Natalie Bergman may be best known for her work along side her brother Elliot in the reggae/funk/ska/pop fusion band Wild Belle.
But one phone call in 2019 changed her musical direction.
Wild Belle were about to take the stage for one of, arguably, the biggest shows of their career - headlining New York's Radio City Music Hall - when they received a phone call no one ever wants - a coroner delivering news that their father and stepmother had been killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
With music and faith a centerpiece of the Bergman family, and rather than fall into a dark depression, Natalie decided to spend time reflecting at a monastery in New Mexico's Chama Valley. This was just the cathartic experience she needed to begin writing and producing her first solo album - Mercy (due out May 7 via Jack White's Third Man Records)
Photo by Elliot Bergman
The final product finds finds Bergman putting 'a psychedelic spin on vintage gospel-soul'. The music 'is steeped in mystic melodies, time-bending tones of psychedelic rock, soul and a spiritual healing that’s much-needed in the wake of 2020'
“My faith and my music are crucial to my existence. I sing a lot about home on this record. My Paradiso, my Heaven. Believing in that place has been my greatest consolation. I had an urgency and desperation to know that my father was there. His sudden death was a whirling chaos that assaulted my mind. Gospel music gives me hope. It is the good news. It’s exemplary. It can bring you truth. It can keep you alive. This album provided me with my only hope for coming back to life myself.”
Photo by Alan Ortiz via Natalie Bergman's Instagram
"'Shine Your Light On Me' is a love song. It's a prayer. A heartbroken melody hoping for sunshine. I had the privilege of working alongside my favorite artists and musicians on this film. I built my dream set design with Hanrui Wang and we played with mirrors and shadows. Light and darkness. I was inspired by Diana Ross & The Supremes' 1967 performance of 'Reflections.' I imagined this song would be accompanied by visuals that might remind you of a late '60s television performance i.e. The Ed Sullivan Show."
Natalie Bergman - "Shine Your Light On Me"
Natalie Bergman - "Talk To The Lord"
While we wait for the full album's release (May 7 via Third Man Records) we can take a moment and enjoy these songs and realize just how powerful and cathartic music can be.