Natalie Prass is the first musician in our virtual toast series and she is worthy of the prominence of place.
WHO IS SHE?
Prass is a singer-songwriter who hails from Virginia, but has spent the last decade or so making a name for herself in Nashville. She released her first full-length album a few weeks ago.
WHAT’S HER STORY?
Prass attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston for a year before dropping out and heading down south to Nashville. It’s impressive to see an artist eschew a music conservatory of the quality of Berklee in order to find their own path. That’s incredibly brave. In Nashville, she made a name for herself staying wide of traditional singer-songwriter circles and putting on shows that betrayed her unique sensibility. She even did a full reggae set at one performance.
Prass also served as a backup vocalist and keyboardist for Jenny Lewis. Prass got the gig after sending Lewis a demo video she made on her iPhone. Stories like these are the stuff of indie millennial dreams and the Lewis stamp of approval is sacred in the Tonic book (we do love Jenny).
what makes her toast-worthy?
We are new converts here at the Tonic, having only listened to her for the first time a few weeks ago. A friend saw Prass open for Hundred Waters out in LA and confirmed that her live performance is further proof of the foundational strength of her music. Keep an eye on her tour dates.
The string arrangements alone, on songs like “It is You” and “Never Over You,” paired with her light, bouncing lyrics are just gorgeous. We’d even say there’s a hint of Françoise Hardy. Listening through her album, you’ll hear the breadth of influence and sound from New Orleans ear-feel piano (just go with us here) to funk, soul, and jazzy brass.
“Prass turns a sly eye to the pageantry of emotion, the drama of love and the mysteries of everyday life with a disarming mixture of sincerity and cosmic insolence, unapologetically romantic, spinning golden threads of lyric and melody, each inflection and melisma planned and considered, each word tailored for meaning and effect—the pop gesture as artform. She delivers it all with carefree charm and nearly divine intuition.”
what are we drinking?
Prass sings of love and heartbreak and her sound is of the type that belongs in a 1970s lounge-cum-Laurel Canyon hideaway so we’re recommending a classic bourbon cocktail: the old fashioned. Prass’ music has that shoulder rolling, hip swaying, lip biting sound that we think is the perfect pairing for such a cocktail. We’re fans of the retro cocktail here at the Tonic and have recently started an embroidery/retro cocktail circle with a few friends. Perhaps Natalie Prass will be the soundtrack and the old fashioned the drink the next time the circle convenes.
To Natalie Prass and to divine intuition, from the goddesses (naturally).
- Watch Prass perform a cover of “She’s Like the Wind” with Ryan Adams. Can’t place the song? Think Patrick Swayze. Think Dirty Dancing.
- Check out her website, read the full bio, and pick up some of her music.
- Because none of us can be sure if we really like something unless Pitchfork tells us so, go check out their rave review.
- Prass was recently featured by Madewell for her tour style.
- She is also an elegant Instagrammer.