When the social, political and economic nature of the world seems to crumble in an ongoing struggle to find balance, it is important to have a voice shining a light for the people. Throughout the history of music, there have been many people to take this role, but none quite like Blue King Brown.
Natalie Pa’apa’a, singer/guitarist/social activist sits across from me on a quiet Monday morning. The weather is cool but calm, and the mood is relaxed. Blue King Brown have been somewhat removed from the Australian music scene this year, having spent most of the time overseas, touring North America and debuting their infectious live show in the U.K. this past July.
“It’s been great. In America we went up the West coast with the Easy Star All Stars. That was great because there is a massive support scene and a long-standing foundation in reggae music and roots music in America. It is good to do those tours and support acts that are known because we are still just building there. People are still seeing us for the first time.”
I get the feeling that conversation of past tours is not what Natalie is here for. While she shows that she is very passionate about touring and playing live, talking about it seems to be less exciting. Having once described Blue King Brown as 50% about the music, 50% about the message, I begin to pry at what that really means to her.
“To a degree, the underlying message in all our music is we are all connected on this other level and it is important to remember that we are a part of the global community. Even though we live and go about our own day with our own lives, there are people just like us, in other parts of the world, thinking the same, feeling the same. In these times, it is becoming more and more accessible and easy to get in touch with the global community, through the incredible technology we have at our fingertips. It has become an amazing way to activate and mobilize our generation into becoming involved and being the crafters of our future. We have a voice and it is valid.”
While Natalie is confident and strong in her ideas, she is not aggressive. She aims for people to start thinking of each other and she speaks from the heart and sings from the heart too. This is what makes Blue King Brown different to many other blues and roots bands out there. The passion that fills Natalie’s voice comes from the heart and reaches beyond the music.
“From a young age, I learnt about people’s struggles and it is something that obviously interested me. I’m just interested in what’s going on in the world and with people around the world. I love languages, I love cultures, I love the food, I love the colours, I’m just very passionate about it. It was a very natural thing and this is what my first songs were about. That’s what comes out, that’s what is inside.”
With a new album in the works and ever-burning passion for the world around her, I feel Natalie is about to embark on a massive next step with Blue King Brown. Where it will end up, I don’t think she even knows, but in following what is right for her, the people and the music, I think 2010 looks to be a big year for the band.
Blue King Brown play the Peats Ridge festival over New Years Eve.