeners.  It’s up to the listeners then as to whether they like it or not and whether or not they buy it.
Airplay in this country is a problem for many artists who are not signed to one of the few remaining major labels or larger independents.  I see young bands and singer songwriters all of the time and there is so much talent out there that nobody ever hears and I wonder if they will ever get the airplay their music deserves.
I continue to write record and play music because I am passionate about music. I did not get involved in music for money and fame [that’s a bonus]  I got involved with music because I love Music and I believe that I have something to offer. Trust me if I did not think that I was good enough or if I did not believe that I could compete in this market I would have given up a long time ago and saved myself a lot of pain. I love music passionately and nothing gives me more pleasure than to know that my music gives someone else pleasure and hope for the future.
I am an eternal optimist [never say die] but I am also a realist and I tell it how it is. Whether it’s a love song or a more world conscious track I tell it how it is good and bad. Ultimately I would like to think I offer some consolation, understanding and a possible solution.  When it comes to love and relationships it is a minefield out there that we all have to carefully negotiate in order find the companionship and happiness that we seek.. Most songs out there are about Love in some form or other. After all It is better to have loved and lost than never to have been in love at all. Whether personal or global  this world we live in can not exist  without love. We are human and we can not live without love and we all know that ‘Love can and does conquer all.’
If you had any advice for up and coming musicians/artists, what would it be?
If you are truly passionate about music and following a career in music and you or others are not deluding you about your talent or commitment then follow your dreams.  If you feel you have something to offer or contribute to music and that your music has a market and you are good enough to compete in that market then follow your heart and stay true to yourself and above all be honest and real. As hard as it is Nothing is Impossible if you truly believe. Learn your trade, play, write songs join a band and get out there and perform live it will all benefit you in the end.  Be prepared for the long haul it may take you longer than some to achieve your goal. Find your own voice or sound and be innovative and original, there are enough clones out there.
It is not always the most talented artists that have success but if you have something different and unique to others you will have a much better chance. Timing and luck will have a lot to do with whether you succeed or not.
At the very worst you will have the most wonderful way of expressing yourself and bringing joy to others and you will have a diary of your life through your music. Remember music is a very powerful medium and very influential and you have a responsibility to your fans to set a good example and not be a bad role model [there’s enough of them out there already].. Try not to be too influenced by the shallowness of the industry and the fame and financial gain.
To be able to perform your music and get paid is a bonus.. Stay real and true to yourself and others.  You have a gift that should not be abused only used for the good. The music industry is a tough nut  but if your good enough and you stick at it  you can crack it.
Oh and if you must get in to drugs [alcohol inc.] make sure you Use drugs and they don’t Use you, there are enough casualties out there already.  I wish you every Good Luck in the world.
‘Keep the passion and let the love and the music flow…………’


DEEPER INTO REALITY REVIEW 2011:

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have a collection of new Natasha England songs, something many of us have been waiting to hear since the excellent compilation of Natasha’s 80's recordings,‘Back From the Mists of Time, was issued a couple of years ago. That collection of songs served as a reminder that Natasha was not only one of our best singers, but also a songwriter who was never quite given the acclaim she deserved. Few who remember 'Top of the Pops' from those days will forget seeing Natasha perform on the show but maybe, looking back, her cover of ‘Iko Iko’, which is the song that she was best known for, didn’t help her career in the long run. Natasha was very much an innovator and she has survived in this business a lot longer than most still without the recognition she warrants. 

Surely with the release of ‘Deeper Into Reality’ Natasha will attract a new, young audience without alienating the fans who have been with her since the eighties. A major part of Natasha’s music has always been firmly in the electropop genre. While there are indeed various sides to her music in many ways Natasha has been a pioneer when it comes to synth-pop. The passing years have seen Natasha, now with the assistance of producer/songwriter Robert Logan, add a darker edge to her take on this genre and in doing so she has opened up a completely new era in her musical career. 

