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Natalia Pardalis, an award winning musician and composer, has recently been nominated for the prestigious Vancouver Island Music Award – BC Wide Artist of the Year. The team at Good News Weekly simply had to get a one-on-one with this talented artist.

Dean was able to catch up with Natalie earlier this week.


Hi Natalia!  Thanks for taking the time to meet with me.
Thank you for having me!


To kick things off, fill me in on a bit about you, when and why did you start playing music?
I was three years old – my parents told me that I would try to reach up and try to play the keys trying to find notes that sounded good together and try to sing along. My mother was a piano teacher so she started to teach me.


Which instruments do you play now? 
I play piano and sing.


Every artist remembers the first song that they learned, what was yours? 
It was called “Take Off” it was about an airplane taking off. It was from the Francis Clark’s Time to begin beginner piano book – a book I now teach my young students.


You mentioned that your family is musical, can you tell us a bit about that? 
 Yes, my mother was a classical piano teacher and my dad is a classically trained guitarist. They both taught me and my three other siblings music as we grew up. My brother and sisters are also singers. But my entire family is musical.

On my dad’s side, my grandfathers as far we can go back were all professional church singers. To be a church singer (a chanter) is much different in Greece than here, especially in the past. Chanters that were popular were hired all over Greece to chant churches’ feast days. My dad remembers my grandfather taking him and his brothers to different churches all over Greece.

On my mother side, there were ton of musicians. My mother told me that one my great-uncles used to sing with a big band that had a show on CBC.


Which famous musicians do you admire and aspire to become? 
It’s a huge list haha but here are few …. Of the past …. Bach – I have a love/hate relationship with him. The man is a musical genius. Every time I learn one of his Partita or Fugues. It will make me feel smarter analyzing all his crazy compositions but it’s frustrating because I’ll never be able to play it as it’s supposed to be played. Mozart – His music is so comical and tells so many stories. When I play him, I can almost see Mozart’s ghost giving me thumbs up (haha) – he probably wouldn’t but a girl can dream right ;) He’s all about being over-dramatic and I’m totally over-dramatic so we get along perfectly. Chopin – He’s heartbroken and somehow I can feel his pain. When I play his music it’s freeing.

Modern Musicians: I think my three favorite artists are Caro Emarald, Paloma Faith, and Matt Dusk. They’re all jazzy and original.They're creating a new sounds. It doesn't matter if they’re covering an old jazz classic or one of their original compositions - they are inventive, creative, and original. Something that is difficult to do in an industry which constantly asks artists, “so you do sound like? What style are you?” So when an artist has the courage to step out of the mentality and create something original and new – I’m in heaven. I hope I can work with them one day.


What are your fondest musical memories?
My fondest musical memory is in university (Trinity Western University) when our choir sang at the Orpheum and The Chan Centre. We got to regularly work with Vancouver Chamber Choir, Vancouver Symphony, and CBC Orchestra (which sadly no longer exists) It was such an honor to work with such an amazing artists so early in my development. It really changed the way I thought as an artist and pushed me to work harder. My house My fondest memory is watching my mom playing the piano and my dad playing the guitar singing old Dean Martin songs together. I remember sitting watching them and then them asking me to join in and sing. Great memory! All families should create music together – even if it’s just singing along to the radio. Music really brings people together.


You were recently nominated for theVancouver Island Music Award, congratulations! Tell us a bit about what it felt like to be nominated? 
I wasn't expecting it at all. When we submitted my music, I was like well it’s worth a try but I wasn't expecting anything. After I submitted I totally forgot about it. And then I was on CTV news’ website looking at news stories and so when I saw my name on the nominations on there – I was so surprised – wasn't expecting it at all. So I am quite surprised, honored, and thankful for this nomination.


What are your next steps? career aspirations?
 I’m currently working on EP We’re currently working on the first single on it. I would like to tour as I haven’t been able to do so yet. Like I said earlier, I would love to collaborate with artists such as Matt Dusk, Caro Emerald, and/or Paloma Faith. And o’course maybe Michael Buble one day. Lol if any of them need an opening act, I’d be happy to do it ;) I will continue to teach music to inspiring artists, I love being able to help artists to find their voice.


Any advice to aspiring musicians? 
When I was university, one of my professors Dr Hoelzley gave me the best advice, “there will be always someone better than you, but there will be always be someone not as good as you” it’s stuck with me and it’s something I share with my students regularly. Focus on becoming the best you can be, so work harder than you have ever worked and it will pay off. Talent is after all 1% “talent” and 99% hard work. And I believe talent is the want, the need to be a good at something. And remember, we say we play music – play is key – so enjoy what you are doing. If you aren't – why are you doing it? Lastly try to collaborate with creative talented people who will inspire you and drive you.


Thanks Natalia, and good luck with the nomination!
Thanks Dean!


If you want to learn more about this amazing local artist, check out here website at: www.nataliapardalis.com.

For a full list of the Vancouver Island Music Award nominees please visit: http://islandmusicawards.wordpress.com/


Until next time!
-I AM DEAN


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