“The only way is through, sometimes it’s best to meet things head on.”
Natalie McCool has that solo female force reminiscent of acts like St Vincent and PJ Harvey. Growing up in Widnes, Natalie gained recognition by winning a national songwriting competition judged by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. While at university, she received a one-to-one songwriting session with Paul McCartney. We chatted to Natalie about overcoming her fear of flying, childhood bike rides and Dracula.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
I’m listening to a lot of my own music. That sounds so strange – but I’m currently in the midst of organising a whole new project so my new song demos have taken over my life at the moment. I should probably let them lie for a bit. Lately I’ve been enjoying Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. I’ve also been reading Lord of the Flies (which I never studied at school so is new to me) and also Battle Royale. Also a lot of Stephen King. And my favourite of all time which is Dracula. I’ve been watching The Magicians, The Handmaid’s Tale and very much enjoyed Ladybird.
What has been your biggest life challenge so far?
I overcame a fear of flying by forcing myself to get on a plane and gradually building it from there. So I first got a short haul flight, then short haul on my own, then long haul, then long haul on my own – I recently did Manchester to LA which was the longest flight I’ve taken alone. I actually never thought I’d get to this place so it’s really amazing.
What would constitute a perfect day for you?
Just a day in the studio working on and producing my own music. That’s a genuine truth! That’s the highlight of what I do. Other than that it would be exploring some caves or a forest somewhere in a far flung place followed by a walk on the beach at night!
For what in life do you feel most grateful for?
What does ace mental health mean for you?
Ace mental health means feeling secure and in a stable, relaxed place.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
Yogurt, honey and fruit.
Do you have an exercise routine?
I don’t have a daily exercise routine but I do try to go the gym at least twice a week. Although that doesn’t always happen because of schedule – but it makes me feel amazing.
Do you have a happy childhood memory you could share?
Yes I remember always climbing trees as a kid and going on day long bike rides all over the place with my best friend. Always in summer. Magical!
What three songs lift your spirits?
‘You Get What You Give’ by New Radicals
‘Boy Meets Girl’ by Junior Senior
‘Hospital (Win Your Love)’ by Jesca Hoop
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
My favourite motivational quote is from Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:
“I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”
Also this one in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale, the translation from Latin: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”
What advice do you offer friends if they are feeling overwhelmed?
My advice is – The only way is through and sometimes it’s best to meet with things head on.