Some people may know Natalie Williams from her earlier self-written solo albums Yours Truly and Secret Garden, some may even recognise her vocals on a few underground drum’n’bass hits but what they might not know is that Natalie been in the music industry for quite a few years, having worked with the likes of Goldie, John Legend, Amy Winehouse, Lemar, Jamie Cullum, Babyface and many more.
Prompting Natalie’s 2010 MOBO Awards nomination for Best R&B/Soul Act [alongside Sade and Corinne Bailey Rae – but pipped to the post by Brit rapper-turned-singer Plan B], Natalie’s current album My Oh My [released in late 2010] is a smooth blend of pop-inspired jazz and soul mixed in with a hint of R&B and makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon soundtrack.
At first, on listening to ‘Wash Him Out [Of My Hair]’ the track almost sounds as though it belongs on the soundtrack to the film Oceans 11, or playing in the background in an East London gangster’s illegal poker house from a Guy Ritchie film. The use of soft percussion, keyboards, trumpets, and what I think can only be described as an electronic sci-fi “zapping” sound, work brilliantly well together on this track.
My absolute favourite track from the album is ‘One Minute’ – which I loved from first listen and is now a staple track on my iPod playlist. Complete with R&B inspired drums, jazz trumpets, an intro that captures you and a soft smooth vocals, ‘One Minute’ makes you sway, swoon and snap your fingers in tune from the backing singers and the beat alone. Natalie sings the hell out of this song and makes it sound as though it could not have been sung by anyone else, with her smooth honey-toned vocals. Absolute perfection!
‘Stuck In The Middle’ comes as a very close second favourite. A combination of neo-funk and drum’n’bass beats with hints of R&B and jazzy trumpets, this radio friendly track sticks in your head and you can’t help but to sing along.
Having received solid radio support from both BBC 1Xtra (reaching No. 4 in their R&B Top 5) and Kiss 100, the album cannot be purely defined as jazz or soul – and whilst Natalie may evoke some comparisons to the likes of Joss Stone, My Oh My more reminds me of when I first heard Amy Winehouse’s debut album Frank; almost indefinable at the time of it’s release. Ultimately, My Oh My highlights Natalie’s worth as an artist – and maybe this year will she take home that award.