Natasha Bedingfield grew up in Lewisham, south-east London. Her New Zealand-born parents - who work in social work and counselling - were encouraging to all four of their children's creative impulses from the off; Natasha admits that they even sang to them in the womb.
In her teenage years, Natasha, was working hard at learning guitar, piano and at songwriting.
After school she was torn between art college and studying psychology at university. The art college, noting that she seemed to be more interested in the emotional content of her own paintings, advised her to study art therapy; she took this as a sign that psychology, and other people's heads, was where her head was at.
'But even then, I was interested in psychology because I knew that'd make me a better songwriter. It'd give me a deeper insight into people. I was sick of empty music - people whip up a melody then any kind of words to fit. I'm not interested in lines that go "blah blah blah". I want something that provokes me as well as the listener.'
After two years of juggling studies and songwriting and singing, Natasha left university to concentrate on her studio work. She'd been told enough times that she had a good voice, but she also wanted good material of her own. 'I didn't want to be created by a record company. I know who I am, and I'm proud of what my talents are. So I waited until I was ready. I spent every spare moment in friends' home studios, at my home, writing and recording and getting ready.'
Finally, when she was sure she had enough of her own material - when she was ready to try turn her lifelong hobby into her profession -Phonogenic, an imprint of BMG, got to hear it.
Everything clicked: Phonogenic loved Natasha's music and attitude, and understood her desire to create something real, organic, "proper". 'I don't want to be the next anyone. I just want to be me, now. And that means all different things'. There would be no moulding, shaping or styling of Natasha to fit some music biz pigeonhole. She is who she is. And who she is will be what makes her a megastar. And the rest, as they're about to start saying, is "herstory".
Natasha is a Londoner with strong ties to the other side of the world, a city girl with a love of New Zealand's Lord Of The Rings-like great outdoors. She is natural and fresh and honest, her sense of personal sexuality having nothing to do with how little clothes, or how much 'slap', you wear - that glamour is all well and good, but if you ain't got soul... Her go-getting sense of adventure is underpinned by wisdom and emotional maturity. She is intelligent, empathetic and confident. As her first release ('Single') suggests, she is unattached and independent.
It is this personality that shines brightly in her debut album: 'What do I want people to get from my music?' she ponders. 'Identify with it, be inspired by it, dance to it.'
Party anthem 'I'm A Bomb' is big, loud and shouty. 'It's girls going into a club, just going to dance - "be aware because I'm about to explode! I've been working all week and I've been really good girl but now I'm about to let off some steam." 'It is,' she adds, 'a bit cocky and very tongue-in-cheek.'
'Unwritten' is majestic and inspirational, with a climactic gospel choir moment courtesy of Natasha, her sister and two friends. She wrote it for her younger brother Joshua's last birthday. 'He's 14 now and starting to become more adult. It started as a poem about how your life is a blank page and you hold the pen. No one else is going to write it for you. And there are things waiting to happen that you have to experience. Get out there and get on with it. That's a theme to a lot of my songs - taking life and owning it, living it to the max. '
Back to the bumping, muscular funk of 'Single': 'Contrary to what some women's magazines might tell you, you're not incomplete if you don't have a bloke. You don't need a so-called "strong man" to give you significance. For me, being single has made me stronger. And when I am in a relationship it means I'll have more to give. I know who I am - and I know what kind of singer and songwriter I am. And it doesn't come from what anyone else makes me.'
Meet Natasha Bedingfield. Once you say hello to her, it'll be impossible to say goodbye.
--- from the official Natasha Bedingfield website