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Reggae singer-songwriter Natty brings the music to you on Candlelit Tour

PUBLISHED: 13:30 29 July 2016

Natty's second album dropped earlier this year. Picture: Elliot Jones.

Natty's second album dropped earlier this year. Picture: Elliot Jones.

Archant

Reggae singer Natty tells Zoe Paskett about never compromising with music and meeting his fans

As London’s summer finally kicks itself into gear and air conditioning units start to fail, we daydream of beaches and woodland glades, accompanied by refreshing drink and being serenaded in the shade.

Throughout August, reggae singer-songwriter Natty is doing just that.

His Candlelit Tour gives fans the chance to organise their own gigs wherever they like, with whomever they choose and for however much they are willing to pay.

“It turns them from fans into supporters or sometimes even friends,” says Natty.

“Then it makes me look at how I interact with all of them. Hence I no longer call them fans anymore.”

Playing regular gigs through the year, he decided to add some variety into the mix with this month-long mini-tour.

“It was born out of wanting to cut out all the stuff in between the music and the listener – just thinking of how to make a stronger connection.

“So there’s no agent, no promoter, no band, no mic. Just us. It’s relaxed and I get to connect with the people.”

Natty, real name Alexander Akiloe Philip Modiano, was born in San Francisco and raised in Finsbury Park, playing guitar and piano in a rhythm and blues band as a student.

Leaving school he managed to “hustle his way” into an engineering job at Sphere Studios, working with such bands as Razorlight and The Streets, before quitting to pursue his own music career.

After amassing a dedicated following at open mics around London, he set up his own music night, Vibes and Pressure, which has hosted the likes of Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard and Wretch32.

Natty released his debut album Man Like I in 2008. After a long hiatus, album number two hit the figurative download shelves earlier this year.

Release The Fear was recorded with his band the Rebelship and was much more of a feat to complete than his first.

“Man Like I took three weeks to record,” says Natty.

“Release The Fear took much longer to record. Man like I was a form of self expression. Release The Fear is so much more.”

From imploring us to rid ourselves of preoccupation with material possessions and lamenting the proliferation of technology in place of verbal communication, Release The Fear is all about embracing what lies on the inside.

With a strong message and a deep connection to the music he creates, Natty was adamant that he should have control over this release.

“I don’t compromise with music,” says Natty, citing “label and industry issues” as the hold up.

Running his own music label (also named Vibes and Pressure), travelling and knee-deep in humanitarian work, Natty is all about keeping busy.

He is heavily involved with a number of different charities including ERASE foundation, which stands for Ending Reliance and Supporting Empowerment.

“This is my main focus. It’s based here in London but all our work is in Africa. ‘The West’ has caused so much destruction particularly in Africa and to Africans.

“Africa is the spiritual home of all mankind so that is why it is at the top of my priority list.”

As well as his charity work, Natty mentors young musicians and provides workshops for homeless people and young offenders.

It’s refreshing to find a musician who manages to find enough time to practice exactly what he preaches: spreading love and friendship in spite of ongoing turmoil.

Natty’s Candlelit Tour comes to living rooms, gardens, woods and parks throughout August. For more info visit nattymusic.com.

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