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Don't let a cute face fool you. Behind innocent eyes, Natalia Kills hides a guilty mind. Her unique high-impact pop songs knock hard with hip hop rhythms stomping through riot grrrl yells, all whilst calmly confessing to being a teenage-tragedy-turned-trouble-maker!
Kills (real name Natalia Cappuccini) was born in Bradford, an unglamorous industrial town in the north of England that she describes as "The town that God forgot about…". Raised by a Jamaican father and Uruguayan mother, the family was constantly moving from city to city, often shifting enigmatically between their luxury homes in England, Jamaica and Spain. Though her childhood seemed like a dream, it was warped by danger and luxury at a price… and after her father's arrest and imprisonment, her penthouse-to-pavement story began.
She says: "Good people do bad things for good reasons, but you can't have everything forever. One day the police came, then my Dad was gone. They'd lost everything... and then, eventually, by 15, I'd left home. You can't live in someone else's madness forever - at some point you have to go out into the world and make your own."
Trouble is Kills’ very own madness, memories and melody in one.
Written and recorded in collaboration with renowned producers Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Jay-Z, fun.) and Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, Kid Cudi, Eminem), Trouble combines Natalia’s razor sharp lyrics with her unique and robust vocal delivery. These propel her music into even wilder territory than that on her acclaimed 2011 debut Perfectionist which spawned 2 top 10 hits in Europe and over 750,000 singles in sales.
With its beautifully crashing drums over lonely screeching vocals and apocalyptic guitars, Trouble is a defiant middle finger to wasted youth and disenchantment. “Problem” is an in-your-face, unapologetic embrace of Natalia’s bad-girl demeanor, while “Saturday Night” is a soaring, emotional ode to her troubled family and a frantic attempt to regain the happy childhood she never had. "Saturday Night" cuts deep with self-reassuring lyrics that swallow her denial and desperation.
Whether coining the post-modern battle cry “I put my high heels on so I’m closer to God” in the captivatingly rhythmic “Stop Me" or channeling the open emotion of her bittersweet suicide ballad “Marlboro Lights," Natalia depicts each of Trouble’s personal tales with a brutally palpable intensity.
“Most of my songs start with a memory that will haunt me for a long time, until I’m brave or crazy enough to confront it and turn it into something permanent by acknowledging that it was real,” she says. “Because my songs are so personal, I almost always have to be alone when I write them. Sometimes I’m in bed or at 5am on my kitchen floor, but I can't go on until the song is finished. Then, I can look back at it all and see the past from a distance like looking at a beautiful sad painting that makes no sense, but you can't help but look at it anyway.”
And when it comes to inspiration, Kills looks to music that’s both confessional and bold. “I don’t listen to music to let go,” she reveals. “I listen to dive in,” listing H***, Marilyn Manson, and Eminem among her favorite artists to whom she grew up listening.
"My teenage years were spent trying to survive in London on my own and rebelling against the abnormality,” she says. “I tried to grow up too fast and create some stability, but I always got it wrong. I had left home, gotten in a horrible relationship, quit my job, run away to Paris, joined a cult, signed a bad record deal, been taken away in the back of police cars, tried to burn my house down and dreamed of ending it all. And I hadn't even turned 18!"
Flat broke, three years later, she moved to America to continue making music and, after living in run-down Hollywood motels, selling her own clothes to get by and relentlessly writing her life away, she chanced to meet the versatile performer/producer will.i.am who instantly recognized Kills’ talent and determination, and signed her to his imprint at Interscope Records.
After partnering with Cherrytree Records (Ellie Goulding, La Roux, Robyn, Far East Movement) – Natalia released her debut album, Perfectionist jointly on Cherrytree and will.i.am records. Kills then toured the world with Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and B.E.P. eventually headlining her own jaunt in Europe.
Natalia reaches a whole new level of ferocity on Trouble. In reflecting on one of Trouble’s more wistful tracks, the sweet and breezy “Outta Time,” which she wrote for “every boy who ever loved me and tried to save me," she declares herself “unsavable.”
“Finally I’m not looking for forgiveness,” says Natalia. “Rather, I’m at a place where it means more to own up to all the wrong things I’ve done and to bring some kind of power to them."
“Sometimes there are no answers or antidotes. I used to want to make all the bad stuff go away, but now I just want to look it dead in the eye and feel the full force of it,” Natalia continues. "The point of writing Trouble is to turn the worst bits of my life into what will be the best ones.”
Trouble isn’t Natalia Kills’ submission to salvation. It’s a victory cry for a broken generation.