Our exclusive interview with Natalise, from Natalise + the Sunset Run

Natalise is a singer-songwriter from California who along with her band, the Sunset Run, make beautifully melodic Pop music that is accessible to everyone. She recently released a mini album entitled "Glimpses of the Sun", featuring the great track 'The Lucky Ones', which we have selected as our latest Song of the Week. After listening to it, it's not difficult to understand why we chose it. Natalise is not just a singer-songwriter, she's also a new graduate from Stanford University's MBA program, so she's quite an inspiration to other aspiring artists who also juggle their academics with studio time and songwriting sessions. We connected with Natalise to find how she has dealt with balancing music with her education, how "Glimpses of the Sun" came about, what's next for her musically as well as after graduation and much more.

Carlton Boyd

How have you juggled your musical aspirations and your educational endeavors at Stanford University, both as an undergraduate and graduate student?

I don't know if I have a strategy I can outline, to be honest. I wish I did; it probably would have made my life easier! I guess when you really want something, you just make it work. I think about a lot of my classmates here [at Stanford Graduate School of Business] who are students, but also are starting their own ventures and, on top of that, have families or even kids. We're all balancing really busy lives, but we prioritize what is important to us. For me, music has always been important to me -- it's a key to my sanity, really. It's the way I know how to communicate. Ultimately, it's like Jiro says in Jiro Dreams of Sushi: "When you love something, you give your life to it." 

To follow up on that question, what advice/tips do you have for other artists, who aspire to be a singer-songwriter like you but are seeking a college education as well?

There will be a lot of people who say you don't need to go to college to be an artist -- and that may be true. But I am absolutely grateful for the opportunities I've had to pursue educational goals. My academic experiences have challenged me to grow, not just intellectually, but also personally. So it's no surprise that I would absolutely encourage other artists to pursue their education.

I was recently at a conference where Rob Thomas said: "When you're an artist, you can't do your art 24/7. I mean, you can, but your art will suffer. As artists, we have to live-- we have to have experiences on which to base our art." For me, spending time pursuing a degree and getting to know amazing, brilliant people has been a worthwhile chapter in my life.

Tell us about the "Glimpses of the Sun" mini album. How did it come about and where can it be streamed and downloaded? 

Glimpses of the Sun is an accumulation of songs I've written in the last year before its release. All of the songs were inspired by personal experiences!

"Abandon" is about arguing in a car. I can remember one argument with an ex, where it got so bad that we had to pull over. We eventually went silent... and there was just this moment when I felt totally alone (hence, "abandon"), even though I wasn't physically by myself.

"Love Unconditional" is about going from self-doubt to self-love. I've struggled with this tension over the years, but in these moments I've thought a lot about the encouragement from my mom to love myself-- to "treat yourself well." And so I wrote it with her in mind. 

"See Me" is about wanting to be truly "seen" for who you are. I was in a relationship years back where I felt invisible. This song is an outpouring from that feeling.

"Headphones" is about using music as an escape during a breakup. Music is a universal language, and it's helped me get through so much heartache and negativity.

"The Lucky Ones" is deeply personal. The song is about having gratitude in the midst of really hard moments. We all have our own struggles - cancer, job loss, heartbreak, I could go on and on - but it's especially important in these times to be resilient and appreciative of what we do have. 

You can find all of these songs on Spotify and iTunes if you search "Natalise + the Sunset Run, Glimpses of the Sun".

The championship game was so close for the Warriors! How did you feel about it? Can you tell us about your experience singing the national anthem or the Golden State Warriors at one of their games?

The first time I sang the anthem for the Warriors, I was 18. I was kind of nervous, but I remember one of the players winked at me before I started singing. That made me feel better. I've felt connected to the team ever since. ;) 

The loss was such a shame. But, Steph Curry is still a phenom and I have no doubt they'll come back stronger next season! 

What's next for you after graduation from the MBA program and musically?

I'll be recording another EP this summer in LA and possibly Nashville or Reykjavik (Iceland); I'm excited to get back to the studio. There's nothing more amazing than creating something beautiful from a mere note or lyric and seeing its completion. And as for post-MBA plans, I'm working on an entrepreneurial venture right now -- we shall see what happens. :)

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