Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
This past Friday, in a flower dress that made her look like she’d have felt very much at home at the original Woodstock, singer-songwriter Natalie Gelman hit the stage at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3.
The California, by way of NYC, artist was armed solely with her guitar (named Betty), the piano on the stage, and her voice – and what a voice it is – for an hour long set. Many longtime fans were in attendance, and it wouldn’t take nearly the full hour to turn the new faces in the crowd into fans, as well.
As someone who was a new face, myself, I came away with these three reasons why you should see Natalie Gelman live.
1. Her music speaks to the universal human experience
All singer-songwriters write from personal experience, but the great ones know how to turn their life stories into something relatable for a wider audience. Natalie has this ability, and it truly shows when you see the crowd’s reaction, and feel your own emotions, when she performs her songs about dealing with her mother’s battle with Alzheimers.
I know what you’re thinking – “Adam, songs about Alzheimers? That sounds like a real bummer.” Natalie, however, flips the subject into something sweet, and filled with heart. Take, for example, her latest single, “The Lights Upstairs.” On the song she sings in an incredibly reassuring tone. It’s a warm, “Everything’s gonna be alright,” hug, and I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t felt like they’ve needed one of those at some point in time.
2. She’s extremely personable both on and off the stage
Natalie joked during her set that she talks too much while she’s on stage. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed artists who are also good storytellers, and whether it’s the backstory of a song, or some fun crowd interaction – which she had on this night with quite a few audience members, including a young child who was in attendance with his mother – Natalie’s genuine, and effusive, personality turns her into everyone’s friend.
Of course, when you’re everyone’s friend, everyone wants to talk to you. After the show I found Natalie holding court with a group of fans at her merch table. I gave a quick hello, and let her know I enjoyed her performance. A little over an hour later I saw her in the same spot, still speaking with fans. Obviously, I have no idea if her schedule can normally accommodate this, but I get the feeling that when it can, she’s more than happy to have a conversation, or three.
3. She can rework a classic into something uniquely her own
I think it’s required by law that every singer-songwriter have at least a few covers in their arsenal. What makes Natalie’s covers interesting is that she’ll change the arrangement of a song we all know and love, and make the song her own.
For this show she covered Radiohead’s “Creep,” and her version of it, which was done at a slower pace, and featured a few of the more impressive notes held longer, made me love the song in a whole new way.
While that particular cover isn’t on her YouTube page (unless I’m blind, and I missed it), she has plenty more there to enjoy.
To find out when, and where, Natalie will be performing next, check out her website for show dates.