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Singer-songwriter Natalya Phillips cooed on key as a baby. She started performing publicly at age four, and quickly carved out an impressive profile in the entertainment world. She was the youngest actor cast in The Old Globe Theater Company’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas. She’s worked with Prince. She has the noted distinction of singing backup on a track that became the wake up call for the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight. Her debut, Whisper (That Other Label), is a stunning offering of bravely personal soul-folk. The Carlsbad, California-based artist is barely out of high school, but her talents and achievements are already world class.
Natalya’s flair for sophisticatedly accessible pop with a richly emotional center has garnered favorable comparisons to Angus & Julie Stone, Bon Iver, and Tracy Chapman. Her acclaimed live performances have a powerful interplay of raw feelings and polished musicianship.
“As a teenager I have a lot of emotions, and I pounded those hard in my songs to make things as heartfelt as possible,” she explains. “Those feelings exist in all of us—and a lot of artists are afraid to express them—but I don’t want people to worry about me. I haven’t suffered great tragedies or great breakups.”
Her sensual and robustly expressive vocals and mesmerizing melodies, sweet sincerity, and flair for elegantly spare arrangements with silky string ornamentation make Whisper a revelatory opening salvo. Natalya wrote all the music and lyrics, arranged the songs, designed the artwork, and co-produced with her father, Allan Phillips, an esteemed producer, composer, and arranger who won an Emmy for scoring original music for the PBS show Grannies on Safari, and a Grammy nomination for producing and arranging Peruvian singer Eva Ayllon's Kimba Fa album.
Whisper is dynamically diverse, from the shimmering, amorous folk pop of “My Heart,” to the lush warmth of “I’ve Got A Friend,” to the graceful melancholy of “Don’t Say Nothing.” “That was the first piano song I ever wrote and I did it all by ear. For that song, it’s mainly about the title, which isn’t really what it implies. You should say something. You shouldn’t let people walk all over you,” she reveals.
The title track is powerfully introspective. The name “Whisper” poignantly conjures up the powerful character contrast of Natalya’s reserved personality with her emotionally bold vocals. “I have like an alter ego,” she explains with a laugh. “I have astigmatism so I always wear glasses, but when I perform, I take them off." Natalya's alter ego takes over, her natural shyness disappears, and she becomes a consummate performer.
“The highlight of my music career has been to experience my work solidify into my first album,” she says. Next for Natalya is recording her follow-up. She recently took a college level course on music theory and she’s eager to get back into the studio to apply this knowledge to her soulfully sincere compositional voice. “I’ve been writing new songs and they’re more abstract, more advanced harmonically. I’ve been really enjoying getting out of my comfort zone,” she says.