- Bryon Harris
Natalie Jean - 'Unafraid'
Natalie Jean is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter. In fact the list of awards that Natalie has won is so long, I couldn’t possibly list them all. Most recently, she attended the Josie Music Awards and walked the red carpet with three awards: Best Musical Collaboration for her song "Devenir Gris" with Trevor Sewell, "World Artist of The Year," and Best Pop Video for “Faithful.” This year she was also a winner in the Performance Category of the 2016 American Songwriting Award for her song “Mon Ange.” In her latest CD “Unafraid” Natalie has delivered yet another award-worthy masterpiece of ten songs that push the boundaries of everyday pop music to a whole different level, a place where pop meets techno, blues, R& B and Soul.
The CD opens with the tune “Looking Back.” It has a funky-fun, techno groove with a catchy electronic motif. As she sings, “Looking back I never really loved you,” Natalie uses an occasional synth effect on her voice to give the song a real pop edge that you could easily hear at the clubs. Like every song on the CD, “Looking Back” is hook-strong and interesting from beginning to end. “Please Don’t,” follows. It is a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad sung with passion. The chorus is once again memorable. In the bridge, Natalie repeats the phrase “Please don’t” several times with just the right amount of intensity until she breaks back into the chorus again. The song is incredibly well-written and has a great R&B vibe to it.
Up next, “Now I See” shows just how sophisticated Natalie is as a song-writer and artist. The song tells the story of a woman who finally sees somebody for who they truly are. “You camouflaged your behavior. I believed you were my savior. Words spoken in honey tones. Made me feel so alone. Rose tinted skewed vision. All led me to the wrong conclusion.” This is the kind of song that everyone can relate to. “Over You” is another song that talks about finding your inner strength. The song has a great bass groove in the foundation and Natalie has a lot of fun singing over it with a variety of vocal techniques and tones. Natalie can sing anything from pop, to soul, to R & B; she can be smooth, funky, rhythmical, or soulful. You name it - Natalie can nail it. Her ability to weave different styles and influences, yet at the same time compose pop songs that flow seamlessly is incredible. Both "Now I See" and "Over You" are super charged with meaningful lyrics that give just the right amount of depth while keeping a great pop sensibility and structure.
Mid-way through the CD, we are treated to the title track “Unafraid.” It was my favorite song on the CD. The song is uplifting, exalting, and empowering. It is an anthem about surviving and thriving and when Natalie breaks into the chorus, “I’m unafraid. I’m unafraid. I’ve broken free. I am what I need," you could literally break-down and be moved to tears. It has a raw, emotive nature that is spell-binding.
The CD moves forward with the up-tempo dance tune, “You,” a soulful song where Natalie really rips into the vocals with great annunciation and a rich blues feel. “Red Room” is smooth and lush with a steady beat and “Map” takes you back onto the dance floor with a smile, “I think you’ve gone astray and I don’t have time to play. Get a map. Get a Clue."
As the CD closes out, Natalie delivers another moving ballad, “Will I.” This song will pull every heart-string you have. “Will I ever be loved? Will I ever be free? Will you ever find me? Will I ever be loved?” It’s just gorgeous. Natalie strengths lies in ability to deliver pop music with depth. You will find yourself listening to her songs over and over with a sense that you are hearing a true artist. The last cut “Chasing You” is a blues song and Natalie gets it just right giving an improvisational-like vocal performance as she lays into the melody and grabs hold of the moment.
"Unafraid" shows that Natalie is just that - Unafraid to give it her all, to use everything she has, to combine all her talents, styles, and influences to create a pop album that is truly alive. Bravo!