Country music fans came in droves to hear a who’s who of Nashville including Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban and along with the big guns, they got great local acts including The Billy Rice Band from Sarasota! Two Voice contestants from the current Season 13 representing Team Adam is Dylan Gerard and Team Blake’s Natalie Stovall gave the crowd a taste of their talents on the Sleiman stage.
We were lucky enough to score an interview with Natalie prior to her show and then went to watch her perform and were blown away by this vocal and fiddle playing powerhouse. She has been playing over 200 shows a year with her band for the last 10 years. She said she decided to “shake things up” and tryout for the Voice! Check her out this Monday or Tuesday for her battle-round!
SP: First of all, tell us about playing at the White House?
Natalie: That was in 2007 for President Bush and I was the first female asked to come and sing at the White House Press Correspondents dinner and I sang “God Bless America”. They were honoring the victims of the shootings at Virginia Tech. That was one of the most incredible honors of my life. I was with the President and Mrs. Bush looking out at movie stars and celebrities. Larry King and Larry David were sitting next to each other. It was so huge. I had an amazing moment with the President and the First Lady laughing and received a photo of it and is one of the treasures in my home.
SP: You have been around awhile and playing non-stop for years. What made you decide to audition for the Voice?
Natalie: I thought about it over the years but the timing was never right. But this past year, my record label folded and a couple of band members left and after 10 years I decided to “shake things up a bit and step into unfamiliar territory”. I have been so completely overwhelmed with the response. All of the sudden, people who have been to my shows over the years are letting me know they are watching and being so supportive. We have only had the blind auditions air so far and it’s been so positive. I thought it would be good exposure but the re-engagement of my supporters all along has blown me away.
SP: Did you want Blake to be your coach?
Natalie: I really did! I really did! Of course, All four of the coaches have influenced me at different parts of my life touched my life for different reasons. I was obsessed with Maroon 5 in college, we’ve grown up all listening to Miley, Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls”, I could just stand next to her and listen to her sing all day. But as a country singer from Nashville, I really wanted Blake to turn around. It is really nerve wracking because you don’t know when you are going to audition in the process and there was like a hundred of us and then you go in order they tell you. If the teams fill up, there are people who don’t get the chance to audition. You are sequestered for a month in L.A. for a month waiting to audition. I was toward the end of the auditions, I was getting nervous. I just needed a chair to turn and I need it to be Blake and it was Blake!
SP: Are you playing with Dylan (Team Adam) at the festival here?
Natalie: No, he is playing tomorrow. We just realized through the ad for the festival that we are both playing! We were texting today that it’s crazy we got put on the same festival. We became friends at the blind auditions. During that month, you have orientation meetings, wardrobe fittings, etc. You get put in groups, it’s like summer camp, you can’t leave and your family can’t visit so you create a family life there.
SP: Is your husband playing with you today?
Natalie: He is not today. He is the drummer for our band but he is visiting family in Seattle right now. We created the band together years ago in college. We don’t have kids but we have a miniature pinscher who travels on the road with us. We are playing with full band today and we have a sub drummer named Megan, she is bad ass!
SP: Do you live in Nashville?
Natalie: Yes, we live in Nashville. I grew up in Columbia, an hour away so I was always in Nashville for voice lessons all the time. The band has all lived in Nash the last 10-12 years.
SP: You have played at the Grand Old Opry, right?
Natalie: Yes, I have played there twice. My debut was when I was twelve. I worked at a show at the Opryland Theme Park when it still existed, I did a kid’s show and was filming a video and they asked me to do come to the Opry and I played my fiddle and got to sing there. I did a Mary Chapin Carpenter song. A couple of years ago our band played our single release there. Nashville is a big small town especially in the music community.
SP: Had you met Blake before?
Natalie: We had! We played a festival in Oregon and opening for him like a year ago. I also met him a couple of years ago in Vegas at the ACM’s backstage. People asked me if he would remember me and I said, no he only met me for a minute. They meet so many people. But when that man turned around in his chair he said, “Where do I know you from?” I couldn’t believe it! He said, “Don’t you have a band”? He remembered that Martina McBride was there when we met in Vegas. I was floored. He has a great memory for faces.
SP: Have you worked with Rascal Flats on the show yet?
Natalie: I did work with them for my battle-round that haven’t aired yet. I believe it will be this Monday or Tuesday.
SP: Let’s say you don’t win the battle-round, will you be ok with that?
Natalie: Oh yeah! The exposure I have already had is unbelievable but I am so used to this crazy music industry and it’s not always what you think it’s gonnah be. You just keep riding the wave. The Voice is not going to embarrass anyone, they put extremely talented people on even if you don’t make it through, even if you don’t turn a chair. There are reasons that the coaches may already have that type of voice, it doesn’t mean you are not a great singer. I walked into it thinking I am along for the ride and I would love to go to the live rounds. The thing is, I do this for a living, I am going to do it no matter what. I have got new music coming out after the Voice wraps up. It’s great we can work in-between the taped and live stuff like doing this festival.
SP: How do you know when live rounds start?
Natalie: They call you in and also give you some blocks of dates to keep open that you can’t schedule work during those times.
SP: What is your latest CD:
Natalie: It is called “Heartbreak”. You can download it on all the music sites as well as getting it on my website, www.nataliestovall.com I do all my own social media. It is important to me to connect with people.
SP: Best of luck, we will be watching you on The Voice!
Natalie: Thank you so much!
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography