“Music is pretty much my lifeline, I struggle a lot in myself day to day and music has been the one thing that’s constant and kept me going.
Natalie Oaks is a singer / songwriter, BBC introducing artist and is currently on the UPSURGE programme. She’s also a young trustee here at The Music Works. We caught up with her to talk about all things music, UPSURGE and her journey with us so far.
“When I was about 17, I had already been making music by myself in my bedroom. I remember going on Google and looking up opportunities in Gloucester that were available to me. I came across this guy called Malaki [Creative Director at The Music Works] and I got in touch with him. Then he referred me to the UPSURGE programme. I had to wait a little, as I was 17, but then managed to get onto it when I was old enough”
“Gloucester is quite scarce in what it offers for young people, especially those that want to head into the music industry as a profession. I think I struck gold in finding The Music Works and having facilities like this pretty much on my doorstep is basically unmatched”
“I joined The Music Works at a turbulent time. I picked the University I did so that I could be close to The Music Works. The Music Works has been the one constant in my life since I became a part of it. I am always telling my mates about the studio and how much I love it. It has given me a confidence boost and a sense of stability.”
Natalie didn’t pursue music as a subject at school. “I think that’s mainly due to the fact that schools don’t cater for all the different types and styles of music people want to make. The Music Works is really different in the sense, in that they really listen to what you want to do and what you want to make.”
The biggest barrier to making music for Nat was money. “It’s really difficult for someone who is young and especially in Gloucester to have access to the equipment and space that you need to progress. Coming to The Music Works has been great to have access to the space for free and also to practice, learn and develop in the industry that I want to be in”. Nat continued, “it’s not even just the money, it’s the way that everyone here at The Music Works inspires you to be your best self, it is a confidence boost that I didn’t think I needed. I know that by coming here I can improve my abilities in a way I didn’t think was possible before.”
“There’s a lot of free space to move around and find your own path. I know I can talk to anyone here about what I want to do and they will help me get there. They can make unrealistic goals way more realistic, which is really nice.”
The Music Works programme has helped develop Nat’s skills and abilities as an artist. “I had never been in a music studio before. It helped me with performing, which I had never done before either! My first live performance was the UPSURGE weekender. I found that it has really helped to boost my confidence and also my song-writing with the workshops available.” Nat continued, “The facilities here are pretty unmatched locally, the amount of funding and support it has had from so many people is amazing. As a community project this is so essential to have and it’s really important that we make this space really available for young people in the area who might not think music is for them.”
We asked Nat what she would tell a young person thinking of coming to The Music Works. She said “You will probably meet some of the most influential people in your life. Even if you are not sure of your abilities you can just come along and try it out and you will definitely find something along the way that you will enjoy and want to pursue.”
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