This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
My name is Natalie Smith and I am a musician in the project Cape Weather.
I really have been doing it for as long as I can remember. I’ve been singing and then I picked up guitar and piano in high school. I went to music school for college and that’s where I met my bandmate, and we both ended up in LA. I was playing solo and he was playing drums in different bands, and we kind of started working together from there.
When did you know you could do this for real?
I still don’t know if I can do music for real. Do you want a fake Hollywood answer or a real answer? [Laughs] It was never a thought in my mind that I couldn’t be a musician. I’ve always been a musician. So I just continue to make music, to write, and to sing.
What would you say to young Natalie?
I would tell my younger self that your identity is not based on creativity. Although you are a musician, you are so many other things as well, and to really nourish those other aspects of your personality.
“It was never a thought in my mind that I couldn’t be a musician. I’ve always been a musician. So I just continue to make music, to write, and to sing.”
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity, to me, is mostly about expression and the connection you make with other people through expression.
What makes you come alive?
Music is what makes me come alive. But since the pandemic, I have really been contemplating my relationship with music. When there was no more music, there were no more shows. During the lockdown, it was a whole shift in identity. What else are you if your art form isn’t available to you? I’ve been working on being more than one thing.
So yes, music is what makes me come alive, and I feel the most fulfilled and have the most fun when I’m creating music and playing it with other people. But I’ve also learned over the past year and a half to come alive through nature and through plants, through interaction with close friends, and through walks at sunset. And through really nice bowls of noodles.
The pandemic and you.
I feel very fortunate because I was able to take this thing that I did as a hobby—plants and gardening—and then start doing that during the pandemic when music wasn’t available to me.
I’ve been thinking very deeply about what identity is and what that means. I’ve only ever been a musician, I’ve only ever considered myself a musician. And if that’s not available, who else am I? What else am I? It feels like I’ve really had to discover myself all over again with the pandemic. I’m still grieving it. I’m grieving this idea of myself as a musician. I mean, I am still a musician, but I’m grieving this whole previous lifestyle in this previous community that we had before the pandemic. I’m grieving venues that are no longer open, musicians and collaborators who have moved away, and trajectories and plans and tours and things that no longer are in fruition. No longer happening.
So, grieving all of that, but also simultaneously very excited about new passions and new music, whether it be just different than anticipated. There’s a juxtaposition of grief and excitement.
“I’ve been thinking very deeply about what identity is and what that means. I’ve only ever been a musician, I’ve only ever considered myself a musician. And if that’s not available, who else am I? What else am I? It feels like I’ve really had to discover myself all over again with the pandemic.”
What does the near future hold for you?
I’m really excited about the next couple of years. I feel like our society makes you choose one thing. You have to be one thing and that’s your specialty. And I’m really leaning into being multiple things: a musician, an environmentalist, a naturalist, a creative. So the next couple of years, I’m excited to make more music—I’m working on a couple of albums right now—but at the same time, I’m studying the California ecosystem, biodiversity, climate action, and how all these things can come together. I’m excited to use creative thinking to come up with environmental solutions.
This interview was conducted on November 1st, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.