FEATURE

Killing It

by Ari Bendersky
British import Natalia Kills is ready for her close up.

While pop singers like Ke$ha, Britney and Rhianna sing about grinding on a guy, getting wasted in a club and feeling like the only girl in the world, Natalia Kills has a growing audience of fans who relate to her "dark pop" on a deeper level. While she has a sound resonant of Lady Gaga, her heated, honest lyrics evoke a dance floor Alanis. The 24-year-old British native was discovered by Black Eyed Pea will.i.am and her first albumwill soon come out on the Cherrytree imprint. We caught up with Kills, who was losingher voice, as she was about to board an 11-hour flight to the U.K. from Los Angeles,where she currently lives, to tour with Swedish pop singer Robyn. We chatted about herapproach to songwriting, facing adversity head on and her desire to never become a star.

JACKarcher: What sets you apart from other pop singers?
Natalia Kills: What people have noticed is that my lyrics and songwriting and approach is more confrontational and aggressive. I don't talk about partying and the clubs, but Italk about fucking up my ex-boyfriend and smashing up his windows. That's the pointof making music—everything you think and feel and all of your life experience or wit,dreams—should be in your music. It shouldn't be about making a song for people to singalong to. It's to share your soul with people so they can be inspired and connect with you.JA: It seems like there's a lot of anger in your lyrics.

NK: It's honesty. I take the life experience, whether it's the shit relationship or being
broke and no one believing in my dream or whether it's my upbringing and going through
a traumatic experience, I just like to be honest in my music. There's certain angst with
honesty. We can celebrate through the pain and bullshit. At moments in our lives, we all
struggle with something so let's push through it and celebrate.

JA: Did you always want to be a star or some sort?
NK: No, I actually would quite like to never be a star. I never wanted to be famous. I
prefer to be interesting. All of these interesting things have inspired me to be who I am
and I want to put that back out there. I think it'd be much nicer if I can never be famous. I
was just as happy writing songs in my pajamas a year ago when no one had ever heard of
me.
 
JA: Your real last name is Cappuccini. How did you come up with Kills—is it a
character?
NK: It's funny; it's who I am. I would be talking to my mom the same way as I'm talking
to you. I don't change. I don't have a persona. I don't amplify myself because I wouldn't
be able to keep up with it. I've always been like this, but finally found the word to capture
it. Kills doesn't mean to me to put an end to something. It means to give 100 percent of
your passion and your intensity to something. Some people just are ambitious and don't
take no for an answer. If I don't live 100 percent I think there's no point.
 
JA: Are you concerned about people making comparisons with Gaga?
NK: It's funny because Gaga is being compared quite intensely to Madonna and then I
wonder, am I'm like Madonna? And [Madonna] is compared to Marilyn Monroe, image
wise, and I think am I like Marilyn Monroe? I wonder how close these comparisons
really are? How relevant is it really? We all have tits and we sing. I think that's about as
relevant as it could be in the grand scheme of things.
 
JA: What are you about apart from music – what interests you?
NK: It depends if I'm with my bad bitch girl gang on tour or at home. At home, I'll
brainstorm and do photo shoots and stuff. That's fun to me. I write songs for fun. I go to
the silent movie theater and love to go to tea rooms. I visit museums a lot—that's one of
my favorite things to do. I go shopping. When I'm with my girl gang, we go to casinos
and strip clubs, aquariums, roller coaster theme parks—we try to do as much weird stuff
as possible. You have to do extreme stuff to amuse yourself. I cook and walk my dog,
Dracula. She's a little white teacup Chihuahua. She's a really happy dog.
 
JA: It's obvious you're creative, have style and can sing. But what's a secret talent most
people don't know about you?
NK: I was thinking about this the other day. I'm such an open person that I don't have
many secrets. Oh, it's not really a talent, but I actually wrote a book. It took me a year.
It was a gift for a lover. I had it leather bound and printed in India. I took all of the love
letters and memories we had; it's like a history of who we are and how we met and our
adventures. Basically if either of us ever died, one of us could look back and know that
this was true love. It happened. It was real.
  • Ari Bendersky eats, lives, plays, hunts and sometimes sleeps in Chicago. In addition to JACKarcher, he’s also the editor of Eater Chicago and has written for the New York Times, RollingStone.com, the Associated Press, Out, Chicago and more.