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Natalie Goodman: Rising Star

LOCAL musician Natalie Goodman released her debut single "Just a Friend" on Nov. 2. We wanted to know a little bit more about this upcoming local artist, so we reached out to Natalie and asked her a few questions regarding her music career.

How did you get  started with music?

I have always been in love with music, ever since I was a little girl. Music has always been spiritual to me, a way to channel my emotions or cope with stressful situations. When I was younger, I had crippling stage fright, to the point where I wouldn’t even sing in a group. My own parents didn’t even hear me sing until I was about 12 years old when my middle school chorus teacher gave me a solo and made me do it. After that I slowly gained confidence in singing and performing. In high school, instead of singing in the chorus, I was the lead singer of our Jazz Band Ensemble and I really loved it. A few of the guys and I branched off from the band and formed our own small band and performed at private parties around town.

How has music helped you with some of the challenges you’ve encountered throughout your life?

I graduated from high school and went to the University of Georgia on a soccer scholarship and played D1 soccer for four years. While doing that, I obtained degrees in both Biology and Spanish with the hopes of attending medical school.

I had really tough four years playing soccer at UGA. Not only was the time commitment insane, plus a super challenging course load, but I also endured 2 coaching changes, a number of serious injuries and illnesses including mono, pneumonia, a parasitic infection, a broken rib, 2 concussions, 2 knee surgeries, a torn shoulder joint, a broken foot, a broken wrist, and stress fractures in both of my legs at the same time (twice!), all in four years.

All of that plus having to do well enough in school to be a candidate for medical school was incredibly stressful, and I didn’t know how to handle it, so I turned to my music.

My second year of college, I picked up a guitar and started teaching myself so that I could sing to it because I missed my music so much and it was really the only thing that I could do to cope with the stress of D1 sports and a pre-med course load (plus all of my injuries).

How did your professional singing career start up?

As I got better I started seeking out gig opportunities around town. I played my first gig my junior year and loved it and ended up playing a few more before I graduated. I was able to incorporate my music into athletics by singing the National Anthem before I would play my soccer games at UGA (It was so cool because we would get close to 2,000 fans at our games).

Then I got to sing the National Anthem before other teams’ sporting events including Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Baseball, and Softball. The athletic department took notice of my love for music and sent a film crew out to do a special on “The Singing Soccer Player” which actually ended up airing on ESPN and the SEC Network several times.

What has this past year meant for your music career?

Last January, one of my good friends, UGA quarterback Jake Fromm, shared one of the covers that I did of Sugarland’s “Unlove You” on his social media, and it ended up getting over 200,000 views and recognition from NBC’s “The Voice.” One of the show’s producers emailed me and asked me to come out to Houston for a callback audition for the show.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it past the callback round but it was still a really cool experience to be around such talented people and to learn more about show business. I ended up gaining a small fan base from the video and some momentum in my music. I was receiving a lot of emails asking when I was going to release some of my own music -- I had never written any original music before at that point -- so I started dabbling in songwriting.

Since then I have written several original songs including one “Let Go” that won the “Best Song of Camp” award at Kirsti Manna’s (writer of hit single “Austin” sung by Blake Shelton) songwriting intensive camp. Country music star Kelsea Ballerini won the same award when she attended the camp a few years back, so it was amazing to be in that kind of company!

I just received an invitation from Kirsti to come back to Nashville later in November for an invitation only writing intensive weekend with her and other hit songwriters. I was in Nashville in August meeting with Kirsti and her husband, Bill Warner, who is a producer and audio engineer about publishing and recording my song, “Let Go” and a couple others that I had written.

While there, I recorded 3 of my songs, one of which I released as my debut single “Just a Friend” on Nov. 2nd. I have also had some recording experience doing vocals on a track called “Miracle” for the band AFTM, a relatively successful band based in Athens, Ga (they have played in Savannah several times as well and are now on tour).

Any message you’d like to give to your fans?

My own song, “Just a Friend” is available for streaming and/or purchase on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. It is so exciting! I had the pleasure of working with several well known professionals while I was up recording in Nashville, including guitarist Trevor Barber who was instrumental in bringing my single to life.

He helped me lay down all the tracks on my record and kills the guitar part on the song. I am writing a few more songs that I will go back to Nashville to record in late January/early February. I plan on releasing my first EP this summer.

I have experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from fans over the last year. I cannot stress enough how much the positive feedback means to me. Music is something that is so personal and to be able to share it with everyone makes it that much more special.

There is no better feeling than having someone tell me that my music has touched them or that they can relate to the words I write. I hope people will keep sharing my music with their friends and family and continue supporting me and my musical process.