As part of Kettle's student life series, music editor Lorna Holland interviews a selection of up-and-coming bands and artists about their student days and how the student years shaped their music. Today, she chats to singer-songwriter Natalie McCool.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm an artist and I write alternative pop about lovesick fragility.
Where did you study?
I went to Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
What was your experience of university like?
It was brilliant! I had an amazing 3 years. I learnt so much and made friends for life.
Tell us your fondest memory of your student days.
My flatmates and I lived so close to our uni we used to make mugs of tea in the morning and carry the mug down the street into uni. It felt like I was just at home!
Tell us about the most embarrassing moment of your student days.
We lived in a big old Victorian house in Liverpool city centre which had a bathroom on the first-floor landing next to my room. We didn't know that the sink had been leaking…it must have been going on for a few weeks. One morning I woke up to an almighty crash and ran out onto the landing – the bathroom floor had collapsed into the utility room below and there was plaster everywhere and a sink and toilet on top of the washing machine! Our landlord was not pleased.
Did you find studying music helpful for your career?
Yes – the course was really focused on working with other musicians and trying out different ideas and styles. It was a great place to grow and learn.
Did university help to shape your music career?
Yes, I still work with some of the people I met there who were on my course and other courses. It's great to know so many people in the industry who are doing cool stuff.
In your opinion, is it better to study music or focus on getting practical experience?
I think if you can do both it's worth it. Practical experience is so great to have and gaining some musical knowledge can really further your opportunities.
Do you think it’s important for aspiring musicians to study music?
It's not imperative but it is a really useful add-on.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians or young people thinking about studying music?
If you are going to study, my advice is to get out there and start building relationships with contacts outside university as well as within, as it's helpful to have both.
Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your music?
You can hear my music and find loads of info about me on my website.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Natalie!