The eleven songs here are all Natasha England originals, ten written with producer Logan and although the lead-off single, ‘Stop Doing Nothing’ is a stunning display of both of their talents it’s by far not the only song on the album worthy of being singled out. It’s an extremely catchy electro synth soundscape, which moves at an almost deadly pace and where Logan shows his skills with various tweaks and effects. Lyrically it’s strong as well dealing with the lethargy that surrounds us and as a whole it’s a remarkable, affecting piece of music. 

Natasha and Logan have really pushed boundaries on this album, rather than take the easy route, which both artists are extremely capable of, and recording lightweight but catchy pop songs that would appeal to a much wider audience than the original sounds and textures that they have moulded into the innovative pieces that make up ‘Deeper Into Reality’. They have created a satisfying album for both the artists and listeners that consists of songs that really do throw up new surprises and sounds every time you play them. It reminds me of Depeche Mode at times, not always in the songs but in the way that both that band and Natasha started out playing pleasant synth-pop and over the years their music has developed and matured with the artist and their fan base. While not abandoning their electronic roots Depeche Mode have nurtured a darker, more adult sound to their material through the years and Natasha, along with Logan, has certainly taken a similar route. 

Those who have heard little of Natasha’s work since the ‘Iko Iko’ days will no doubt have problems believing that a song as complex as ‘The Passion’ was written and performed by that same artist they witnessed brightening our television screens all those years ago. In many ways it feels like a natural progression that Natasha is making music that reflects her past achievements, while creating a sound that is more adult-orientated than anything she has recorded in the past. But these songs really are more than we had a right to expect even from an artist of Natasha’s calibre. The title track, ‘Deeper Into Reality’, is an outstanding song with Natasha’s treated vocals weaving in and out of the atmospheric wave of sound that Logan conjures up. Again there is this feeling of the duo not forsaking their musical roots but presenting them in a fresh, exciting and creative way. 

Many music fans were more than happy to finally have Natasha’s back catalogue complied so thoughtfully and respectfully on CD with the release of ‘Back From The Mists Of Time’, but it’s not just Natasha’s legion of fans who should check out ‘Deeper Into Reality’. There’s a whole new generation of music lovers out there who have yet to discover what a great talent Natasha England is and ‘Deeper Into Reality’ is where they should start. It’s a very contemporary sounding album and even though it would sound great in a club Natasha proves that she can still reduce grown men to quivering wrecks with the intimacy of her vocals on the closing song, ‘Remember Me (Waterfall)’ which also proves that she has lost none of the passion she has always displayed vocally. 

Not only is Natasha England back, but she’s back with arguably the best album of her career to date.


DEEPER INTO REALITY REVIEW 2011:

Alanis Morissete blindsided by the dark undertones of PJ. Harvey, is the initial impression given off by Natasha England, 'Darkside'. Mood implanting backing digitalism takes on a low-key and mildly harrowing stance, sitting off England's delivery of her troubled by love lyrics. Only two tracks into this explorative electronic album and England ably assisted by the adept production of Logan, switches the tempo by adding a soulful glide and some muffled vocal distortion. Imparting shades of grey to an otherwise black and white tale of love's ability to set you free, 'Come'. The album then slows down and a vocal strain instils heart and longing, 'Strange'.

A creeping, fuller bodied, yet lower key electronic steer creeps into 'Stop Doing Nothing', to add a more thoughtful and reflective vein to this moody full-length. England has an ability to impart her own mood into a song, almost independent from the instrumental, but still she manages to keep the songs even. This aids her ability to switch from pop to straight out electro without it appearing too laboured. 'How Do You Like It?' is a rustling slow electro tilted, political nettle grasping epic, showing that electro can be slowed down to chilling effect in order to communicate your bemusement:

There's a young boy lying by the side of the road, an old man dying alone and cold.
A family starving on the other side: a world of corruption nothing but lies.

'The Passion', ups the tempo and a jungle bound is kicked into the percussion and electro slant, as the vocals take on a more distanced stance to filter in a more ambient lag. It makes the song harrowing, yet compelling and the mood ranging really starts to take effect as the album heads towards its conclusion. England and Logan show that an electro album can contain mood building epics without them feeling too forced or fake.



