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Exclusive Q&A with Natalie Stovall

The independent music artist reflects on her time on The Voice, and her musical journey as a whole, ahead of the release of her new single, "Wine or Whiskey."

Written By:  Lorena Coleman

Photographers:  Supplied

Natalie Stovall is used to the sometimes-tough road that comes with being an independent music artist. In fact, the road is where she spends most of her time. Having performed since she was a young girl, Stovall recently got the opportunity to perform on the ultimate stage: as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice. We chatted with the singer and multi-instrumentalist about everything from her experiences on the show, life on the road, her “fighter” mentality and her exciting new single “Wine or Whiskey,” written by Lori McKenna, the late Andrew Dorff, and Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook.

Nashville Lifestyles (NL): Let’s talk about your time on The Voice. What was the audition process like?
Natalie Stovall (NS): It was wild, cause it’s so much longer and more intensive than I think a lot of people realize. My first audition was actually back in January. They had reached out, it was like a private audition which they do for a lot of people, and I auditioned for them in Nashville, then immediately started the call-back process.

I started in Nashville, with a couple of different rounds there, and then I went to L.A for a week in March and did another call-back audition. Then, once I got to the point where they said “Ok, now you are going to audition for the blinds,” everybody that did that was in L.A for a month in June. So, we were all sequestered in a hotel and stayed out in L.A for an entire month, before we even did the blind audition...it’s kind of crazy how that all works.

NL: Wow! Any advice that you took away from your time with the coaches?
NS: One of my favorite parts of working on the show was the vocal instructor I had, which is different from the celebrity coaches. I mean, we get amazing advice from Blake and stuff, but my vocal instructor…I hadn’t really stopped and focused on my technique with my voice in years, so it was really fun to get to do that—it’s not something you necessarily have the opportunity to do all the time. I think more than anything, it just gave me a bit of a breather and now I feel so refreshed and focused and energized on my new music.

NL: And how have your fans responded?

NS: Good lord, my fans have completely mobilized over this! They have gotten so excited, and I’m hearing from people that I haven’t heard from since a show they came to in 2006. It’s a way for them to connect with me, when I haven’t been back to their town in ten years. You get to be there in front of millions and millions of people—that’s been a huge gift I’ve received from all of this, cause I knew it would get me in front of new fans and new eyeballs and that’s been amazing, I mean, that’s been awesome! But one of the most important parts to me is the way that my own fans have responded, and are just so fired up!

NL: We hear you're working on new music. Can you tell us more about your song, “Wine or Whiskey”?
NS: It’s really cool in Nashville because even if you write music, you also find and hear songs that someone else has written and you go, ‘Oh my goodness, I wish I had written that song’, or you just feel like it was written for you. I think that’s why we all love music. When you find a song that you can’t even describe why it speaks to you, but that it’s so powerful. I found this song that Lori McKenna, Jimi Westbrook, and Andrew Dorff all wrote together. I just heard the song and thought it was incredible.

This song, “Wine or Whiskey”, lives in that moment where you don’t know if what’s gonna happen next is gonna be incredible or devastating, and I’ve had a lot of those moments lately (laughs). So, there’s been a lot of emotion and a lot of beauty in creating this song. I feel honored to be a part of it, and to put a voice to it. Jimi Westbrook actually came in and sang background vocals on it, which just took it to another level.

It’s just been such a beautiful process, and creating something like that means so much to me. Most of the songs we released as singles always showed the fun side of my personality, and I love that because my live show is so important to me; but it’s really cool to get the opportunity to release something that is just beautiful and special and has a different side, kind of the next step for Natalie Stovall.

NL: You’ve been on the road quite a bit. When you get to spend time in Nashville, what’s that experience like?
NS: It’s such a gift. I mean, my band and I always joke, we go a little crazy if we’ve been home for too long, cause we love the road! But, with that said, when we have the opportunity to be home the biggest thing we want to do is go into the studio, and for me I end up writing a lot and partnering up with some of the other writers that I love in town.

It’s about finding the right people to partner up with to help me tell my story, and finding the right producer to help tell the story of being a 'fighter' and coming back. I’ve been out here a long time doing this, and it’s hard to lose a record deal, it’s hard to just keep going sometimes when band members quit or when you encounter hardships. But the thing is, I know what I was born to do, and I know that I’m meant to live this life and be an entertainer and be a writer and be on the road, and I’m not gonna stop. Until I have to be wheeled out in the wheelchair (laughs). I’m just so thankful for all these opportunities. Blake asked me back as his comeback because that’s what I am, and a lot of my music reflects that. We all have to find ways to pick ourselves back up, and that’s important to me.

NL: To wrap, tell us what are some of your favorite places to go to in town.
NS: I’m obsessed with some of the taco trucks on Nolensville Road, like all of the cool food joints that are hole-in-the-walls. We have so many in Nashville that are amazing. I also love Red Door in Midtown, me and the guys love going there, that’s one of our favorite little spots. It’s so funny, when I go to music venues, like The Basement East or 3rd and Lindsley, those venues are some of my favorite places to go and hang out at and go see other artists play. Those are some of the best spots.

NL: Thanks again for talking with us, we wish you all the best with your future projects! 
NS: Thank you, it’s an exciting time!

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