Natalie Alexander will release her first country music EP later this year.

Natalie Alexander will release her first country music EP later this year.

Nikko LaMere/Courtesy of MLC PR

Natalie Alexander just released her first single "Cruel" and is preparing to drop her debut EP later this year. But who is Natalie Alexander and why should audiences give her a listen? Before her new music arrives, Natalie connected with AXS for an email interview to introduce herself to music fans. Get to meet the California native below and you can also download "Cruel" on iTunes.

AXS: Introduce us to you. How did you become involved in music and decide to make it a career?

Natalie Alexander (NA): Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started playing piano when I was seven. Part of that is that my family is very musical so exploring that was something that came really naturally to me. I didn’t see myself making a career out of it I more just saw it as a hobby until I started taking voice lessons for fun when I went away to college. My voice coach told me that I was really talented and had a shot at it – I hadn’t thought about it until then simply because, as strange as this sounds, I figured everyone could sing! Since everyone in my family can sing I didn’t really realize it was something special.  I think it’s the right direction in my life because it doesn’t feel like work. Music [is] a vehicle for expression and it’s powerful and that’s why I’m drawn to it. It feels right.

AXS: Can you tease what you're working on? Any favorite songs we can look forward to?

NA: Of the songs I’ve recorded so far I would say my upcoming single “Cruel” is what I’m most excited about. I think if you’ve ever gotten your heart broken you’ll be able to relate to this. I think it encompasses all of the emotions you go through after a bad breakup, whatever the circumstance – hurt, anger, confusion. I’m really excited to share it. I’d like anyone who hears it to relate to it and by doing so realize they aren’t alone in that hurt. I know when I’ve gone through heartbreak it’s so easy to feel completely alone but the reality is everyone goes through it at one time or another. In the song there’s that sense of strength, that looking back realizing yes, you’ve been hurt but it can end with you; it doesn’t need to be this perpetual cycle.

AXS: How do you describe yourself as an artist? What's your individual process of writing and recording?

NA: When it comes to writing I like to write down little things I read or hear, or thoughts that I have into a note on my phone. I started with just a few and now I have so much written in there. Some things are just potential titles or general thoughts, and other things I’ve built on into verses or bridges. It’s a fun puzzle to piece together. I’d say my best thoughts come at night, especially when I’m driving. A song I’ve been working on right now I actually wrote part of while I was in the shower – the acoustics are great in there [so] it’s fun to play around with melodies.

In the studio I’m very mellow, I’d say. I’ve heard stories about artists needing all sorts of things to sing but I just come in, take my shoes off and I’m good to go! I kept making my producer play me back whatever I did. I’d be so annoying about it [that] I’m sure he wanted to kill me every time I asked. I will say, though, the second I hear the track in my headphones I’m suddenly so nervous! When I recorded my single, even though it was just me and the producer and sound engineer, I would tense up every time we were about to start. Once I got going, I fell into it and was having fun, but the opening lines were the hardest of the whole song because I would get so nervous.

AXS: Are there any other country artists who have interested or influenced you?

NA: I’m really excited to be seeing so many strong, young females in country music rising up. Within the last year, I’ve been obsessed with everything Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini. They’re both so talented and have such strong stories to share. I love how different their sounds are. My personal playlist right now would be all over the place because I have such a diverse music taste. I’ve been listening to "Now or Never" by Halsey on repeat recently so that would definitely be on there!

AXS: What's the last live performance you went to as a music fan?

NA: My last concert was Drake. My friend and I spontaneously got tickets a few hours before the show and it was one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to. What stood out most to me was how much fun Drake and his guest performers were having on stage. It’s fun to see artists really enjoying putting on a show for their fans, and Drake has such a strong presence, endless energy, and is able to connect so well with his audiences so I loved seeing him live.

For more on Natalie Alexander, visit her official website.