Born in Brooklyn, New York Vickie Natale, 29, instantly found fame as a contestant on the 2003 CBS’s version of the Star Search television programme. Natale was able to capture a winning streak and go on to win the competition.
Vickie Natale’s music combines soul, pop, and R&B to create an artistic light so bright it could illuminate a pitch-black room. Her influences include Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder. Immediately after winning CBS’s Star Search in 2003, Natale was signed to a development deal with Sony Records. In 2004 she released the digital single “Like No Other” on A&M Records and followed up the hit with a self-released debut album “Never Gonna Stop.” She has opened for Reba McEntire, Deborah Cox, and Ashford & Simpson, and toured China, Japan, and the U.S, She continues to perform at venues around New York City and across the country.
One of her mentors Nick Ashford has coined her “little Aretha” and said he knew from the first time he heard Vickie on stage at the Sugar Bar she had something special. Valerie Simpson also has said Vickie has amazed her with her ability to culminate herself as an artist and develop her writing and producing skills to soaring heights.
For Music fans looking for a copy of the singer’s second album “Time Machine. A CD version is available which you can buy on Vickie’s website. http://www.vickienatale.com/
When did you first start singing?
I first started singing at five years old. I was listening to my mom’s favorite Motown tracks, there was a local radio station and my mom would play all these classics and I would just dance around like a crazy little kid, I was just taken by the music, I would just sing along and become obsessed with it. For hours I would listen to it and sing along, I would listen to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross all these different people. There was a choir in my school and of course I was part of that, that was amazing I was about 8 or 9, I was really young always singing in the choir, always wanting to do music and always wanted to have it in my life. As a young kid we couldn’t afford music lessons, we didn’t have a lot of money, we lived with my grandmother but my grandmother didn’t give financial support but she was supportive but not financial in that way. I was obsessed with keyboards and I would go the music shop and I would tell my mom I want a keyboard so bad, I want to learn to play the piano, and my mom would go I can’t really afford it Vickie but I will save up, so I ended up with a $100 dollar keyboard which my mom saved up for, and it took my mom for ages to pay for, she put it on layaway and I was just so happy.
Who are your inspirations in life?
I have quite a few inspirations in life, I would say musically it has been Motown singers like Stevie Wonder, Ashford and Simpson who were actually writers on Motown records that had become my mentors. They had become a mentor through a friend of mine who I grew up in high school and he started working at a restaurant called the “Sugar Bar”, he was like oh my god they are owned by two legendary Motown writers Ashford and Simpson and a lot of New York artists have come out of that place and that’s where Star Search found me. Ashford and Simpson were major inspirations who I was able to meet and have as mentors. While I was on star search I consulted with Valerie Simpson who gave me a lot of information and lots of support, she always made sure I was on the right track which is very important. Once you go from being someone from an open mic to be on a television show and millions of people watching you it’s very overwhelming so you do need supportive mentors. My teacher Maxine Patarini from high school was one of my inspirations because she was a working musician. I am also a teaching artist that gives lessons, so I’m kind of like one of those Rock star teacher singers that also gives back to the community and works with kids because that is very important to me. I definitely jell with kids who 15 or 16 years old because those were my years when I needed the most help. My mom is one of my inspirations as she was a single mom and did the best of making the most out of what she had and that’s something what I have done making the most of what has been presented to me. But yeah those are some of my mentors; Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder are some of my favorites. Young people inspire me to be a better person, my students inspire me to be a better person because they look up to me so I have to do better because they are watching so I have to be a good influence on them, So that’s very important. My fans who I call my Vickie Natale all-stars they inspire me, so everyday people inspire me.
If you had anywhere in the world to perform where would it be?
The UK, I have been saying for ages I want to go the UK and perform there, I feel like United Kingdom get the music I do, they get the soul music. You have artists over there who are singing their hearts out, the likes of Sam Smith, Adele, Paloma Faith, Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Labrinth. Everyone sings there asses off and I want to go there because that’s where all the best singers are.
You won star search in 2003, what was this experience like for you?
There was a lot of amazing things about it, I was a music teacher at a middle school in Coney Island, New York, I had just got out of college and was auditioning and going for jobs. I always did the Music Teacher/Artist thing, I take my sick days for auditions and I wouldn’t get in trouble because they knew I sang and they wanted me to audition for these TV shows. So picture this you have a full time job, your auditioning for open mic till night and your teaching kids during the day so I’m coming to class and the kids are like Miss Natale you look tired. So eventually as I do open mic I get picked for Star Search and they call me on a Thursday night, they say I need you to fly out Saturday for it to be on TV by Wednesday and I’m like okay I’m not going to say no.
