Natalia M King is an artist who could tell you some stories. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, but, after finishing her studies, set across the U.S. via hitchhiking and Greyhound buses. Along the way, she performed a variety of jobs including one as a trawler on an Alaskan fishing boat.
She settled in Paris with her guitar but didn’t necessarily set out to become a blues singer. At a cinema in Nimes, she watched The Soul of Man and experienced the revelation of hearing Skip James for the first time. Of the film, she said, “That gave me one hell of a kick up the backside. That film began my initiation.” That was a stroke of luck for audiences who can now experience the revelation that she is on her new album Woman Mind of My Own.
It doesn’t take long to realize just how powerful an artist King is. The album begins with the title track. This is a Delta blues song with powerful vocals made even more powerful by the spare arrangement. The vocals are complimented by some wicked work on the slide guitar by Fabien Squillante that is good enough to stop you in your tracks so you can focus on what you’re hearing. The best prescription for this song: crank the volume, and just absorb this great blues song. “Forget You” is another song that might make you stop what you’re doing. It is a mellow soul song with piano and horns. With seemingly minimal effort, King delivers smooth and powerful vocals that command your full attention, much like when you listen to Etta James.
The album features a couple of interesting covers. One is “Pink Houses” featuring Elliott Murphy. This is a stripped-down and jazzy version of the song. The instrumentation is muted with the piano and upright bass being the most prominent sounds. It’s no wonder that this soulful duet received a stamp of approval from John Mellencamp himself. The other cover is George Michael’s “One More Try.” This is another display of King’s power as a vocalist. While Squillante strums an acoustic guitar, she delivers the lyrics in such a way that you feel all the emotion.
King isn’t just a powerful vocalist. She is also a versatile one. Throughout the album, she moves easily between blues, soul, and even gospel. Whether she sings about the search for self (“AKA Chosen”) or being mistreated in a relationship (“Lover You Don’t Treat Me No Good”), her vocals are smooth and evocative. It’s enough to let you know that if she did an a capella song, it would likely give you goosebumps.
Woman Mind of My Own by Natalia M King is a showcase for her vocals and for a style that you don’t encounter often. It is an album that leaves you wanting more of the soul that she brings to these songs. The album is available everywhere now.
Natalia M King : vocals
Fabien Squillante: slide guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussions and backing vocals
Ismail Benhabyles: keys, percussion and backing vocals
Kania Allard: backing vocals
Rémi Vignolo: drums
Olivier Bridot: trumpet
Sylvain “Sly” Fetis: tenor sax
Jonas Muel: tenor sax
Vincent Renaudineau: trombone
Elliott Murphy: vocals, harmonica
Raphaël Ducasse: double bass
Grant Haua: vocals, guitarr, and cajon
Philip Ducap: backing vocals
François Maincent: backing vocals
Vincent Peirani: Accordion