Within the creative industry, there lies a common debate: does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? For Natisa, the Ukrainian-born singer-songwriter behind “Wind of Hope”, this concept appears all the more polarising as she navigates the heart-wrenching events of the Russian invasion of Ukraine through song — turning tragedy into a triumphant track that lends comfort to those affected, carrying us towards a more hopeful future.
On the 24th of February 2022, Natisa faced a seismic wave of change. With the sounds of rockets and explosions waking her up from normal life, there was only one course of action: flee. Taking her son – then seven – to the Polish border, Natisa recalls, “We drove and lived in that car for five days until we felt safe.” Yet that safety in itself could not settle, as the artist reflects, “The worst thing is that it's not over yet, the war is still going on.”
Having found respite in music from an early age, attending the Kyiv Municipal Academy of Performing and Circus Arts before graduating to become a soloist for the state academic orchestra, Natisa quickly took pen to paper to sound her feelings. Fashioning her heartstrings into the gentle pluck of violins, a symphony of healing began to take form — banishing the fear of war and encouraging a sense of unity in its wake.
Now, threading together the chronicles of the past year with her artistry, Natisa forms her own answer to the aforementioned debate. Life and art are concurrent, they exist in equilibrium to reflect, inspire and encourage. As the singer-songwriter gears up for the release of her debut album – due September 2023 – she exercises this sentiment in singles “Aesthetics”, “Mantra”, “Starting To Get Used To” and “Birds”, paving the exponential climb of an artist leading us out of the darkness.
Speaking with me on the past, present and bright future, Natisa tells all…
ELLA WEST: What has been the highlight of the year so far?
NATISA: Probably shooting the music video for my song, "Wind of Hope” as well as the release of the song into the world and people's feedback. This is an event that my team and I have been really looking forward to.
EW:We’d like to start by getting to know a little bit about you. What were you like as a kid?
N: From what my parents told me, I was a very energetic and artistic child. I had concerts at home and on the street, I sang all the time and was a real troublemaker. In adolescence that all changed, I read a lot and became a terrible introvert. But I feel like right now all those qualities are creating a synergy in me, and I am quite happy about it.
EW:You were born and raised in Ukraine. Do you think your environment has influenced you as a person and/or as an artist in any way?
N: The environment we’re in always influences us more than we can imagine. I've always been surrounded by creative people: writers, musicians, artists... I grew up in a bohemian environment.
EW:Looking at your education, it seems like you've always been associated with music/performance. Do you think it was a passion you were born with?
N: It really was, it's a passion I was born with. Even as a very young girl, I called myself a singer — even though I didn't even fully understand the meaning of the word yet. I just felt it and I was telling everybody about it every single day.
EW: What motivated you to pursue a career in music? Was that always the plan?
N: I was lucky, I was born with a clear sense of my destiny. I've always known what I want to do and what I had to do. Of course, I grew up in a musical environment. I think it could not have been any other way.
EW:I wanted to congratulate you on the release of "Wind Of Hope”! It's been a little over a year since the terrible events which inspired you to make this track. What has this past year been like for you? Can you single out any specific emotions?
N: Thank you! This past year will always be a pivotal year in my life — a year that changed so much in the outside world as well as the inside. We are now witnessing the struggle of good and evil, not only in this unfair, brutal war but also in each of us. The year has been full of losses and gains and the ending of old connections and the beginning of new ones. All of these events are of course very emotional and have left a deep mark on my soul.
EW:What first inspired you to channel those feelings into a song? Do you usually use your craft as a coping mechanism?
N: In difficult moments I always turn to music, to God, to my life's work, and that saves me. And as a creative person, I tune all of my feelings and emotions into songs. That is probably the mission of an artist: to be able to bring to light what is in every person's soul, to wake someone up, to open someone's eyes, to release someone's pain or open someone's life to joy.
EW: What is most important to you when creating music?
N: It’s always different, most of the time I need solitude and connection with nature.
EW: The lyrics and production of “Wind Of Hope” feel so emotive. What was the songwriting process like for you? Did you find it difficult to reminisce about that time in your life?
N: Yes, the process of writing and recording and even shooting the video was difficult... And the worst thing is that it's not over yet, the war is still going on. All I can do is have faith and hope and share that faith and hope with people, through my art.
EW:What do you think is the most important message of "Wind Of Hope"? What would you like your fans to take away from it?
N: What’s inside of us is stronger than what's outside. A ray of hope and faith will illuminate the darkest darkness. You have to believe no matter what.
EW: Can you tell us anything about your latest singles, “Aesthetics” and “The Last Supper”?
N: I think you'll be very surprised by these two tracks. They are completely different songs in style and content, where my vocals open up in a new way. It's an experiment that we did and I think it was quite successful. I and our whole team are in love with these songs and believe they can win the hearts of totally different audiences.
EW: What are you hoping to tackle next within your artistry?
N: A lot, a lot of things! I am ambitious and like to make great plans. I want to please my listeners and please myself! It is a mutual process, where one is impossible without the other. In the near future, we are preparing to release a new album, and I will also tell a little secret: I want to record a duet with a famous singer.
EW: I look forward to that!If there is one thing you hope to achieve within your career, what would it be and why?
N: I want to be recognised, perhaps recognition of my talent by other people is the ultimate reward.
EW: Do you have any other projects in the works? What’s next for you?
N: Yes! I’m currently writing with my producer Gregory Darling and Noanne for my EP, to be released in September, followed by a few live performances, which I’m truly excited about.
Head below to watch the freshly dropped video for "Aesthetics" now, Natisa’s impossibly catchy, Gloria Gaynor-tinged, electro-disco LGBTQ+ anthem about two women who inadvertently fall in love...
Photography by Massimiliano Giorgeschi
Fashion by Yasmin Williams
Words by Ella West
Editor Ella West
Hair by Luke Bensonat Frank Agency
Makeup by Karin Darnellat Frank Agency
Nails by Jada Elize-Lorentzat Premier Hair& Make-up using CHANEL Le Vernis in 113 Faussaire, Le Gel Coat and CHANEL La Crème Main
Production Director Ben Crank
Producer Isabella Coleman
Production Intern Frankie Baumer
Special Thanks to Indra Studios