Sellaband's Natalia Safran

What a great day I had today! Sadly, it was my last day in Salzburg. The Mozarteum workshop was fantastic and the ConFused5 cd release party was a most memorable night. So What destroyed the dressing room, drank all the beer and played their young asses off, Gisel de Marco proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that she’s got the goods and more, and ConFused5 treated the crowd to a polished concert version of their new album, Out Of Confusion.

So, back to my great day, Since it was my last day, I decided to walk from my room to the railroad station, normally a healthy 30 minutes. At minute 10 the mist had become a tolerable drizzle and the last 200 meters the sky opened with a personal vengeance. I know the vengeance part is true because it stopped raining moments after I reached the shelter of the station.

As it happened, the rain had increased my pace to the point that I was able to take an earlier train. My computer battery had gone dead just as I was checking into my flight from Vienna so this would get me to the airport in plenty of time to secure a seat in the exit aisle. Things were looking good.

When I hoisted my luggage onto the belt for check in, the representative handed me back my passport, smiled her sweet Viennese smile and told me that I had missed my flight by anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on the exchange rate at the moment! Damn it! With the damnable 24 hour clock they use over here I had misread my itinerary! No big surprise since Markus from C5 and I had been sorting out the world’s problems over beer til at least 47 o’clock the night before. This is the only place I know where you can ask someone the time and still have no clue without taking off your shoes to count out the hours.

And so, here I am, stranded in Vienna, not “in” Vienna but at the airport…the difference is eloquent. As I don’t fly until morning, I’ll listen to some music and try to think happy thoughts.

Natalia SafranSpeaking of happy thoughts, a quick look at the top ten artists on the Sellaband roster could mislead one to think that the label has become some sort of dating service. Of the ten, eight are females or feature females in their band. But to dispel any false impressions, these artists are in the top ten because they belong there.

The latest to break page one is Polish-American singer/songwriter Natalia Safran. While Natalia’s Carly Simon smile has surely drawn attention to her Sellaband profile, her songwriting and sultry delivery are what will ultimately define her success as an artist.

Natalia has surrounded herself with very capable musicians who have learned the art of accompaniment. The tracks display a mature and empathetic level of musicianship in that, even though the instruments are masterfully played, the intent to focus attention on the vocal is accomplished very naturally. The tracks are custom fitted to Natalia’s strength which is to deliver lyrics in a melodic, chant-like manner that makes listening to her a personal experience. Her soothing voice is free of pretense and the combination of urgency and innocence are charming.

While vagueness is not necessarily something to seek in writing prose, it can be the characteristic which sets a song apart for many listeners. A song isn’t complete until the final element of the equation, the listener, has heard and accepted the intent of the artist. When a song has mystery, when the listener is free to dress the characters of a story as he sees them, the artist has done much more than just perform a song. The singer has collaborated with each listener on a very individual basis and has let them decide how the story should play out.

Natalia SafranEvery successful artist has something special which sets them apart…let’s call it the X-factor for want of a better term. The ability to pull the listener into her stories is what sets Natalia apart and in context of her material, bombastic vocal pyrotechnics have high value by their absence. I would be curious to know what Natalia could do if she really put her foot to the floor but then again, that doesn’t seem to have anything at all to do with her music. I find myself wanting more from Natalia. And I say that this is a good thing because, as a listener, when you find yourself wanting less, you simply move on to another track, another song, another artist.

Natalia is touring Europe at the moment, but a listen on her profile page is well worth a click or two. It will indeed be interesting to watch the progress of what has become the Race of the Divas on Sellaband’s page one. One thing you can count on, there will be no losers. And thanks to Natalia for making my one day “vacation” at the Vienna airport much more than bearable.

2 Responses to “Sellaband's Natalia Safran”

  • Magnus

    Oh c’mon, I can read both 12 and 24-hour clocks… Especially here up north it is necessary with 24-hour clocks, how else would you know if it is 0300 or 1500 when the sun is up outside?

  • I am not familiar with Natalia but she looks captivating. I will look more into her music this was a very good article about her music.