DAILY RECORD  INTERVIEW 2008:



CAPTURED (DELUXE EDITION)  2013 REVIEW:

Natasha England is ready to release her digitally mastered version of 1982’s “Captured.” Listening to the 12-track album, confirms that it has stood the test of time remarkably well. It’s pretty obvious that the production reeks strongly of the 80’s, but its exactly that retro sound, which gives the album its endearing twist, besides the passionate performances by Natasha, of course.

Somewhere between Annie Lennox and Debbie Harry. On “Captured,” the diva-like Natasha, weaves an array of colors, moods and emotions. Whether she drops to a soft whisper or just plain belts it out, you’ll love every song. Like for example her interpretation of  The Kinks `All Day And All Of The Night’ and Sam Cooke’s `Bring It On Home’, or my personal favorite, “Sally Go ‘Round The Roses,” the 1963 hit, first made famous by The Jaynetts and covered quite a few times down the line.

Yet its not just about her interpretation of the covers, which by all means is impressive enough, but also the five tracks she either wrote or co-wrote, confirming the fact that she is a complete artist in every sense. The truth is Natasha England still sounds as good today as she did 30 years ago, and it is certainly heartening to know that any day she decides to step into the recording studio, she’ll be able to delight her fans and the world with her words and melody, as she always has done.

All in all, “Captured” is a terrific release by one of the most dynamic and interesting artists from the eighties and is no less provocative than it was on its original release date, indeed some of the songs will still smack you right between the eyes with a force and power that comes from a long way back.


BACK FROM THE MISTS OF TIME -  PRESS RELEASE 2008

Lost to the abyss of contractual nightmares and record label wrangles, Natasha England has been somewhat in a hazy musical limbo for the past two decades. She says, ''It’s been a long haul but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel'' and the light is her new compilation Back From The Mists Of Time – a 42 track double album featuring her entire genre-spanning back catalogue for the first time. Natasha is augmented on both albums by a plethora of world class musicians* including ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Snowy White, drummers Graham Broad (Tina Turner, Roger Waters) and Charlie Morgan (McCartney, Elton John) and ex-Mud guitarist and Kylie Minogue hit-maker Rob Davis.

Her debut record, Captured, was a top 50 album in 1982 and spawned the infectious, summer-cocktail-in-the-sun chart hit, Iko Iko. The album traverses everything from the smouldering funk of The Kinks cover All Day And All Of The Night to the bluesy smoky vibe of I Casually Strolled By to the 1980’s pop sound of Tease. The sunny Phil Spector-inspired harmonies of The Beat Goes and I Want You To Be My Baby serve well as bonus tracks on CD1.

Natasha England’s well-received sophomore effort, Don’t Walk Away features the rousing lead single Homeland, the tender, mournful balladThe Band Played On -swathed in lullaby-esque synths, and the harder rock-edged guitar/synth hybrid on Tell Me What You Want. Both albums are of huge referential scope – from the big band sounds of the 1940s right though to the cutting edge electro vibe of the 1980s – but still maintain a joyous coherence, ably assisted by numerous lone singles and b-sides, notably Breakin’ Down The Walls Of Heartache, her glorious Richard Hartley produced cover of the 60’s classic.

Since disappearing from the public eye, Natasha has continued to write and record new material – but the release of her anthology marks a cathartic turning point in her long career. This treasure trove of tracks along with an appearance at Retrofest 2008 will not only serve to satisfy original enthusiasts but will spawn a new generation of fans ready to bask in its glorious retro sound, vibe and sheen.
(Claire Gilligan)


BACK FROM THE MISTS OF TIME - REVIEW 2008

From the press release it seems I am not alone in recalling seeing Natasha England on Top Of The Pops in 1982. Every young (or not so young maybe) man’s dream ? Quite possibly. The song Natasha was promoting at that time was her version of ‘Iko Iko’. Now I was just old enough to remember the Dixie Cups version from the 60's and, although theirs will always be the definitive version for me, they certainly didn’t have the visual look that Natasha did ! If a fading memory serves me well then the Belle Stars also had a version of the same song out at the same time but that didn’t go as far up the charts as Natasha’s admittedly better take. Like many others I was smitten enough by the cover of the album Natasha released that year, her debut, ‘Captured’ to splash out and buy it helping to take it to about the halfway mark in the album top 100 chart. Considering the amount of dross around at that time which had a higher chart placing re-listening to ‘Captured’ now as part of this double CD compilation it really did deserve to rise much higher then. 

