I’m excited to be back after a much needed month break. There is a lot happening in my world with the upcoming move to Los Angeles #20Days! More updates to come once we are settled in LA.
I reached out to the fabulous and talented Natalie Weiss, who I’ve been a personal fan of since interning at Tara Rubin Casting in 2011. Natalie, at the time, was in the ensemble of Les Miserables on Broadway and I became aware of her talent because of Youtube.
The first video in particular I watched was Natalie singing was a song from the show ‘Baby, The Musical’. The song is fairly repetitive and belty, so clearly I was struggling with the high notes and decided to get some inspiration from youtube. Soon to find out, she had an epic belt on her and had no problem belting the E that I so daily struggled with. Have a watch if you’d like – its a good audition tune. Since then I’ve followed her on Facebook and love her content.
Natalie’s voice can be heard on the soundtrack to the upcoming movie , The Greatest Showman, based on the life of P.T. Barnum, with original music by Pasek and Paul (coming out Christmas Day).
She can also be heard as one of the virtual community voices on the Original Broadway Cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen. In 2015, she played Candy in the U.S. premiere of the new version of Saturday Night Fever at the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. In August 2013, she completed a 2 1/2 year run swinging the national tour of Les Miserables.
Back In 2010, she made her Broadway debut understudying the Menonettes in Everyday Rapture, starring Sherie Rene Scott. She also performed in the ensemble and understudied Elphaba in the 2nd national tour of Wicked. Natalie was an American Idol season 4 semi-finalist, has performed the National Anthem at Cowboys & Shea Stadium, has toured internationally teaching & doing solo concerts, but is most well known for her YouTube videos. She has gained an international following from her performance videos & popular web series, “Breaking Down The Riffs“, which have collectively reached over 3 million views. Check out her self-titled EP on iTunes.
Watch an episode below!
Now onto the good bits! A nice Q&A below with Natalie on how Social Media has changed her career.
1. Do you remember your first ‘social’ post or the first video you decided to put live on Youtube? What was it and what kind of response did you get?
My YouTube presence actually happened quite accidentally. In 2006, before YouTube was even a known entity, I had performed at a school function “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”, and a freshman had bootlegged it and put it on YouTube. Before I knew it, I started getting daily friend requests and the rest is history! It was around the time that the Dreamgirls movie was coming out, so I’m pretty sure that was the reason the video was getting so many views!
2. When did it first realize that through social media you gaining a large following?
I think I started realizing slowly that I was developing a following, after my showcase video was posted on YouTube on a friend’s channel (before I even created my own channel). The video started making its way through the college circuit, and I started receiving messages from people who had enjoyed the video, and getting recognized on the street in New York City!
3. Are you able to tell us a story of a connection or contact you made through posting on social media / YouTube?
I have made SO many crazy amazing connections through social media! I can’t possibly mention just one example, but I can name a few off the top of my head:
Avery Wilson, Miranda Sings, Pentatonix, Sara Ramirez, Andrew Lippa, Scott Alan, the list goes on!
4. Did you ever book a job through someone finding you on Youtube?
Most theatre gigs have involved me having to audition, however, this amazing opportunity to do Ghost at WPPAC did come about from the producers at the theatre following my stuff on the internet for a while. Fortunately, ALL of my opportunities to teach, give solo concerts, or perform at fan’s weddings internationally have come to fruition from people finding me on YouTube!
5. What advice would you give an actor who isn’t on social media or who doesn’t use to it to self promote?
I am a firm believer that EVERYONE should have at least ONE performance video of themselves on YouTube. However, don’t just rush to get a video up. Make sure the sound and video quality is top notch. So much of the business nowadays involves casting directors and bookers further “stalking” potential clients on YouTube to see if they should be hired for a job. If a video of you is not available online at the click of a button, this generation is so ‘instant gratification’, that most likely, they will simply offer the job to the next person.
6. What has been your FAV YouTube collab?
I have more than one favorite!
“When Love Takes Over” with the Pentatonix
“The Phantom Of The Chandelier” with Shoshana Bean at my show in LA.
“The Most Literal Audition Ever” with my best friend, Andrew Hodge
“All By Myself” with David Perlman
7. A fun question – what was your 2017 highlight? (on social media or professionally)
I was hired to sing for a fan’s wedding this fall. Because the song they requested (“You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen) was initially a choral type number, I asked if they wanted me to arrange it into a solo or hire a choir. When they told me that their budget allowed for a choir, I got to live out my “vocal contractor” dreams which involved me being able to hire 8 amazing singers and an accompanist (of my own choosing), running rehearsals, organizing travel etc, and performing an EPIC version of the song at the ceremony. It was so fulfilling…Being in charge of something and it really paying off in the end. I really want to start my own production company! I think I just like bossing people around haha and being in control of my happiness.
8. Last question – what can we expect to see from you in the future (on social media or professionally or both)
I am currently playing Molly in Ghost The Musical at the White Plains Performing Arts Center. Our first show was Friday the 13th and we run till October 29th. For Ticket information please follow the link here. I hope to seriously start a corporate company soon, where people can hire me to create entertainment for weddings, gigs etc. I’ll probably return to London in the near future too (because I love it there so much and just taught there a few weeks ago).
Thank you again Natalie Weiss for the interview and taking the time to share with myself and my readers! Looking forward to keeping a close eye on your upcoming content and best wishes for the rest of your run. HCx
Please go & follow Natalie on her social profiles below.
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