By Pamela Dozois
If the first gifts you received at birth from your mother were records by Blondie and The Go-Go’s, your future might involve music in one way or another.
So it is with singer-songwriter, composer and independent recording artist Nataly Lola Plotner, who prefers to use her stage name, Nataly Lola.
“Growing up, music filled my home,” she said. “My mother, Melody Plotner, had a great vinyl record collection which she played all the time. When I was little I learned to sing songs from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Then my brother and sister added albums from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. My life was steeped in the music of Patsy Cline, Joni Mitchell, The Temptations, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Cyndi Lauper, Van Morrison, and The Cranberries. I wanted to be Blondie (Deborah Harry) when I grew up. Under all this blonde hair, I still maintain that one streak of brown hair in homage to her.”
Nataly credits her mother as her greatest musical inspiration, someone who loves music, all genres of music from classical to pop and everything in between, and surrounded her in it.
“My mother learned to play the accordion from one of those door-to-door salesmen in the ’60s selling accordion lessons. The accordion is harder to play than you think. Then she taught herself to play the piano and the guitar. She insisted that we all learn to play the piano as well.
“She was a strict piano teacher, making sure we practiced every day. My sister, Shannon, was an accomplished pianist, as was my brother, who also played the guitar. We were avid watchers of MTV when it first came out, and we would make home music videos together,” she recalled.
In high school Natalie was always active in the arts, participating in choir, theater and dance. She also played in many bands but found that she mainly enjoyed writing her own music. She says her writing was inspired by Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell. She always loved poetry and books and would compose her own music and lyrics, even when she was a little child.
At 17, she decided to learn how to play the guitar because She felt that composing her songs on guitar would be easier and more convenient than on the piano. She said that melodies and lyrics would just pop into her head, that writing music came easily to her, and that the guitar seemed the most expedient way of composing.
“At first my mother was reticent about teaching me the guitar. She said she didn’t want to waste her time teaching me if I wasn’t serious about it. That meant practice, practice, practice. I used to think it was impossible to get both hands to work simultaneously and I would complain all the time, because it hurt my fingers. But my mother persisted and so did I,” she said.
Having accomplished the guitar, Nataly fell in love with the ukulele, and she found it even easier to write her songs on the ukulele.
“I found that I liked to write my music on the ukulele best, then transpose it to the guitar and piano. When a melody pops into my head I can easily pick up the ukulele and instantly bring it to life. It’s much easier to carry around a ukulele than a guitar — or a piano, for that matter,” she said jokingly.
At 19, Nataly met her mentor, Randy Rigby, who was a platinum award-winning producer and Grammy nominee before his death.
“Randy took me under his wing. He pushed me to go public with my music and make a living at it. He inspired me to keep writing and pursue more of my own music. He provided me with the tools I needed to succeed, a guitar, and PA system to help further my career.
“He believed in me. His great team of people and notable musicians invested a lot of money and time helping me make my record “Nataly Lola” under the Harvest Road Music record label in Denver, Colorado. One of the songs from that album, “Meet Me at Midnight,” won second place in the open category out of more than 300 entries at the 2017 New Times Music Awards.
“Making a record album is an expensive endeavor. It can cost up to $10,000, so Randy gave me a great gift,” she said.
Nataly has performed with Rigby and Zach Carothers of the Grammy Award-winning band “Portugal The Man.” She has also been a featured artist with Sunset Magazine’s yearly lifestyle festival, “Savor the Central Coast.”
She and her band Ghost\Monster have been featured at many local concert series including headlining at the Wildflower Triathlon that draws more than 30,000 athletes and spectators. Her original music can be heard regularly on The Krush 92.5. She is also actively involved in theater.
She is also an active dancer, actress, and teacher of the performing arts. She started in dance and gymnastics at the age of two, graduated from Hancock College with an AA degree in dance, and has been teaching dance classes for 18 years at the Studio of Performing Arts in Grover Beach. She also gives private music lessons in guitar and voice at La Botte Bistro in Buellton.
“Francesca Agate lets me use her space at La Botte Bistro during the day as her restaurant doesn’t open until 5 p.m. and they have a piano I can use there as well,” said Nataly
She also volunteers as a camp counselor at “Camp No Limits” along with her boyfriend, Cameron Clapp, who is a triple amputee. They work with children who have lost limbs or have limb differences.
“My sister, Shannon, died three years ago, at the age of 34, from opioids, leaving behind two children. She started taking medication for severe pain in her forearms due to the repetitive nature of her job. The medication didn’t heal her, just eliminated the pain. Once the opioids got her, she was a changed woman. It was so fast.
“Shannon’s death left our family devastated and I fell into a deep depression that I could not seem to overcome,” Nataly said. “It was when I started volunteering at Camp No Limits that I found a way out of it, putting my life back together, in the right, healthy perspective.
“Working with these kids is a blessing,” she continued. “Giving of yourself to others is so rewarding and healing. The camp runs for 3 ½ days per session and I volunteer at six camps a year, all over the country. About 150 kids attend camp each session.
“I teach them to dance, play guitar and sing. One of the students has learned to play classical guitar using only her finger nubs. Cameron teaches them how to use their prosthetics and the hygienic procedures involved with prosthetics, and teaches them to ride bikes, run and swim. Cameron can do anything with his prosthetics. He even surfs,” she explained.
“Whether by fate or circumstances, our lives seem to have converged. I have known Cameron since middle school. We dated in high school and he actually broke my heart when we broke up. We have been together for eight years now and he is my biggest supporter, and I his,” she said.
She performs more than 175 gigs a year, playing at many local wineries. She has also performed with her band Ghost\Monster for weddings performs regularly at a large number of other Central Coast venues.
For more information, visit her website at www.natalylola.com, email email@example.com, call 805-550-2634 or visit Facebook.com/natalylola.