ARTIST FEATURE: Natasha Weatherill from ‘The Dream: Monash Sessions’

We’ve been featuring Monash University in Melbourne, Australia who performed on the album The Dream: Monash Sessions, featuring music by Dave Douglas. For this feature, we’re checking in on Natasha Weatherill, who is one of the two vocalists on the recording. Natasha completed her Diploma of Music through the Generations In Jazz Academy in Mount Gambier and her Bachelor of Music (Honours) through Monash, where her honours thesis explored the role of habit manipulation within the practice of jazz vocal improvisation. Natasha released her debut collaborative album Chasing Game with trombonist Josh Bennier in 2019 and hopes to record an album of original contemporary jazz works in the near future.

Natasha responded to email questions as follows:

What instrument do you play and can you describe the room you recorded in?

Voice. I recorded in my bedroom in a small unit. I could just fit my laptop stand and recording mic in the corner with my iPhone attached the my mirror to film my performances for the video. The university loaned me better headphones that assisted with noise leaking into the recording.

What was the biggest challenge of remote recording and how did it differ from challenges to in person playing?

I think overcoming that in-person interaction that comes with dynamics and the general vibe or feel of a song. Not being able to gain immediate feedback with regards to the composers intentions. Most of all, I’d say tuning and time feel proved to be a challenge also. You wouldn’t know until the recordings had been mixed whether you’d then have to go back and re-do it because the tuning was out.

How will the musical interactions you’ve had via remote stay in your practice when the lockdown is eased, if at all?

I think the very fact that we were able to piece together these recordings that don’t sound as though we were never in the same room together as a group has proven that collaborations with musicians either interstate or internationally is still an option without necessarily ever needing to meet in person. I guess it was something I’d never considered before and lockdown made it so apparently plausible, because we were simply forced to make it work.

Where do you see yourself and your music fitting into the community of musicians?

My musical taste as a performer is varied. I love contemporary jazz (think Gian Slater, Kristin Berardi, Azimuth/Norma Winstone, Brad Mehldau), traditional jazz (think Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae) but I also love performing indie rock/pop music and RnB. I either like to find ways to merge these styles or at least suitable performance opportunities to stretch each musical muscle.

Where can people learn more about your work?

My website is here and I’m on Facebook and SoundCloud too.

The Dream: Monash Sessions is available exclusively on Bandcamp here.