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Nexus Meets… Natalie Duque

Based in Los Angeles, USA, Natalie Duque is breeding her own unique type of folk-pop. A sensational singer-songwriter, she combines insightful lyrics with emotional melodies resulting in something pretty awesome. We speak with Natalie about her latest EP Letters To Our Loved Ones, online collaborations and more.

What is the backstory to Letters To Our Loved Ones?

Letters To Our Loved Ones began as just two friends trying to find ways to cope with the pandemic and put as much positive energy out into the universe as possible. We initially didn’t start with the intention to turn these songs into an EP – it just kind of naturally turned into this project that we felt the world needed right now.

You collaborated with Ramita Arora for this album. What was the virtual collaboration like and would you recommend virtual collaborations to musicians?

Ramita and I had actually already been collaborating virtually when the pandemic hit. I met her last November at a music conference in Los Angeles, but she lived in Canada at the time, so when quarantine happened, it really didn’t affect our writing process!

Collaborating virtually is a bit of an adjustment from collaborating in real life, but I would definitely recommend it to musicians, especially right now when it’s the safest option. It also allows you to collaborate with people from all over the world who you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to work with. I think it’s easier to have longer co-writing sessions when you’re in person, so if someone is contemplating trying out a virtual co-write who hasn’t done one yet, I would suggest breaking it down into a few small sessions as opposed to one big session. It can get challenging to stare at a screen for too long. But one thing that’s the same no matter what – always spend time getting to know your co-writer first before jumping in!

What inspired Letters To Our Loved Ones?

We started writing these songs at the beginning of the pandemic. I’m someone who prefers to write sad songs, but I was feeling so anxious about the uncertainty of everything. I knew that I had to flip my perspective or I’d fall down a dark hole that would feel impossible to get out of. Luckily, Ramita felt similarly, so we started writing positive songs. We thought about what we needed to hear to feel better, and we thought about the things we wanted to say to our friends and family who were struggling and might also need some reassuring.

What do you hope people take away from this EP?

Although the songs had been finished for quite some time, we decided to release them right before Thanksgiving because we felt like that’s when people would need it most. The holidays are probably looking a lot different this year for most people and we hope this album brings them a little more love, joy and hope.

Describe your music in a single sentence.

Honest and heartfelt.

Do you have any advice for new artists?

These days, artists have to wear many hats. It’s both a blessing and a curse since you’re able to have a lot more control over your career, but it can also feel really overwhelming. My advice is to take baby steps and to be kind to yourself in the process.

Why do you choose to create music?

I’ve tried to quit music a few times in the past for various reasons and I always find my way back. It’s something that I was born to do – it chooses me as much as I choose it. So I create music because there is no other alternative that makes me feel as alive, or as whole.

What are your future plans?

I plan on continuing to make music that I love and collaborating with writers who inspire me. I hope to be able to release more of my collaborative projects in the near future. As for my solo music, I have a few singles scheduled to release in 2021 and hopefully a solo EP some time in 2022.

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