Interview with Natalie Weiss
For those of you that have not heard of Natalie Weiss where have you been?? Natalie is an American singer who has performed in the American tour of Wicked and Les Miserables as well as a sell out show in London. She is perhaps best known for her YouTube series ‘Breaking Down the Riffs,’ which has had 3 million hits. For those of you not familiar with the series it sees Natalie and teach another singer how to break down a particular riff. Songs she has tacked include Beyoncé’s Halo (with her cast mate from Les Miserables)’Oh Bless the Lord’ from Godspell as well as riffs by the likes of Jessie J.
I originally came across her when Mr Musicaltheatremusings showed a video of her training at Penn State University singing ‘The New World’ from Songs for a New World with her classmates and since then I have been a regular visitor to her YouTube channel!
Well over to Natalie:
1) What has been the highlight of your career so far:
I think a highlight has been performing the national anthem at Cowboy’s stadium, in front of 100,000 people. Also, doing 2 sold out solo shows in London was pretty incredible!
2) What was your first on stage performance?
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at age 5. I was pretty amazing. JKJK – That was at community theatre classroom. I feel like my first claim to fame was Peter Pan at age 10. Haha
3) If you could play any role in any musical what would it be?
Vivienne in Legally Blonde and Natalie in Next To Normal even though I’m too old – so now maybe Diana?
I would love to see Natalie as Vivienne – one of my favourite shows!!!)
4) What is your favorite musical?
Legally Blonde, Next To Normal, Parade, The Last 5 Years, Baby
Some great choices there and agree re Legally Blonde and Parade! Also dying to see Next to Normal myself – when are they going to bring it to the UK?????
5) Who is your favorite composer – any new composer we should watch out for?
Jason Robert Brown, Kooman and Dimond, Joey Contreras, Jonathan Reid Gealt… so many! Also, Maltby and Shire.
6) What is the hardest riff you have found to breakdown?
Probably the Jasmine Sullivan #2 riff on episode 3. I learned how to do it fast but learning it slower once I already knew it was extremely hard!
You can check out this episode of Breaking Down The Riffs here.
7) Who would be your dream guest on Breaking Down The Riffs?
JESSIE J or SARA BAREILLES!
8) How do you come up with your mash up ideas (love the Sometimes/I Want To Love You Forever)?
So glad you saw this one! Sometimes I’ll think of songs from my childhood that kind of go together, and even if they don’t, I’ll MAKE it work. haha. Sometimes, chords sound so similar, that I’ll be surprised no one else has thought of it before. I’ll mostly look for similar subject matter (ex: Bugaboo/Scrubs)
9) What advice would you give young performers?
Be nice to everyone and be professional 🙂
10) Who do you look up to performer wise?
Jessie J, Beyoncé, Victoria Clark, Annaleigh Ashford, Sara Ramirez
I’m assuming all readers know who Jessie J and Beyoncé are. Victoria Clark is a Broadway actress who has appeared in numerous shows including a Tony award for her role in Light in the Piazza.
Annaleigh Ashford is another American actress who has appeared in some great shows including Legally Blonde, Wicked, Kinky Boots and You Can’t Take it with You where she was awarded a Tony for best featured actress in a play.
Sara Ramirez is probably best known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy but she also was the original Lady of the Lake in Spamalot where she won a Tony award for best feature actress sin a musical
11) What goals/aspirations do you still have on your ‘to-do’ list?
To be a music consultant or supervisor for a big project!
12) Do you get the chance to see much theatre – what’s the most recent show you have seen?
Maybe an American in Paris/Fun Home? I try to see the whole season but my wallet doesn’t like it much haha
13) As you had to add an extra performance to your last UK venture do you have any plans to come back this side of the pond anytime.
Yes! I miss it!!
14) Give us a shameless plug for your next venture!!
I’m in Saturday Night Fever at the Merry Go Round Playhouse for 2 more weeks in Auburn, NY. Come check it out!
I wish I could but any readers from the USA make sure you do as knowing Natalie it will be a knockout!!
A big thank you to Natalie from me for taking the time to respond to my questions- I can’t wait to see what she gets up to next!! I’d also love to hear from you if you have seen her in anything or are a fan of Breaking Down The Riffs!! Get in touch!