Natalie Red is the Estonian artist blending nostalgia with futurism

HUNGER catches up with the artist following the release of her latest single, ‘OVER’.

Natalie Red’s story is like a modern-day musical fairytale. The Estonian artist and producer started out by posting Ariana Grande remixes and original songs with samples swiped from BTS to YouTube. A symbol of the internet age, Natalie has always known her audience: her debut track ‘Addicted’ – a dance-ready, intrinsically “cool” take on the classic love song – was released alongside a sped-up version, ready to make the rounds on TikTok and be amplified by clicks and shares. It clearly worked, as that track has now racked up over 600,000 streams. 

Spending her teenage years going between Estonia and Finland before settling in London, Natalie’s nomadic lifestyle is felt in the sense that you can’t really place her sound in one singular box. Though she’s landed on “hyperpop” for now, that doesn’t quite harness how her music simultaneously looks back and forward, or “mixing nostalgia with futuristic elements” as she puts it. Meanwhile, it also hasn’t stopped her from wanting to take on rap and trap in the future. 

Though some might liken her to PinkPantheress or PC Music gurus like Charli XCX, Natalie transcends these echoes. Her pulsating melodies and digitised yet soulful vocals have evolved and metamorphosed in the short time she’s been on the scene, and that’s no better illustrated than in her latest offering ‘OVER’. It’s not so much a song as it is an emotional landscape brushed with synths and infectious rhythms. It tells the story of a relationship breaking down in a way that pulls you into her novel, Blade Runner-esque world – and we can’t get enough of it.

Here, we sit down with Natalie to discuss her inspirations, her creative process, and what the future holds for her undefinable sound.

Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into music? 

My name is Natalie Red. I’m from a very small country called Estonia, but I moved to Finland when I was 13. Most of my teen years were spent between the two countries. Three years ago I moved to London and studied music at BIMM. That’s when I really started to produce. Before I was kind of slacking, I’m not gonna lie. But being in a new city really pushed me. I couldn’t just go back home, you know? 

How would you describe your sound?

Very electronic and hyperpop-ish. I’d love it to go in a very futuristic lane as well: mixing nostalgia with futuristic elements. 

Was it electronic artists you listened to growing up?

I listened to everything. To be honest, I really liked Ariana Grande. She’s always been a big influence. And Britney Spears, obviously. In terms of electronic stuff, I loved what came out of 2014. People like Lady Gaga.

Which artists have inspired you the most? 

Pharrell. I always watch interviews with him and the videos where he’s making beats with, like, Tyler the Creator. They always inspire me to produce more and make more music. But, yeah, Pharrell is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. 

How would you describe your creative process at the moment?

I start everything from my room, where I’ve just got a very tiny studio setup. I make everything on Ableton Live, and when I feel I’ve made a good enough demo, I bring it to a proper studio and finish it with someone else. I always love to see what producers will add to my songs. It was the same process for my most recent single ‘OVER’. I just played a few demos to a producer and he picked the one he liked the most, then added a few things to it. It was really cool. 

Are there any genres or sounds that you’d like to experiment with in the future? 

I listen to a lot of hip hop and trap music, so I’d love to add some elements of that into my music. I’d just like to mix more genres. And I’d love to have a rapper on a song. 

What’s the end goal with your music? 

That’s a hard question. One of them is to inspire other women to produce and get into that side of things more. That’s a big one. Most of all, I’d just like to introduce cool new sounds to the world. I’m really trying to carve my own path and experiment. 

WriterAmber Rawlings