What first sparked our interest in Nathan Jude was his way with not only words in English, but Spanish as well. Digging deeper into his past and present though, we found out there was way more to this alternative pop singer than we initially thought. From his battle with OCD to growing up in Argentina, we covered so many bases and scored a home run with this one.
Kendra: With the ability to sing in both English and Spanish, do you write in both or just one language?
Nathan Jude: I write in both languages. I find that each language has particular strengths. English is wonderful when you need to describe a complex situation concisely. Spanish is such a romantic language that it is great for expressing passion and emotion. Lately, I find myself beginning to write songs that include both English and Spanish lyrics.
Kendra: Did you grow up speaking Spanish or was that something learned as you got older?
Nathan: I was lucky enough to grow up speaking both languages. My Dad is Argentine and my Mom is American. While growing up in Argentina, the household rule was “speak Spanish outside the house, speak English inside.” This kept me well connected to both languages.
Kendra: Was there a local music scene that influenced you when you were growing up – or were you more inspired by the landscapes that surrounded you?
Nathan: Growing up in Argentina, I was not very connected to the local music scene. Instead, I found myself being inspired by the way that music seemed to control me. When I listened to love songs, I found myself overwhelmed by deep emotion. When listening to sad music, I instantly felt a sense of sad comfort (weird, I know). Music’s ability to completely overwhelm me is what led me to dedicate myself to it.
Kendra: What made you want to be a bit more alternative than mainstream when it came to your pop style?
Nathan: I am a strong believer in prioritizing the melody when writing. I never really set out to write in a particular genre, I just knew that whatever melodies I wrote had to really flow well with the chords and rhythms that I was using. This meant that, at no point, was I focused on current trends or styles. I think that my tunnel vision about melodies is what lead my music to be more alternative than mainstream.
Kendra: Right now fans can hear that sound on Unafraid, which just dropped in January. Was there anything you were fearful of during recording?
Nathan: Absolutely. We were 3/4 finished with the album and I began experiencing pain when singing. After a visit to the doctor, I learned that I had swelling throughout my throat and vocal chords, and I needed to rest my voice until it healed. This meant that, during the last few months of recording, I could not sing. I was afraid that we wouldn’t’ be able to finish the album. Luckily, the vocals I had already laid down were strong enough to keep in the final cuts, and my brother and co-producer, Micah, was able to step in and record the harmonies that I hadn’t finished.
Kendra: On a broader scale, what’s something you’re irrationally fearful of? Like I am terrified of gorillas – even though I will probably never run into one.
Nathan: My biggest irrational fear has to be germs. I was diagnosed with OCD many years ago, and I find myself constantly going out of my way to avoid germs of all types. Intellectually, I know that germs are everywhere, and our resilient bodies are usually able to cope with them, but I can’t help living on the defensive in an attempt to somehow avoid them.
Kendra: Back to the music, you just dropped your new single, “Have You Now.” Can you remember the day you recorded that one? Anything out of the ordinary happen that day?
Nathan: Very interesting question! Because we were recording while working full-time jobs, that song was actually recorded over a period of several years! One interesting thing about the song is that we originally recorded it as a piano-lead song, but it didn’t feel right. After months of editing and trying to make it sound right, we finally ditched most of the piano parts and re-recorded the song with guitars. As soon as we played it back, we knew that we had finally found the right sound.
Kendra: Going back even further. You had about five years between your latest and last album. What was going on during that time?
Nathan: Back in 2011, after releasing my first EP, I was really struggling with my OCD. It was so strong that I found it difficult to do shows. I finally decided that I needed to focus on my health, so I actually got on a plane and flew across the country to receive treatment. I thought that this process would take a few weeks, but it ended up taking a year! After my treatment, I moved to a new city, met the woman that became my wife, and simultaneously recorded my new album. Between the treatment, multiple moves, and a wedding, the new album became a 5 year project. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a single day of that process.
Kendra: Will you be playing any shows soon?
Nathan: Yes! We are preparing to announce shows throughout Phoenix! Once I’ve had the time to connect with fans here in the valley, we will begin planning a Southwest tour.
Kendra: Lastly, here at ZO we’re all about the arts. With that I wanted to ask you to either draw or submit a piece of art that you feel best represents your sound?
Nathan: I have to go with the image that is on the inside of my album. To me it represents innocence, the struggle of being stranded, and the idea that even when we can’t see it, our complexity is beautiful.