Natalie Shay wants both: the best parts of being in a relationship, and the best parts of not being in one. Her latest single–“Owe It To You”–sees the up-and-coming London artist navigating this tension between lust and love with brutal honesty.
“You ask what I’m thinking about / Can’t tell you what’s on my mind / ‘Cause right now, it’s only how I think I’m a waste of your time,” she sings over layered synth lines and throbbing beats. Shay’s voice bends from lush and sleek to deep and cathartic as she tries to figure out her next relationship move: “Do you deserve better / Should I walk away / ‘Cause I can’t stop thinking ‘bout the ones I can’t chase / Is it time to / Be the one that got away / Do I owe it to you?”
Today Shay premieres a new visual for the rousing indie pop number via American Songwriter. In the video, Shay is haunted by a weirdly handsome mask that keeps popping up in unexpected places from a train platform to a convenience store counter.
“The video focuses on the theme of not being able to get someone out of your head and essentially seeing their face everywhere,” Shay tells American Songwriter. “The narrative follows me after a shitty day going home and being haunted by this guy’s face, until eventually turning up to a house party where the guy himself is.”
“Owe It To You” is one of five tracks on Shay’s forthcoming debut EP, NAKED. The music video is her second of 2020, following a playful visual for the propulsive lead single “Not The Girl,” released in February.
“This video [for ‘Owe It To You’] was interesting to make as we filmed all of the bits over such a long period of time–it was almost a surprise to me seeing the final cut,” says Shay of her latest production. “I wanted to make a video that wasn’t ‘glamorous’ for the song, as lyrically it’s the most raw track on the EP. I wanted everything that surrounded this song to also be very real. This song means a lot to me. It really captures a feeling from a chapter in my life. I hope that other people can really relate to the song too–I suppose that’s my main goal as a songwriter.”
NAKED arrives later this week following a pair of EDM cuts with Scottish producer Grum and a varied string of singles released over 2018 and 2019. Highlights among those singles include “This Feeling” and “People Like Me”–the latter is a pounding pop-punk number, while the former pulls from ‘80s synth and disco. Meanwhile, Shay shows her quieter, more atmospheric side–and flexes her vocal range–on “Whole of Me.” But “Not The Girl” and “Owe It To You” are especially hard-hitting.
Shay wasn’t sure if she would stick to her initial EP release day due to COVID-19, but the North Londoner ultimately chose to keep her plans in place.
“Deciding to continue releasing an EP through times like this was a big decision,” says the artist. “It’s funny how quickly things can change. When I set out on this project I expected things to pan out completely differently. I guess we can only work with what we’ve got, and continuing to put out videos that we filmed when things were normal is a good place to start.”
NAKED is out April 17.