In Five is an Outlaw Magazine series where we ask an Artist five questions about themselves and their music. Here we talk to Natasha James, an Americana singer/songwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Northern California Songstress, Natasha James, is making a name for herself in the Roots Music Scene. With a unique blend of bluesy rock, country and even flavors of bluegrass, James’ grooves compliment her salty and sultry vocals. Her latest effort, TEQUILA TIME, debuted on the Roots Charts at #20 in the country, #19 in the California, and #23 Internationally. She’s the first Artist to participate in Outlaw’s new “In Five” series where OM asks five questions to for a quick look into the life of an Artist.
OM: What Artists have had the most influence in your music?
NJ: My greatest influences musically (early on) were: Bob Dylan, for writing. I used to be an anthology of his songs- knew all the lyrics to Desolation Row, etc. Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine, Jesse Colin Young (matter of fact, I named a band of mine in NYC years ago, Good ‘N Dusty, after the title of one of his albums),and Neil Young. Musically, probably Taj Mahal, Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry, also Lovin Spoonful, Van Morrison, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Roger Miller, and Traffic. Vocally, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith…and later on, Janis Joplin and Linda Ronstadt.
OM: What age did you start writing?
NJ: I started writing at around 13 but nothing I wanted to save. I sold my first song when I was 19 or 20. I was living in London; I co-wrote the tune with Jeff Hunter, Tab Hunter’s son, who was in L.A. After that, I moved back to LA for awhile.
OM: How do you feel about the overproduced commercial music of today?
NJ: I don’t think of it as music. I think of it as a presentation. A conceptual product layered by a team of industry marketers ostensibly designed to be commercially successful. I question it’s viability on any level without the vast sums of marketing dollars pumped into these “projects.”
OM: Any plans to tour Texas anytime soon?
NJ: I would LOVE to tour Texas anytime!! Matter of fact, this has been on my radar for quite awhile. My dobro player, David Aguilar, is from Texas (he also did the tex-mex leads on my CD Tequila Time and will be on the new song I am laying down, Room 203). He has played the Kerrville Folk Festival several years running with Norton Buffalo…this is something I would love to be part of! I have always had Texans in my line-up, seems like the cats that get what I am about musically, are always from Texas.
OM: What inspires you?
NJ: I am inspired by that which depresses me and that which gives me hope. So much of the greatness of the human spirit is revealed in times of plenty as well as times of deprivation. Perhaps the human spirit is just as tough to sustain in times of plenty as distractions can be a persons’ undoing. We have all written about rising from the ashes; perhaps I should write a tune about rising from the riches…so many fall so hard there. Hmm….I will revisit this thought with a cup of black tea and an English muffin. Lately, I have a few musical pieces roaming around my fingers with no lyrics, which is unusual. I was told I started talking at six months old and haven’t shut up since…maybe I’m getting quieter now.
For more information on Natasha James:
To share this article, copy this link:
Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.