Do you enjoy writing your own Music/Lyrics?
I write about my life, I write about my feelings and what I see in the world. I am a very sensitive person so everything I feel and experience, even if its negative experiences like when I’m feeling a little bit catty I will put that in a song to show my outlet. My album “Time Machine” is all original music and it’s a retro pop album which is self-released. I was signed to a record deal through Star Search but there were artistic, creative differences they didn’t really get what I was doing. So I ended up releasing my first CD out by myself with the money I won. I had this major deal that didn’t go anywhere but I had millions of people who had watched me and said they want music from me, so I did the best I could and I produced it myself. Now I’m on my second album “Time Machine” and my producer David Veslocki who is my roommate now, he produced this and co-wrote it. So yeah I write my own music and I love it, I love singing covers, and interpreting it my way. It’s actually one of the best feelings in the world to be able to write your feelings down and transmuting my feelings into something you can hold and everybody in the world can potentially listen to.
Other than music what do you do in your spare time?
I connect with my fans and I’m sending out lots of messages, I’m working out trying to better my life, lose weight and get healthy, I’m on a health journey.
If you had one person to meet dead or alive who would it be?
I probably want to hang around with Amy Winehouse.
Favorite things to watch on Television?
I have a lot, I absolutely love watching breaking bad, orange is the new black is something I love, believe it or not I love watching nature documentaries like I love watching the show planet earth.
Invitations of life, it’s an old movie it’s one of my mom’s favorite movies she used to play it all the time so it has sentimental value. I love it for the music because an amazing gospel singer is in it Mahalia Jackson. But it has sentimental values because my mum, me and my sister would watch it any other day because it was my mom’s favorite movie.
I could say a lot of things could be a gift but maybe the gift from god which he has given me the gift of love, forgiveness and my voice, but some of my best gifts that I have received are letters from people that I have changed their life and inspired them, when I get a letter in the mail and someone is like you have made me feel not so alone, you made me feel like someone understands, now that’s a huge gift.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I will probably release another two records out independently, maybe associated with an indie label or even starting a indie label. I want to be doing lots and lots of music festivals, I love doing outdoor festivals, I love being in front of intimate audiences. I want to be performing in the UK and performing more in the US and check out some new countries. I will have established a music school, kids of all races, creeds, and different financial incomes can come to, that’s really important to me. I would like to be doing full figured modeling because I have always felt self-conscious about my weight and now I feel like it’s something that I can appreciate, I am who I am, I’m constantly working out and doing good things for myself but I’m accepting who I am and what my body type is.
What song instantly puts you in a good mood?
Deorro, Chris Brown – Five More Hours. And also the song me and Dave Veslocki (producer) just wrote which is called “Medicine” and it’s helped me get through a really tough time. I just went through a break up and it’s been really tough, it was a 5 year relationship and a lot of songs from my second album “Time Machine” are about heartbreak and kind of not taking shit from a relationship. This song is about kind of finding your medicine not necessarily in a person just medicine. This song gets me in such a happy mood and we just wrote it.
Snippet of Vickie’s new song “Medicine” below.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Definitely winning Star Search has been an amazing accomplishment, getting through a TV show like that the stress levels are crazy because you don’t know if you’re going to go home or you’re going to be staying, you can easily get kicked off the show and your dreams are shattered. But I was so determined to win it was one of my greatest accomplishments but even more so one of my greatest accomplishment within that was been able to visualize my win. While I was on the TV show I visualized me winning I didn’t just visualize I felt it, I dreamt about it, I rehearsed my winning speech and to know I had the power to make it happen was one of my greatest accomplishments because I knew in my spirit I would win, I knew it, I felt it, I tasted it , it was going to happen, and that to me was one of my greatest accomplishment been able to channel winning energy so strong that I can make anything I wanted happen.
If you had one person to collaborate with who would it be?
I always say it is I would love to collaborate with Timberland or Bruno Mars would be amazing.
Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met?
I’ve met & sang to Stevie Wonder, sang to Patti Labelle, Tori Kelly, went to lunch with Arsenio Hall, Naomi Judd gave me her earrings as a Star Search parting gift, I met and sang for Queen Latifah, I was mentored by Gloria Estefan for 3 days met John Rich from big and rich, met and sang for Catherine zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, Maya Angelou and prince. It’s tough to choose one there’s so many.
Follow the links below to all things related to Vickie Natale:
Official Website: http://www.vickienatale.com/
Official YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/vickienatalemusic
Official Instagram Page: https://instagram.com/vickienatalemusic/
Official Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/vickienatale
Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/VickieNataleMusic/