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article image'Soul-reggae crossover sensation' Natty is back Special

By Adrian Peel     Mar 4, 2016 in Music
London - Born in San Francisco, a UK resident since the age of one, Natty scored a Top 20 hit in 2008 with his debut LP 'Man Like I.' Digital Journal asked him all about the follow-up 'Release the Fear.'
The creative thirty-something, born Alexander Akiloe Philip Modiano, enjoyed quite a lot of positive feedback almost a decade ago following the release of his debut album (it was the Telegraph who labelled him a "soul-reggae crossover sensation").
Happily, the artist's second effort, which contains the gloriously uplifting single "I'm Alive," is of an equally high standard, receiving a rave review on this very site back in January.
Natty's unique musical style reflects his mixed-race background. His father, a fan of folk music and singers like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, is English of Italian descent, while his mother, who is African, was into Motown, Al Green and '60s Jamaican reggae.
"I'm good, give thanks," exclaims the young man himself, when asked about his general well-being and recent activities. "I've been working on the run up to my second album Release the Fear - from live sessions to gigs and of course planning and preparing for my upcoming tour.
"I've also been working on my record label, Vibes and Pressure, my club night of the same name and on being a patron of international charity E.R.A.S.E."
I quizzed the singer/songwriter/producer about his new album, unleashed on the world at the end of last month. "Release the Fear came from the idea of, well, releasing fears," he explains. "It's the sonic version of taking a deep breath, gathering strength, giving thanks for life and pursuing those dreams that might scare you.
"Man Like I was eight years ago, Release the Fear is now. So naturally I have lived a little, travelled a little and explored self and love. The sound is more cosmic and a little fuller, but essentially it's still me singing and writing songs."
Natty revealed that the album's second single will be "Street Lights." Which are some of his standout moments on the record and what themes does he like to address in his music? "Ah, that's a tough one," he replies.
"Each song has its unique significance. I enjoy performing all of them, particularly 'Release the Fear.' The title track is a song we could play forever; you can tell as it's 10 minutes long... Themes range from love to social injustice, to environmental issues to music as a saviour. But all in all, the main theme is releasing fear."
Discussing which of his tunes tend to go down particularly well live (as he mentioned earlier, he is currently preparing to go out on the road), Natty muses, "'Seasons Change' and 'I'm Alive' are definite favourites, alongside 'Bedroom Eyes' and 'Badman' from the first album."
In 2011, the dreadlocked musician toured the US - the land of his birth - for the very first time, opening shows across the country for Ziggy Marley. "Being on tour with Ziggy was eye-opening," he recalls.
"It was fairly early on in my career and it really showcased the power of music as a tool to move people... Seeing America was also special - it has some beautiful landscapes. I have supported Jimmy Cliff and Lee Perry as well who have been big influences."
"Touring, playing festivals, creating more music," answers the star, discussing his plans for the rest of the year. "I've set up a record label and club night, both called 'Vibes and Pressure,' so we'll be releasing music and collaborating with festivals to bring those positive vibrations to the people."
Release the Fear is now available to buy or download.
For more on Natty, visit his official website.
More about natty, release the fear, man like i, vibes and pressure, Bob dylan
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