Natasha Bedingfield is most certainly enjoying the perks of her new-found stardom. From her posh hotel room in the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, the British pop singer speaks with Arjan about her first visit to the city. "The view is incredible from my room," Bedingfield cheers. "This is my first time in Las Vegas and I think it is incredible."
Bedingfield is in Las Vegas to tape a performance for an MTV special that promotes the American release of her debut album "Unwritten." The singer may be new to audiences here but she has already reached star status in Europe and Australia where she has scored several hits.
Her first single "These Words" is one of the most downloaded tracks in the country and has been added to VH1 and MTV in large rotation. The singer is confident about being successful in the U.S. "The doors are wide open for me here in America," she says. "The way that I approach music has a bit of a sense of humor to it. Something slightly different that people can still relate to."
(After the jump, Bedingfield talks more about gay fans, her New Zealand roots and feeling like an outcast growing up in London)
"Unwritten" is a skillfully crafted pop album featuring plenty of memorable hooks and Bedingfield's unflinching lyrics and gritty vocals. In the vein of Pink and Alanis Morrisette, the songs on the album spotlight her outspoken opinion about life, herself and people close to her. "I'm not the kind of girl you bring to mother," she admits on the song "Stumble.
Bedingfield's large gay fan base in the U.K. has provided her a platform to build her career. Interestingly, Bedingfield is coy when it comes to speaking out about gay marriage in a quick interview word association game. "No comment," she says. When asked to elaborate, she admits, "It is not my place to say if you haven't thought through something."
Nathasha Bedingfield was born and raised in London as a child of New Zealand immigrants. Early on, she felt a passion for music just like her brother Daniel (who scored hits in the U.S. with "Gonna Get Thru This" and "If You're Not The One"). At the age of 18, she started to write more and more of her own music, which eventually led to a recording contract.
Bedingfield's uncompromising look at life has much to do with her New Zealand background. "Even though I was born in England, I'm still very much in touch with my New Zealand roots," she explains. "I love outdoors stuff, walking around barefoot and having messy hair. And also the [New Zealand] culture is a little bit more forward than the British culture. In Britain, you're very polite. You don't always say what're you thinking."
But growing up in London encouraged Bedingfield to find an outlet for her unbridled creativity. "There is so much diversity [in London]. I don't like to be in places where everybody is the same," she says. Something I really get off on is the fact that we're all different and I like to celebrate that. One of the songs on the album is called "We're All Mad" and it talks about not judging people. What gives life its color and meaning is the fact that we're all different."
But Bedingfield admits that being yourself is not always easy. "To get by in life you have to be quite strong. I'm a female in a male-dominated music industry and to get where I am now I had to be very strong," she says. "You can't have a shield around you the whole time. You can't protect yourself from pain. But you gotta learn to be wise."
Being somewhat of an outcast related to many gays who gave Bedingfield their support early on in her career. "I've done a lot of gay gigs," she says. "Gays particularly love my song "Single." And also the song 'Unwritten,' which is about living your own life without other people telling you how to live it."
"I have the feeling that with songs like "Unwritten" my gay fans really get what I'm talking about," she emphasizes.
Bedingfield has a lot of gays among her friends and people that she works with. "When I was making the video for 'These Words.' One of the guys I was working with was gay and we were both checking out the Brazilian men in their tight speedos. It was quite funny," she laughs.
(Arjan's interview with Natasha Bedingfield was originally published in QVegas this month.)