Since appearing on our screens as a contestant on the X-Factor in 2012, crowd favourite Nathaniel has certainly come a long way. With his genetically blessed good looks, smooth voice and charming personality, Nathaniel has moved to declared himself as the next big thing in the pop and R&B world.
On the day we talked to him, Nathaniel was enjoying the sunny Queensland weather and it almost seemed cruel for me to pull him away from that. But Nathaniel was very gracious as he took me through his path to stardom.
He explains that very early on in his life, he was touched and inspired by music. This musical influence was partly from church and the choirs that Nathaniel sung in as a young boy. But he was also heavily influenced by his family.
“Growing up in South Africa my dad had a huge family, with lots of brothers and sisters, so we would always have large family gatherings. We had a swimming pool and my uncles would bring the guitars out and everyone would just sing and have a great time,” Nathaniel says.
Fast forward twenty years or so and Nathaniel had landed Guy Sebastian as his mentor on the X Factor. While he made an earlier exit than he would have hoped, ultimately finishing sixth, Nathaniel could not be more grateful for his experience on the show.
“My time on the X-Factor was awesome and I learnt so much. It helped me grow into a proper artist and it seems to have worked out pretty well for me so far! The show taught me how to open up and how to hold the audience in the palm of your hand; and also how to work the stage,” explains Nathaniel.
I ask him whether he ever feels the need to shed the reality pop star image and disassociate himself from the X Factor, but he replies: “You know, I don’t really mind. I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I am proud to have been part of a show like that. I’m cool with it.”
And the X Factor seems to have given Nathaniel a great starting platform to help him rise to celebrity status. Since the X Factor Nathaniel has been busy; signing a recording contract with Sony Music Australia, producing a two times Platinum single, “You,” touring with Jessica Mauboy and he has just released his latest single, “Live Louder,” which is currently tearing up our airwaves.
Nathaniel says that supporting Jessica Mauboy on her To the End of the Earth tour has been one of his favourite experiences so far.
“It was incredible! It was the first chance I’ve really had to perform on a major tour – we did thirty shows over two months, all across Australia. I got to see parts of the country I had never seen before, such as Mackay and Bundaberg, lots of regional areas. It was such a great feeling to be back on the stage, doing what I love, performing to great crowds,” he says.
We also get talking about his new single, which he admits to dancing along to in the car, just like the rest of us! Nathaniel explains what it feels like to hear his music on the radio: “It is a really special moment, especially when I am by myself in the car and I hear them announce my name. It’s great that the radio stations are showing me so much love.”
Nathaniel is also very excited for his next venture – Soulfest, Australia’s first annual neo-soul, jazz and hip-hop festival.
“Soulfest will be amazing – you have to come! Bring your friends, family, mum and dad… unfortunately you can’t bring your dog, but bring everyone else! It’s a great opportunity for me to perform some new songs and show a different side of me. I’ll get to do some new songs that I haven’t done before and it’s just going to be really fun,” he says.
In some ways though, Nathaniel seems very far removed from all this, he is refreshingly humble and enjoys playing the PlayStation, going to the movies, and hanging out with friends in his spare time. But he has big dreams for the future and we are certainly tagging along for the ride.
“I hope for the next ten, fifteen, twenty years, that I will still be doing what I’m doing. I love my job and some people only get to do it for a couple of years and then it drops off, but I want to keep doing this for as long as I can. I also want to do more travelling and see the world. I’d love to branch out internationally and gain fans all over the world. That would have to be my biggest dream.”
Nathaniel will also be supporting Mariah Carey on her upcoming Aus tour and his single Live Louder has just gone Gold