Popping Up: Natalia Kills

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey, Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Natalia Kills has come quite a long way since her early acting stints on such British TV shows as Casualty and Coronation Street. Musically, the 23-year-old initially ventured into hip-hop, but soon began re-shaping her sound along darker, and often cinematic, pop dimensions. “Most singer-songwriters listen to other artists’ music to be inspired, but my favorite music has always been from movie soundtracks,” Natalia tells us in an interview, which you can read after the jump. “It’s so dramatic and emotional.”

First, a few facts about Natalia Kills!

REAL NAME: Natalia Cappuccini

HOMETOWN: London

MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Prince, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush

HER BIG BREAK: Being discovered by will.i.am, who heard her EP Wommanequin two years ago and signed her to Interscope via will.i.am music group. (She’s jointly signed to Cherrytree Records).

WHERE YOU’VE HEARD HER BEFORE: On Space Cowboy’s “Just Play That Track” off his Digital Rock Star album, as well as Flo Rida’s 2009 song “Available.”

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IDOLATOR: You’ve performed under different names before—Verbz, Verbalicous and Natalie Cappuccini. How did you eventually arrive at Natalia Kills? NATALIA KILLS: Yes, I’ve been making music for a while. Its never been about having a “persona.” It’s just me creating and expressing myself, improving, experimenting and evolving. When you think about it, I’ve always been Natalia Kills—everything I have done so far has lead me to where I am. It has existed all along. I have not changed, just evolved and amplified my imagination.

How would you describe Love, Kills, and when/where can people catch it? NK: Love, Kills xxx is actually an online series I direct and produce. I made it for my fans so they could get to know me better. It’s a collection of three-minute episodes of artistic visuals—me being myself but in unusual situations. You can catch it in mid-springtime 2010 on my website nataliakills.com and also cherrytreerecords.com. My film will be released with my album later this year.

You recently tweeted that you’re mostly inspired by film and movie soundtracks. How did you come to be so cinematic as an artist? NK: I feel life is our own personal movie, and we are each the star, so with my album I wanted to make the soundtrack to my life, to my dreams and disappointments.

You’ve described your upcoming album as “dark pop” and compared it to Depeche Mode, Kate Bush and Prince. Nice combo! What are your favorite songs by each? NK: I love Prince “When Doves Cry,” Kate Bush “Hounds of Love” and Depeche Mode’s Violator album. Classics!

So tell us about your debut album. NK: My album is called Perfectionist. I decided on the title before I even made any songs. It’s a true concept album, and even as I was writing all the songs and discovering what drives us as human beings I realized we are all perfectionists. Every time you go shopping, go on a date or go for a job interview, you’re looking for the best, for the ideal. My album is about desire, wanting everything, having nothing.

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/04/01-Activate-My-Heart.mp3″ text=”Natalia Kills – Activate My Heart” dl=”0″]

Who produced your new single “Activate My Heart”? “Activate My Heart” is one of my earlier songs, [from] when I was finding my “dark pop” sound. It is produced by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom [aka Interscope Records head of A&R Martin Kierszenbaum]. I like it because it’s half sung to give it more of a robotic feeling—which is actually what the song is describing.

As a songwriter, do you come up with melodies before lyrics, or vice-versa? NK: It’s different every time! Sometimes I’ll write the whole song then sing it in the studio and we’ll make a beat for it. Other times I’ll be making the beat with the producer and the concept will just hit me!

In your song “Zombies,” you profess your love for one of the undead creatures. What do you find to be the sexiest features of zombies? NK: Zombies are not actually that sexy. I think Vampires are more sexual—all that stalking and neck biting has got to make up for some intense hot nights! Zombies are more like ex-boyfriends—they are despondent and cold, but you still find yourself fascinated by them.

I think we can all agree on that. And while we’re on the subject of vampires—since you’re a cinematic Brit who has a penchant for the darker side of life, do you like old Hammer horror films? NK: Yes I do! But old horror is always somewhat comedic now. Technology has brought us so far that it’s hard to believe in the scene when you can see strings making the bats fly around, and the “blood” is always too pink. I love old Hitchcock movies because even when its not gory the suspense is still killing you!