Team Highlight: Natalia Pardalis has a lot going on, but still has time to help you!
Q1) Please tell us something about your self and how you came to be an artist
A1) I grew up in a musical home. I come from a long line of musicians - both sides of the family and both of my parents were professional musicians. I always knew that I wanted to be an artist but how I define that continuously changes over the years. As for something about myself, random fact: I hate cilantro - I don’t know why but it tastes like soap to me.
Q2) Mr. Slowpoke – tell me about the "Why" for this tune, it’s a single correct? Will it be part of an upcoming album? Is this for the Jazz market specifically or a missing link between Jazz and Pop?
A2) Yes it is a single, I’m currently working on an album called “Nat’s Jazz House.” I was inspired by a DJ at this little club called Mosaic in New York who played jazz mixed in with a bunch of pop and hip hop. I walked away that night armed with new ideas of communicating. It inspired me to imagine what the music scene would look like if I owned a club so the album has hip hop, pop, and Latin elements but is also very jazz.
As well, I also listen to quite a bit of Hellenic music so there is Hellenic influences as well, for example, Mr. Slowpoke’s rhythm is based off a traditional Greek dance.
The "why" of Mr. Slowpoke is the “joys” of modern dating in the 21c. I was talking to a guy who couldn’t define (wouldn’t? Not sure which) our “relationship”. My ending is very different though than the lovely librarian in my music video as I got ghosted - very 21st century.
Q3) You have your own record company, what inspired you to create it? What are your goals with it?
A3) It felt like a natural progression in my career. I was finding that a lot of the stuff that our studio, Pardalis Studio, was doing didn’t feel right under that umbrella so Maria’s Records was born. It is named after my mother who was my first music teacher. I’m lucky to not have to run the day to day things at the label as I have an amazing team who does that.
We are a boutique label so we only work with a few artists. We focus on classical, jazz, and pop artists. It is really about building partnerships with artists to help them reach their full potential both creativity and commercially. Our long term goals is to get some Junos for our artists (yes we are a very Canadian focused label). In January, we were very excited to have a radio distributor and tracking in both North America and Europe for our artists. We can’t wait to see what we can do with it.
Q4) Tell me about the place you recorded Mr. Slowpoke – was it your ideal? Why?
A4) It was recorded at Echo Studio in Vancouver and produced by Murray Yates (Gold Record). I am recording the rest the album there too. Murray and I get along very well and he pushes me to think outside of my creative “box.” We have very different musical backgrounds but he knew right away what I wanted to do with this album. He also is the first producer to figure out how to record my voice correctly as I’m a belter. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that.
Q5) Do you ever use grants? If so do you have any advice or tips for fundraising for artist projects?
A5) I have helped many artists receive grants but I have never received one. I keep applying, but until then I’m self-funded as an artist. It isn’t always easy but I always find a way. I would encourage artists to keep applying though for grants. Crowd funding is another great way to fundraise. I also always advice artists to find likeminded artists to collaborate with and make trades.
Q6) What would you like to say to the women/children studying jazz right now?
A5) Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. It is their (sometimes well-meaning but nevertheless) insecurities coming through. Just do it!! Also find a good mentor that can honestly help you figure out what your voice (pun intended) is. And don’t fall for folks who want to “rebrand” you to fit into a box especially when it will make them money.
And more importantly, don’t let anyone push you into a corner where you don’t feel comfortable. When I was starting out, I had a certain famous agent who will remain unnamed promise to make me the “girl Michael Buble” (not sure how that would work cause I’m Natalia Pardalis) in exchange for a “if anyone needs a girlfriend” deal (direct quote). I said no and out of revenge, he tried to have me blacklisted but like Roy Rogers once said: “reputation is like wallpaper, not how good it looks but it is the glue that keeps it up” so it didn’t work. So be true to yourself and everything will workout well even if you are going through hard times.
And remember - Success comes in many different ways - just find your story and tell it!
Q7) All this during COVID-19? What have been your experiences?
A7) Oh Covid - honestly I go from extremely frustrated and mad to I think I got this lol but I’m so thankful of my family and friends in my social bubble. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.
Musically, it has been sad as I desperately miss performing live and my tour was cancelled but it has also been amazing because I’m writing a lot of music and I’ve learnt a lot. I’m also super proud of all the students who have way more time to practice and have worked so hard especially at our new way of communicating for our zoom lessons. 2020 is a weird year to say the least.
I just keep reminding myself that Mae West and the Marx Brothers became super successful after the 1918 pandemic because they found ways of sharing their art during the pandemic. So I’ll be around on that little screen you call your cellphone.
More importantly, I just pray we get through this and find ways of becoming better humans as 2020 has exposed many of our negative qualities.
Q8) I hear you're now a consultant for musicians struggling with social media and grants?
A8) Social Media and grant writing can be daunting for artists especially ones that don’t fit in “traditional” roles. Should we use TikTok? What are reels on Instagram? What grants should I apply for? My career as an artist has been very non-traditional where agents etc. were not an option so I’ve been using social media to build my platform long before it was considered necessary for artists. Over the years, I’ve learnt what to do and what not to do and love sharing this knowledge with artists. As my November schedule will be freer, I’m offering zoom consulting to artists. For more information - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org