Detroit native singer-songwriter Natalie Lucassian has a stage presence and voice that can be described as “captivating.” The 21-year-old vocalist recently sat down with Resurget’s own Jeff Mullins to catch up and look ahead at what’s coming up.
“We met each other musically,” said Jeff Mullins, Resurget photographer. “Back with my old band.”
“That was when I actually met you and got to see you basically steal a show from the headliner too,” Mullins says to her. “I had never seen someone performing with such a soulful persona that you had.”
“I think it’s growing up in Detroit, the city of Motown and soul. It’s always played a part in how I play music; how I listen to music,” said Lucassian. “You know it’s really cool because I, for the longest time, felt like there were not too many people doing soul and funk in the younger local music scene. And then you kind of realize that Detroit music is just a melting pot of such talented people and everyone has a little bit of soul in them.”
A brief tea break and the pair got down to some hard questions, including Lucassian’s choice to tout Detroit roots.
“You say you’re from Detroit but you’re actually from White Lake,” said Mullins. “Did you grow up over there?”
“My dad lives on the eastside of Detroit,” she explained. “When I was younger they lived in Hamtramck and then my mom moved out to White Lake when I was starting school just so I wasn’t in Detroit schools.”
“At that time, probably not the best option,” Mullins inquired.
“I feel very much so connected to Detroit and because my dad still lives in Detroit and I would go there on the weekends,” added Lucassian. “I’d be like, ‘Oh, I just love it down here,’ and then I’d have to go back to the yee-haw town and get very frustrated. But, I’ve learned to admire it for what it is.”
“Being out there especially you had a lot of family time,” added Mullins. “You’re really close to your mom.”
“Most people’s parents are like, ‘Oh it’s cute that you want to do music’ and then it’s ‘When are you going to get a real job or do this,'” she said. “Music’s always been a big part of my life. I’m really close with my mom just cause single mom-only child situation. But my dad’s side of the family is very musically inclined. My uncle is a musician who lives down in Nashville – still does it to this day. My dad drums; mom was just a music lover. She was just always bringing me around to shows and that was my childhood.”
Riding a nostalgic wave of before school MTV watching, Lucassian and Mullins gushed about Green Day’s “American Idiot” music video.
“You impress me with your style,” he noted. “You could be on a set as a stylist for any person out there.”
“Thank you I love fashion and I always have. I’m an avid thrifter. Not only is it good for the environment, but fast fashion can be so gross,” added Lucassian. “Thrifting is a thrill for me. I could spend hours just digging through things and you find not only really original pieces that no one has.”
“Every single outfit I’ve seen you in – performing or just out at a show – I could point you out in the crowd,” said Mullins. “I don’t use this term loosely, but it’s kind of iconic.”
Keeping in theme with the topic of style, Harry Styles has been a figure of interest for Lucassian.
“I wouldn’t say he’s not an inspiration of mine but… I love everything that Harry Styles stands for because he’s androgynous and been on his own wave with his slogan, ‘Treat people with kindness,’” she said. “He’s a very soft-spoken and intelligent man, and it’s very admirable.”
“You seem to pull your inspiration from people like John Mayer and maybe David Bowie,” he said.
“I love David Bowie, I have a David Bowie tattoo … you look at [him] and you look at Prince and you look at modern Harry Styles, and they’re all [showing that] fashion doesn’t have gender [attached to] it,” said Lucassian. “You wear what you want and you own it and it’s awesome.”
“Musically, I am very inspired by John Mayer – especially his folk stuff,” added Lucassian. “I write a lot of folkier songs, but he also just goes for a bluesy, jazzy sound in his work, such as Continuum. That album changed my life.”
“Being down in like Detroit and then back to your quote ‘yee-haw’ town there is a lot of that like folk, country, rock influence kind of stuff and I mean like a little bit of Motown so I can definitely see where you get that soul aspect of your music from,” added Mullins.
“I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin – my mom was really into soul music,” she said. “I remember listening to Prince, but she’d skip over certain songs. As a grown adult, listening to some of his dirtier stuff, I was like, ‘Ooh, I understand why she skipped over this song.’ No child should listen to ‘Darling Nikki.'”
Returning to having a great family support system for her musical career, Mullins routed to a recent show at 20 Front Street.
“It’s not easy being an independent artist, but I saw that at your 20 Front Street show … a lot of your family showed up and it was super cool,” noted Mullins.
“It was insane. I love 20 Front Street – it’s one of my favorite venues in Detroit to play. Not only do people come to just listen to music like they genuinely want to hear it but the staff treat you like family and take such good care of you and I love it there,” added Lucassian.
“But yeah it was crazy,” she continued. “I had a friend who is a photographer come out… she took a photo of my whole family and there were like four generations in that photo. I’m really lucky to have my great-grandma still and very very fortunate to have them want to come out to my shows.”
“Are you going to be releasing stuff anytime soon,” asked Mullins, prompted by talk of singles artwork.
“[An] up-in-the-air goal is at least one single before the end of the year hopefully,” said Lucassian. “I just have to go in and record all these songs. I’m sitting on so many; I just need to get my band together. It’s really hard to get everyone in the same room.”
Lucassian has a show coming up November 9, 2019 at The Loving Touch in Ferndale.
“It’s a women’s benefit and it’s a $5 minimum donation or any sort of feminine products to get in,” said Lucassian. “It’s put on by Old Soul Vintage and ran by a woman. The event is very female-empowering. I’m really excited because it’s two of my favorite things: girl power and vintage clothes – and music! So I happily took the gig.”
More information on the 2nd annual For the Girls Market can be found here.