This collection takes in that entire debut on disc one and adds remixes, extended versions and the various A and B sides Natasha released between 1981 and 1983. Disc two opens with her second album from 1985, ‘Don’t Walk Away’ with some unreleased songs and early singles issued under the banner of Natasha and the Delites and an even earlier single from 1979 issued as the Flirts. In short a complete anthology of the work of Natasha from 1979 until 1985 all neatly wrapped up in another appealing package. Time, it would appear, has done nothing to diminish the visual appeal of Natasha! With a CD of new recordings imminent we will then hopefully be able to say that Natasha still cuts it vocally as well. 

Listening to the debut album, which is presented in the original running order, it has, with a few exceptions, stood the test of time remarkably well. Okay, so the production of ‘Tease’, for example, just screams 80's but in some ways that has only added to its appeal through the years. The covers of the Kinks' ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ and Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home’ still sound as good today as they did 26 years ago, the latter really showcases what a powerful voice Natasha had and how she could take in pop, soul and funk all with relative ease. Her arrangements were always interesting when it came to covers too. 

With producers like Tom Newman Dave Bascombe and Richard Hartley and musicians of the calibre of Graham Broad on drums (who seemed to be a regular fixture in the drum seat for a number of chart bands back in the 80's), Phil Rambow and Snowy White on guitars and Mel Collins on saxophone just to name a few it maybe wasn’t so surprising that she sounded so good. Add in backing vocals from the likes of Bette Bright and Rita Ray and you have an A-list of 80's artists helping out on these songs. 

For her second album Natasha ditched the covers and the whole album was made up of original compositions by Natasha and Geoff Sharkey. The 10 songs which comprised ‘Don’t Walk Away’ open the second disc. It shows that Natasha’s song writing had improved in the 3 years between her albums and her vocals were more assured too. ‘Hold On’ is a prime example of this; mature both in her writing and vocals it’s a considerable leap from some of the songs on ‘Captured’. ‘Stay With Me’ which was also released as a single at the time again proves that Natasha had a powerful set of lungs and could belt out a ballad like few others. Both ‘The Band Played On’ and ‘Living In My Dream’ which closed the original album were favourites then and rediscovering them now brings back some warm memories and they both sound as good now as they did then. 

The 1980 single, ‘Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache’, isn’t a patch on Johnny Johnson and The Bandwagon’s original from 1968 but Natasha makes an excellent job with the Shangri-Las ‘Give Him A Great Big Kiss’ which she recorded as the Flirts in 1979 and which is also included on the second disc. 

This is an excellent double CD and the only way to get all of Natasha’s recordings to date in one place. It’s worth the price of admission for the two albums alone but all the extra singles and remixes, some of which are really hard to find now, make this an essential purchase.  



BACK FROM THE MISTS OF TIME - REVIEW 2008

What a massive 'compilation' this is. Yes, the press pack talks of 'Back From The Mists Of Time' as a compilation album - that's probably absolutely correct but, I'd refer to it as a Natasha England 'anthology'. I'm not sure what the difference is but the latter sure sounds cool!! Call it what you will, it's a gem no matter what descriptive moniker it's given! 

'Back From The Mists Of Time' is a glorious poptastic work that takes in just about every popular music nuance imaginable; think Bananarama meets Debbie Harry meets Dido meets Phil Spector, think retro, think 'now', think unashamedly commercial and you'll be getting close to what Natasha England is giving you here!! From ballsy blues right through to pure pop, taking in all genre on the way, a positive Pandora's Box of commerciality!

