Natasha Kmeto might have one of the strongest voices in music right now, but there is much more to this singer/producer than just powerful pipes – if her vocals don’t grab your attention, her killer mixing will. It is Natasha’s elegant blend of these elements and her clear grasp on her individual style that will continue take her where she wants to go as she moves ahead in the music business.
After receiving the formal education to become a session musician, Natasha left Hollywood for the Pacific Northwest to pursue being an artist full time. It was in Portland where she found an artistic crew called Dropping Gems. She describes them as “a collective of people and a record label. It’s mostly artists based in Portand, but it started in Olympia at Evergreen College. They started doing podcasts and then releases. But it kind of grew to be be not only that, but a community for us to share and influence each other. We are all really good friends. Even though I am releasing the next record on a different label, I’m still very much a part of the crew. It’s kind of a family .”
Dropping Gems put out Natasha’s first two releases and helped to raise her popularity and foster her creative energy. Her sophomore LP ( and one of my personal favorites), Crisis came out just last year. On Crisis, Natasha showed the restraint of a veteran, utilizing her powerful vocals in an instrumental fashion amongst a sea of dark R&B and danceable electronic sounds. Her vocals are stronger than ever, but never overdone- Natasha is not afraid to let a good beat ride out. Crisis received praise from a number of critics and brought Natasha some new fans including David Sitek of TV on the Radio.
“He heard a track of mine and [his management] reached out to me, but then Dave just direct messaged me on Twitter. He just gave me a call and said he was a huge fan of my music and loved my record and really wanted to put out a record with me if I would be down for that. It was a mind blowing conversation to say the least [laughs]. I have been a TV on the Radio fan since like middle school.”
The resulting album, Inevitable, is set to come out in late 2014 on Sitek’s label, Federal Prism. When speaking of the new record, Natasha says, “It’s still pretty electronic, but I have changed my sonic palette to include some more acoustic samples. The whole album is vocal so there’s not going to be any instrumental songs. We mixed my vocals a lot louder than I normally would, but I really liked it. The focus is a little more on the songwriting.” When describing her influences she mentioned Machinedrum’s Vapor City, her recent infatuation with techno, and her favorite dark R&B albums. She also made a note to mention her consistent affinity for writing ’90’s R&B vocal melodies. “That’s when I grew up and when I was really getting in to music,” she said. An ode to ’90s music will be refreshingly nostalgic for most of our millennial readers I’m sure (myself included).
Fortunately for you local Austinites, Natasha will be playing a show tonight at Empire Control Room with Keeper and Applied Pressure! This will be Natasha’s first non-SXSW show in Austin and she said she is very excited to be playing back here on her own. You can expect a set of both new material and old material from Natasha and knowing Empire, there should be plenty of cool lights or visuals throughout the night. If you’re a fan of electronic or R&B this is definitely a show worth checking out.