Natalie Gray: "Pride's Got Talent brings people together - any ethnicity, any gender, any sexual orientation"
The singer opens up about how Pride in London's annual talent contest transformed her life
Natalie Gray performing at the Pride's Got Talent 2018 launch
In 2016, Natalie Gray's life was changed completely when she was a runner-up in Pride's Got Talent. Since then she's been busy making music with her band LAD and enjoying her newfound friendships with the team behind the annual LGBT+ talent contest. We spoke to Natalie about overcoming nerves, audition advice and what Pride's Got Talent means to her.
DIVA: What made you want to audition for Pride's Got Talent?
NATALIE GRAY: I did the audition completely randomly. I saw about it and then I was in the studio with my band. We wrote a song and I thought, 'Oh, I wonder how this would go down. Sod it! I’m going to go down to Freedom and just sing it and see what happens'. Literally I didn’t expect anything. I went and bared my soul in this heartbreak song. One of the things the judges said to me was, 'We like that you were original'. I’ve never done a cover whilst I did Pride. I tried to get all new music out there and every new song I’ve always debuted with Pride. If they like it, then everyone else is gonna like it.
Tell us more about your band, LAD.
They’re great guys. I love them to death. I’m the singer-songwriter of the group. Our recent single, One More Night, did really well. It was played on BBC Introducing, and we’ve had features here and there. We’ve got another song coming out at the end of March. We’re an 80s funk band, a bit Stranger Things, Black Mirror style. Cyndi Lauper - I’m just trying to bring her back!
What are your top tips for people who want to audition for Pride's Got Talent?
Be as original as you are. Be yourself and don’t stress about it. Honestly the Pride team are the nicest humans I’ve ever met in my life. They are so lovely that even if you went wrong, even if you fell over or your boob popped out, they are there for you and they will still tell you that you’re great.
Do you have any advice for overcoming stage fright or last minute nerves?
I’ve got a trick for this. I used to get really bad stage fright to the point where I’d be running to the bathroom, I’d go bright red in the face, and my voice would tighten. So now every time I have an audition, I let myself have a packet of wine gums before I go in, so I look forward to it! I don’t eat wine gums unless I’ve got an audition, so I’ve now conditioned my brain to go. 'Ok, that audition’s really scary but… wine gums!' It’s so ridiculous, but for me it really works! So get a trick, a song or something, and condition your brain. Then you’ll look forward to it in a weird way. I’ve just done a tour and my rider was always wine gums!
How much did Pride's Got Talent change your life?
Oh my god, I owe it so much. As performers, we’re all very vulnerable. We get nos constantly and it’s so hard not to take it personally. I’d had six months of break-ups and nos. I went on a whim, didn’t even think I’d get it, and then met everyone and it just restored my confidence. There’s this video of me performing at Pride in Trafalgar Square and you can see me crying. There was this one point where I just stopped and I was like, 'You’re all listening to me'. And genuinely, that feeling, I think about it all the time. That moment.
What do you love most about Pride's Got Talent?
It's so great at bringing people together - any ethnicity, any gender, any sexual orientation, whatever it is. Everyone's there together and no one cares. Everyone’s just like, ‘Be who you are. Who gives a shit?’ And I love that. I would recommend anyone to do Pride’s Got Talent.
Find out more about Pride's Got Talent at: prideinlondon.org/get-involved/prides-got-talent-2018/ and follow Natalie at @natalie_LADband
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