'Back From The Mists Of Time' really is pop in all its glory and in all it shapes and dimensions. Beautifully 'compiled', stunningly produced and magnificently performed, 'Back From The Mists Of Time' is one of those works that seems to fit in with any occasion, any mood and any season. There are some fantastic covers, actually I'd rather think of them as re-workings, and some England originals - a great mixture, a very tasty forty-two tracks, a wonderful piece of pop escapism to just sit back and get lost in! But, if you're not in the mood to just sit back and let it happen then England will get you up and boppin' along and/or singing loud and proud along with the first lady of bop-pop!

'Back From The Mists Of Time' isn't a work that I'd normally rave about, it's all a little too poppsy for me but, big but, Natasha England just seems able to get inside yer head and mess with yer musical normality gland. 'Back From The Mists Of Time' by Natasha England is pure commercial heaven, a slick and smooth pleasure trip of epic proportions, a real blast. With something for just about everyone and all tastes, 'Back From The Mists Of Time' is indeed a wondrous work - just give this baby a chance - you'll not be disappointed!! A real piece of pop to lose yourself in - no big pretence, no deep meanings, no hidden agenda - 'Back From The Mists Of Time' by Natasha England is as honest as the day is long!! Great work, great vibe, great album!

(Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)

GET IT ON - REVIEW 2013

Now, with a cover of the T.Rex classic ‘Get It On’, Natasha England once again proves that she is still one of our best homegrown singers. The single was issued to mark the 36th anniversary of Marc Bolan’s passing on 16th September 2013 and has the endorsement of the Marc Bolan Appreciation Society. People have tried to cover ‘Get It On’ before and failed miserably. What the hell was that Power Station massacre all about? Even Gloria Jones who, as Marc’s partner in the years before his death, had more chance than others to make a decent recording of the song sadly failed to do anything other than turn a classic pop/rock song into disco dross in one of the two versions she cut. While the soulful second version works much better, Jones didn’t really reach the heights she was capable of on this recording. Cherry Red Records are reissuing Jones’ ‘Vixen’ and ‘Windstorm’ at the end of September that includes both versions of ‘Get It On’, and, while there are great songs and the usual brilliant performances from Jones on the albums, her takes of ‘Get It On’ fail to capture a fraction of the passion and vision of this new version from Natasha England. 

Natasha has totally dismantled the track, shorn it of its basic rock sound and reassembled the whole thing as a sultry, late-night temptress of a song. While remarkably not once losing sight of the actual original song, Natasha has turned it into the smouldering soul classic we originally had hoped that Jones was going to deliver all those years ago. 

Retaining Bolan’s original lyrics means that a slow, dreamy version of this song shouldn’t really work, not even given Natasha England’s remarkable vocals. “You’re built like a car/You’ve got a hub cap diamond star halo” can only bring back memories of Bolan camping it up on 'Top of the Pops', a smiling Elton John on piano and Bolan, more likely than not with his guitar lead stuffed in the back of his pants, grinning insanely and at the top of his game. It was a sight and a song that captured all that was good about this rock thing. Really, how can anyone improve on that? 

By not even trying for a second to compete with Bolan and by completely reinventing the song and taking it in a whole new direction, Natasha has shown that it’s possible to take a song that’s over forty years old and inject new life and passion into it. Natasha’s version (available in two slightly different versions, a mellow mix and a radio mix…both are extremely subdued compared to all the versions which have gone before) is simply stunning. As a Bolan fan who can’t confess to discovering him during his Toby Twirl days but who was cast under his spell from his stint with John’s Children onwards, the last thing I really wanted to hear was one of our most talented but under-rated female singers destroying Bolan’s most popular song. I needn’t have worried, Natasha does what she has done many times in the past, put her own unique stamp and voice on a song and made it her own. 

There are only two versions of ‘Get It On’ worth your time, the original by T.Rex and this new recreation by Natasha England. Now, how about another new album, Natasha?