There will always be a market for beautiful music, sung well and this is one of the greatest appeals of the crossover genre. Natalie Rushdie (formerly known under her maiden name Coyle) was born in Falkirk, Scotland. Her pure voice, polished (but very personable) stage and social media presence is warmly received by fans around the world.
A diligent student, Natalie graduated with a degree from Sheffield University and continued to study voice. She won a place with the Royal Choral Society and pursued a performance course from Associate Studios.
“I have had many different teachers over the years due to moving schools and going to university,” Natalie tells us. “I started having lessons when I was 9 and I still have regular lessons now. It is so important for a singer to have lessons as we don’t actually hear our voices directly. Sound comes out of our mouth then goes into our ear (as opposed to an audience member who just hears the sound directly). These days I have two teachers who work together and who are both wonderful.
“As with many things in life, it is important that your teacher suits you personally and professionally, all of my teachers have become my friends.”
Natalie has performed in Don Giovanni and Carmina Burana at the Royal Albert Hall and she has also performed in concerts alongside crossover favourites like Susan Boyle, Il Divo, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins. One of her first touring experiences was with the band Blake.
“I absolutely loved touring with Blake, the boys were wonderful and such gentlemen! I learned so much from each of them as they are such seasoned performers; they helped me find my own style and presence on stage.” Natalie also experienced the group’s super fans up-close. “One of the funniest concerts was in Blythe where the audience went crazy for Blake! At one point I thought they were going to jump on stage and rip the boys’ clothes off! We also did Wembley Stadium together where my shoes spilt open as it was raining, so I walked on the pitch with my toes popping out!”
The experiences did not deter her in the least, in fact Natalie dreams to someday perform with Il Divo, Celine Dion, Idina Menzel “and if Julie Andrews toured again that would be the dream!”
Speaking of super fans, Natalie is in her own words “obsessed” with Julie Andrews. “I love her voice, the clarity with which she sings is truly beautiful. I would love to play all her roles to be honest but my favourite was in The Sound of Music, that was the first musical I ever watched and it got me into singing. I even went to Salzburg & stayed in the hotel where The Sound of Music was filmed – I would love to be Maria!”
Natalie has been nicknamed ‘The Voice of Wembley’ after being the first singer to sing there 5 times and she says candidly that “I do still get nervous.” With an estimated audience of 80,000 people though who could blame her? “This time it was probably more nervous excitement than fear but either way I don’t think having nerves is a bad thing as it shows you still care. I don’t think I could ever not get excited about singing at Wembley Stadium!”
The whole experience is “always an honor” but this last time Natalie’s favorite moment came “on the last note of ‘God Save the Queen’ as the crowds started cheering so loudly and I could hear my voice echoing around the stadium… it was just the most incredible & exhilarating experience.”
Natalie has also made an impact by giving back to various charities. “I think it’s important to be involved with charities that you have a personal connection to. Through the Order of Malta Volunteers, I took disabled people to the South of France for my Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme residential week. I enjoyed it so much that I went a further 3 times, it was also the first time I saw the affect music can have when people had life changing illnesses.” These days Natalie is most involved with Breath AHR a charity who “use music in hospitals to help people recover, relieve stress,
Dementia alymexia etc. I am the Patron of the charity and regularly perform for them.”
In 2016, Natalie married Zafar Rushdie in an elegant wedding weekend in New York. She would “definitely” recommend destination weddings to other brides. “We spread the wedding festivities over 3 days, which made it feel like a big happy holiday surrounded by people we love and care about. I am very lucky that I married someone who is super organised, unlike me (I would forget my head if it wasn’t attached) so that helped a lot.” In a recent interview with Hello! Magazine Natalie shared how her father-in-law (novelist Salaman Rushdie) was also a big help with her preparations.
After her marriage Natalie changed her stage name which she describes as “exciting and daunting at the same time.”
When she isn’t singing Natalie loves to travel. She recently shared photos from a trip to Russia. “I love travelling and Russia was incredible! It was a life-long dream to go there and I certainly wasn’t disappointed – the buildings and culture blew me away. I would love to go back; they have such fantastic venues and by coincidence, while there, I got to see my wonderful tenor friend Jesus Leon who was performing at the Philharmonia.” If she had to pick a favorite place though it would be New York. “I’m very fortunate that I get to go fairly often and it always makes me super excited and happy. I just can’t get enough of the fast pace and vibe of New Yorkers. An ultimate dream would to perform in New York… maybe at Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Garden one day.”
Her mother recently booked Natalie a 6 week cookery course at Leith’s School of Cooking as a birthday gift. So is cooking among Natalie’s favorite things? “I was actually terrible at cooking but I do enjoy it and I’d like to think I am slowly improving.”
She describes herself as a “simple girl” who enjoys spending time with family and her dog ‘Pickle’.
At the end of the day Natalie remains humble saying, “I feel like I am still discovering my voice! In July I am making my debut at Live at Zedel and will be singing some of the great Diva songs… not necessarily my more typical classical sound but I can’t wait. For me as a musician the key is remain true to myself, sing songs I love and it’s as simple as that.”
Fans will be delighted to hear that the future will bring “more performances, more exciting music and yes of course an album is in the future.”
To follow Natalie’s adventures visit her website on: www.natalierushdie.com