Natalie Crowell is a songwriter, worship leader and a singer. Her first project, entitled "The Reason", was a huge success for her as an independent artist. Her title track charted on the radio in September of 2013 after only a couple of months of airplay. Now, she's back with her sophomore album "Up to Something," an album she produced and composed. The album is poised to make an impact on the Christian music world and beyond.
Cromwell has shared the stage with many anointed singers and leaders, including Gordon Mote, Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band), and Doug Anderson (Signature Sound). She also is no stranger to the studio, as she does a lot of recording with some of the top names in the industry.
Hallels: Such a delight to hear your brand new album "Up to Something." From what I've heard, this album has a more distinctive pop sound while your previous album had a more country flavor. What was the inspiration behind such a shift in sound?
Yes, the new record is definitely a new sound for me. As I was writing for this project, I realized that although I grew up with the Southern Gospel influence, I am now immersed in the worship and CCM world. It's what influences my worship leading, and ultimately what was influencing my writing. Instead of fighting the change in style, I decided to run with it, because it's genuinely who I am. I am so happy that I decided to take off the labels of "country" or "pop", and just write what I was feeling. It was a very liberating feeling, and I'm very proud of the outcome!
Hallels: While your previous album was produced by Gordon Mote, on this new one you've produced it yourself. What are some of the joys and challenges of taking on the producer's chair?
I have loved every minute of being in the producer's chair for this project. My biggest joy from this role has come from seeing the progression of a brand new "baby" song all the way through to its completion. When I write, I usually have a very clear vision of what I want it to end up sounding like. The challenge in this is the communication side of it... making sure the players understand the direction I want to take, communicating style choices, and ultimately being the "last word". It is incredibly rewarding, though, to see that the little choices I've made along the way add up to a far greater product than I could have ever dreamed of. It feels as if this project is my own child, and I'm so proud of it! I have decided to take on other artists now in a producer role because I loved the process so much.
Hallels: On this new album you've also included an instrumental piece "Prayer." Why include an instrumental cut?
The instrumental track, "Prayer", came out of a long evening sitting at my piano, asking God for one final thing to add sparkle to the record. I sat at my piano for a few hours hoping for one more gem of a song to really set the record apart, and I came up with this instrumental that precedes a fairly heavy song called "Hold Me". It wasn't what I was expecting at all, but it flowed out of me, and I think it's a really powerful introduction to "Hold Me". I envision it as being the final cry for help... where the listener is still holding on to whatever baggage they carry; they know they need help but they aren't willing to completely let go just yet. As soon as the next song starts, the moment of surrender has finally happened, and we realize that it's ok to come before God as a broken, wounded person. It is an incredibly powerful moment for me, and I'm hoping it translates that way to my listeners!
Hallels: Has there been a single selected for radio release? If so, tell us more about the single?
The single from this project is the title track, "Up To Something". This song came out of a season of my life where I felt like I might have been going crazy... I quit my job leading worship at a large church and decided to follow God's plan for me. The worship leading job should have been a dream job, but I knew in my gut that it wasn't right for me, but I had no clue what was ahead. The phrase "When you're down to nothing, God's up to something" really took me through that time of transition from my church job to full time music ministry. It's a very meaningful song to me, and I've already been hearing incredible stories of how it's giving hope to people who are battling cancer, or other difficult seasons in their life. I had no clue it would have this sort of impact on people, but God did!
Hallels: I love the catchy and bouncy sounding "Psalm 23." What's the inspiration behind this song?
I have always loved Psalm 23, and I decided that I wanted to write a fresh, creative version of it. The melody to the chorus ("I will dwell in the house of the Lord, close by His side I will abide...") was with me from the very beginning and the rest of the song fell into place after that. Having Marshall Hall sing on it just adds to the fresh sound, and I've heard a lot of really positive comments about the fresh sound.
Hallels: I believe you are also a worship leader at Wooddale Church, have you sung any of these songs in church yet? Have you led worship with any of these songs on this record?
I actually don't lead worship there anymore, but I am guest leading worship at churches all around the Midwest. The two songs that are geared toward congregational worship from this project are "Psalm 23" and "Everything". Both of them are easy songs to catch on to, and they have been received well by congregations. I'm excited to see how they continue to grow in their reach, and hopefully give encouragement to churches all over the area.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase your new album or/and find out more about you, where can they go?
Yes! My album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and you can visit my website (www.nataliecromwell.com) to order a physical copy. Also, please go find me on social media! My facebook page (Natalie Cromwell Music) always provides updates on where I'll be on any given weekend, and I'm also on Twitter and Instagram as @natcrom. Please go check out what I'm up to!
Tags : natalie cromwell natalie cromwell up to something natalie cromwell interview natalie cromwell hallels interview Gordon Mote natalie cromwell the reason natalie cromwell worship leader natalie cromwell new album natalie cromwell news natalie cromwell latest