Stage 1, 16:45-17:30
Natalie Findlay, professionally known as Findlay, is a singer, songwriter and musician. Originally from Manchester. She began singing and playing guitar at the age of 15 and moved to London at 20 to pursue a career in music. Her highly anticipated second album ‘“The Last of the 20th Century Girls’” is self-described as a “late coming of age story” drenched in nostalgia, melancholy and the kind of strange experiences only a misunderstood millennial could have. The record effortlessly melds breezy alt-indie, psychedelic pop, dreamy lo-fi chill, indie-rock and expansive cinematic sounds.
Since her 2017 debut “Forgotten Pleasures”, which Findlay and her band toured extensively around the world, she embarked on a collaborative project with long-time writing partner and producer Jules Apollinaire. In 2019 TTRRUUCES was born – a psychedelic rock opera following the story of two characters on the search for a mythical drug named after the band. Having released their eponymous debut “TTRRUUCES” in 2020 to critical acclaim, the pandemic skewered any touring plans for the band and so came the perfect moment for Natalie to hunker down and truly develop her second solo record ‘“The Last of the 20th Century Girls.’”
“I started writing bits and bobs for this record a while back but I became so busy with TTRRUUCES that Findlay took a back seat for a while. Obviously along came Covid and everything got put on hold for TTRRUUCES so then I got really stuck into finishing Findlay album two. Thank God my studio is in my house, I had everything I needed to make the record, all the instruments, the space to create. I weirdly enjoyed the solitude of it all.” says Natalie.
‘“The Last of the 20th Century Girls.’” sees Findlay drawing upon her own personal experiences since “Forgotten Pleasures.” Themes range from grief and loss, the struggle of losing and re-building one’s confidence and of course the mind-fuck that was 2020 inspiring songs like ‘The End of the World,’ and ‘Somehow Someday.’
Crafting her own intimate reality within her song writing by twisting wry humour and heavy subject matter, Natalie has explored the weight of her own evolving identity and the depths of her vivid imagination. Opening track and first single ‘Life is but a dream’ perfectly captures Findlay’s strange new world and approach to storytelling. Directing her own dream-like visuals to accompany the song, she wistfully recollects her childhood ideations in stark contrast to the burden of her reality.
A reality in which Natalie has begun to forge her own path, moving away from the traditional label routes and toxic standards of the music industry. Creating her own no-nonsense narrative she explains, “The last few years were tough for me, navigating the death of someone close and dealing with the aftermath, then the pandemic, the lockdowns... my mental health took a big hit. I was totally burnt out for a while. I had to work very hard on myself to get back to a place where I even felt comfortable releasing music and trying to summon the mojo that’s needed to carry a record and put it out into the world. I think towards the end of last year I finally got my shit back together and finishing this album was a really healing experience for me. It was great having something to work towards between all the chaos and heartache. I also made the decision that the next music I released I had to own, I had to be in control and I didn’t want to ask permission or opinions from anyone else on the making of.” she goes on, “This feels like a new journey for me, it’s exciting and empowering doing this by myself and for myself. It's forcing me to be more creative, to work harder and learn faster. I also got the chance to write about more meaningful subjects, tough subjects. I’ve been on such a steep learning curve of experience and self-realisation. A big turning point for me was coming to terms with the fact the music industry isn't the fantasy I once thought it was. I’ve had major record deals that weren’t right for me, I’ve been dumped by managers, things go wrong, shit gets cancelled but you know what that’s actually just life. You can choose to grow from it or let it ruin you. I’m choosing to grow and I'm choosing it now on my terms. It’s like I’ve been rolling around in the dark for the last ten years and suddenly the lights just came on.”
While her roots are still firmly grounded in left-field rock, her matured song-writing style and experimentation in production open up new spaces for her impressive vocal range to fill, with sonic exploration varying from sweeping string arrangements to analogue synths, drones and even sitar. “The making of this album felt so relaxed, it obviously really helped that I live with my creative soul mate and we have our own studio at home. Everyone who’s contributed to the record is a friend. Everyone I’m working or collaborating with I love, there’s no strangers or men in suits involved. There was no pressure to please anyone except myself. Obviously, I'm nervous to put new music out there under Findlay after so long, I hope it’s accepted and enjoyed by whoever listens. It’s definitely a different vibe to ‘Forgotten Pleasures’ and I’ve grown up a hell of a lot since then but the new album is definitely still me and I’m proud of it and who I’ve become through the making.”
Produced and mixed by Jules Apollinaire, additional mixing by Caeser Edmunds and mastered by Chab, “The Last of the 20th Century Girls” is set for release in spring 2022.