Words written by APRA AMCOS
A natural songbird in the truest sense, Nat Dunn writes hit songs with and for pop’s biggest names and performs as one-half of Australian electronic duo NAATIONS with Nicky Night Time.We are pleased to announce she is also the newest addition to the APRA AMCOS Ambassador roster.
Her stellar track record speaks for itself. She is a co-writer on one of last year’s biggest singles, the Marshmello and Anne-Marie smash FRIENDS, which has eclipsed the billion streams mark, and was the #2 song played on US radio.
Most recently Nat penned Carry On, the theme soundtrack song for the Pokémon film, performed by Kygo and Rita Ora. And, NAATIONS collaborated with Haydn James on latest single Nowhere to Go, which is dominating streaming and radio playlists.
She travels the world making music and took the time recently to answer a Q & A about her work and creative ethos.
Three words that best describe me:
Sensitive. Peaceful. Warrior.
One thing I need to be able to do my job is:
A song that helped set me on my musical path is:
Whatever by Tali (just a kid from bush with too much to say)
A dream collaborator past or present is…
To be honest working with 3 incredible female artists on their albums this year has been a real life dream. Anne-Marie, Jojo and Ella Eyre have three of the most distinctive, untouchable voices in the world in my opinion and to be able to shape these stories together with them makes me feel incredibly lucky.
I realised my songwriting had value when…
I was 14 and I told a producer I was working with at the time that I was going to focus more time on learning musical theory and he told me not to because the way I was led, by my ear and not my brain, was what made my instinctual melody choices special and different.
How do you approach writing when it’s for other artists versus a song for NAATIONS?
When I’m working with an artist I’m completely focused on them as the vehicle for the art and that it needs to represent their identity.
What’s cool is that over the last couple of years when I’ve worked closely with an artist, talking to them about how they see themselves and their sound is often quite different to my perception of them as an artist. I’ve found when we talk about that we can really dig deep and take these conversations and turn them into some really honest songs.
With NAATIONS I’m in my own narrative with Nicky and the theme for us is generally heavy subject matter in lyrics and melody but delivered in an upbeat digestible, danceable form of production for the listener.
You have attended SongHubs in the past and were selected to attend the international Melbourne Hall Writing Camp in the UK last year with Max Wolfgang, Jimmy Napes, Tayla Parx, Emily Warren and others. How do you get down to work in those intensive settings with writers and producers you may have never met before?
You just go and you be yourself and you learn about how the collaboration process is different with everyone you work with and that to me is interesting because I’m always completely open to blending my process with someone else (even if it’s out of my comfort-zone.) That’s how you get better! We are all forever learning.
You split your time between LA and London. What’s a tip for a songwriter to establish themselves in those cities?
Don’t follow trends, or rules.
Reflect on the writing processes you’ve been apart of in different rooms with different personalities and learn from those experiences. Nobody is exactly like you, so be authentic and embrace the culture/streets/art that’s in that city and let it inspire your writing.
The future of songwriting is exciting because…
Labels, artists and streaming platforms are acknowledging the weight of the role of songwriters and producers. The importance of our contribution is being recognised even more. Their success relies on supporting and valuing us as creatives, and slowly the changes to laws on royalty rates, and fees (among many other things) are beginning to reflect that.
Copyright is meaningful to me because…
It is the protection for my art and my rights.
I am an APRA AMCOS Ambassador because…
APRA have been intergral to what I’ve been fortunate to have achieved career-wise and supported me on a global level. I wouldn’t be able to travel the world writing, performing, collaborating without their belief and support from the beginning of my career overseas, to now. I’m honored to represent APRA and Australia as a global creative in the music industry.