By Paige Lambie, images courtesy of Huddersfield SU
Natalie Gauci is one talented lady – combining genres like soul, pop, jazz and electro, she is one of the music industry’s lesser known chameleons, gliding effortlessly into each guise. I had the chance to chat to her about everything from her early career to ‘real’ artistry – make sure to stick around to read the full interview.
Having previously been crowned winner of 2007’s Australian Idol, today is certainly a step back in time for Gauci – a backtrack that she has obviously welcomed with open arms. On an acoustic tour of universities across the UK, relying solely on her voice, a keyboard and a guitar, it takes Gauci only five songs to demonstrate the full flair of her vocals, and her adaptability to the stripped-back nature of the set. Here, she is in her element.
Opening with a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s no.1 hit ‘Crazy’ is a gutsy decision, but a challenge that Gauci laughs in the face of. Her rendition of the track is soulful, exercising her talented vocals to every extent – it’s a cover that few artists can pull off successfully, let alone acoustically, but Gauci’s voice carries a punch, and one that makes her execution of ‘Crazy’ just as seamless as the original.
This punch has an impact that reverberates throughout the entire set. Taking the chance to play a new song, only days old and barely practised, Gauci knows a good opportunity when she sees one, telling the crowd that these acoustic shows are the best time to “jam out on a few tracks and see if they work.” ‘Drunk’ is shamelessly fluent and straight-to-the-point – sung with an unabashed, soaring and passionate confidence and an infectious enthusiasm, the energy that flows from Gauci and her supporting guitarist could fuel a crowd of thousands, never mind the small audience before them.
Moving swiftly into her next song, the Australian-Italian songstress chooses another particularly daring cover – Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody.’ It’s a difficult song to put a spin on, but after her initial two songs, Gauci has more than proven that if anyone can do it, it’s her. Her interpretation of the song isn’t too far from the original – full of soul, bluesy and powerful. Gauci retains the original authenticity of Khan’s track; it’s confident and classy, but tinged with Gauci’s vivacious attitude.
Concluding her short set, Gauci performs two of her own tracks – the newly-written ‘Heartbeat’ and an original song, ‘For The Brave.’ The prior is a personal ode, a flashback to somewhat darker times; ‘Heartbeat’ offers a deep sincerity, a tale of beauty and innocence tainted with an untimely sense of foreboding. ‘For The Brave’ is just as sincere. A song of seeing things in a renewed perspective, but also of reminiscence and experience – Gauci says before the track, “Face your fears, do what you need to do.” It’s an inspired expression of her personal journey and overcomings, and a fitting track to finish her set with, bidding farewell to Huddersfield before continuing on with the final leg of the Coffee House Sessions tour.