Life is full of extremes. Ups and downs. Laughter and tears. Love and loss. We’d love to avoid the latter. But, in this life, it seems we can’t have one of these without the others.
Red Eyes & Blue Skies, the latest project from singer/songwriter/creative Natalie Lauren (formerly Suzy Rock), was born out of that tension.
The talented young artist recently experienced the loss of her aunt to pancreatic cancer. And she’s done what you would expect any artist to do when facing struggle and hardship–write about it.
On her record “Red Eyes” Natalie wrote, “We aint got that white bread for more treatment/I watch you get wheat thin shrink over the weekend/Your body and my faith was both weakened/I swear to God these doctors better find a reason as to why you’re barely breathin…”
Music and Hope Meet Awareness
But she didn’t stop there. Natalie has turned the project she began as a source of catharsis into a cancer awareness project.
It begins with her Red Eyes & Blue Skies EP. But she’s also provided personal interviews, articles on cancer among minorities, nutritional information, and more information on the causes and prevention of cancer. All of that can be found at redeyesblueskies.com.
But, as always, there’s more to know about the people behind the bars and melodies. So we grabbed Natalie and asked her a few questions about where she’s been since Suzy Rock, the EP, and other exciting things…like whether High Society is going to drop another album!
FD: We haven’t heard much from you in a while…What have you been up to?
NL: Winter I was taking care of my aunt who was then fighting with Pancreatic Cancer. Her death and watching her suffer and deteriorate sent me into a darkness / fear of sickness that I had never felt.Most of my time was spent healing from that experience and learning to trust the character of God and His motives as good, only and always.
Also, I’ve Been going to counseling! Shout out to my counselor D, she is a gift from God!! Literally! Like I tell her every single thing & it’s so freeing…She helps me deal with the crazy side of me that started to creep up. Between her and my Pastors, I am Learning how to deal with my EMOTIONS! You can love Jesus and be an emotional co-dependent wreck. I needed to deal with the pain from not marrying the love of my life 2 years ago. I needed to address my childhood experiences of being sexually abused that I almost pretended didn’t exist. I needed to learn how to identify unhealthy friendships, how to not to be passive in setting boundaries, and how to trust people in general.
Just a load of junk we’ve been cleaning out. Basically I’ve Been writing and working on me…And I feel so good now!!! I’m in such a healthier and whole place!
On the music side of things, I signed an Administration deal with Kobalt Music Company as a writer, which means I have a lot more mainstream work in the pipeline now. Basically, I’m paid to solely write for people, which is a blessing, because for 2 years I was broke as a joke living off my savings trying to be a full time writer. CHH Royalties DON’T pay the bills…well, royalties from a Lecrae album do look nice, but I’m just saying.
This year I was the A&R for KB’s recent project 100, which means I provided creative direction, writing & vocal production, sorting through songs alongside Joseph Prielosny to put together the best 7 records that represented his brand and achieved his desired goals as an artist.
Working with Keke Palmer on music & other mainstream artists that I will keep unnamed for the sake of not wanting to explain the context or nature of them right now, lol.
I’ve written on Tedashii’s new single with Britt Nicole, and “Love Never Leaves”, slated to come out May 27, as well as Christon Gray’s “Super Dave”, and now Trip Lee’s album.
FD: Tell us more about where these songs came from emotionally, artistically.
NL: RedEyes & Blueskies was my diary that turned into a project I decided to release. Lon (8ightyseven), one of my closest friends, sends me music everyday to vibe to/write to. He’s brilliant might I add! Eventually he will be my 40. Basically what 40 is to drake…He gets me and he’s developing as a producer.
So as I was going through long nights, etc. I was writing my pain and frustrations. The thing is I would be so up and down in my thoughts it was night and day. Red and blue…
I couldn’t grasp hope and that was frustrating, so what u hear is my process of questioning God, praying and seeking in order to reaffirm Him as my hope. I needed to be reminded that Blue skies have been promised even if not in this life and that had to be good news to me…Blue skies is Hope in God as well as the broken glimpses we get on earth to remind us of that…
FD: Are we going to get another High Society album?
NL: Yessssssssss! Very soooon!!!! We are collecting our coins. JK, for real though. We’re bout that Indie Grind, so it requires a little provision on the front end. The next album is going to be bananas I say that in the most humble voice I have . Because we have all figured out our roles within the collective and have settled in them comfortably, the team will be way more in sync!!
We also all have ventured off on our own to grow individually so when we join back up the quality of music will be even crazier and our craft will be executed with a little more precision and fresh to them…The only thing I’m curious about is what the passion/fuel for this album will be. That first album came from our actual frustrations burdens & desires within the culture / personal life and industry.
But everyone seems pretty happy go lucky right now & so much growth has happened … so I’m sure it will be a lot less “Devil”-type songs, lol, and more love & life and mush!! Honestly I wish we could make a R&B Hisoc project stylistically, but the boys would hate it lolol.. Actually idk Swoope is a RnB head–he loves Brandy. Sho is an ole school Marvin Gaye type & we know JR is all about baby making & lovey dovey songs (for those in covenant of course).
Imagine that, especially with features from Christon Gray, Leah Smith & Jai! Jai has the coldest harmonies ppl don’t even know, she’s one of my Favs… I miss her musical presence in the industry, sidebar! lol y’all should help me push for that…
FD: What can fans expect from Natalie Lauren’s next project?
NL: Hippie Chic Trap Folk Jammmmssss! Live instrumentation, crazy sounds! Melodies you wanna sing when you wake up. SAPPY love songs of sacrifice & extreme commitment that make u want to LOVE HARD. Words that ignite your heart for God. Ultimately the story of a small town girl and her journey through a life filled with drama, love, pain, hope and her discovery and relationship with God and others.
FD: Will you do more singing or rapping?
NL: This project will involve way more singing, though I wouldn’t deem myself as a SANGA. My focus as a rapper won’t necessarily be bars, but an added compliment to the record. There’s a part of me that loves punch lines & wordplay, but overall I want to be known as an amazing artist /a true creative with a triple threat: singing, writing & rapping.
When you think Kendrick you think lyricist, bars, amazing writer & rapper. When u think of Kanye or maybe even a Pharell you think Brand, Creative, Trendsetter and ultimately multifaceted being in various forms. To simply refer to Kanye or Pharell as just a rapper would be an understatement of what they embody at large. My aim has definitely transitioned into the latter. Now don’t get me wrong that doesn’t mean I will be a lazy lyricist cause I’m not saying that, but I think my goal is presenting a strong brand and experience via art however I decide to display it.
Don’t forget to check out RedEyesBlueSkies.com. And if you haven’t downloaded it yet, you can grab “Red Eyes & Blue Skies” here via SoundCloud.