Sitting alone in a sleepaway cabin at the age of 9, Natalie Schlesinger wrote her very first song. Now 17 and a Wilton High School Class of 2023 graduate, Schlesinger has her first music EP (a ‘mini-album’ of 4-6 songs) under her belt, and she has no plans of stopping there.

Schlesinger released her eponymously titled debut EP, Natalie, in May after three years in the making. She noted that each of its four songs has a different ‘slant’ to them, falling somewhere between country, pop, rock, and indie to describe all the heartache of teenage love. 

Creating the collection was a “family affair,” as Natalie counted her father as a partner through the process. Her father, Andy Schlesinger, is a financial industry guy by day, and rock-n-roll lead guitarist of the Wilton-based band Captain Obvious by night, as well as the founder of Wilton Rocks for Food.

After penning the lyrics, Natalie would take her songs down to a makeshift studio in their family basement for Andy to produce, mix and master. She credits him both with playing the backing guitar on her EP, as well as surrounding her with music as she grew up.

Surprisingly, Schlesinger kept her passion for lyricism hidden from her father for almost five years, until a few of her friends broke her songwriting secret to him. During quarantine in 2020, he suggested she record some of her music, leading to the creation of her first fully produced single when she was just 14.

Songwriting is a kind of therapy for Schlesinger, who writes about her own life experiences, including self-esteem, heartbreak, and friends. She describes her music as “a door to her brain,” which lets her exercise a muscle she couldn’t live without.

Schlesinger’s went through a different creative process for each song on the album. She wrote “Birthday,” a ballad about her birthday being forgotten, in almost its entirety during a single English lecture. 

Others, like “You’re Just In Love,” took months to finish. She wrote that song’s first verse in September and posted a recording of it on Instagram much later, not thinking much of it. When she was overwhelmed by the positive response online, she went back to finish it. 

Schlesinger is self-taught on both the piano and guitar, using the instruments to create simple but powerful melodies to back up her vocals. She finds that she’s grown from what she called her “old four-chord ukulele songs” in many aspects. As she’s gotten matured, she’s created her own unique sound from a mosaic of the music and artists she’s admired.

Taylor Swift was a massive influence — Schlesinger admires her as a singer, songwriter, and “powerhouse in the music industry.”

So it’s no coincidence that since Swift got her start in Nashville, TN, Schlesinger plans to follow suit. She’ll soon be moving down to Nashville to attend Belmont University’s music business program, and she’s determined to make a name for herself. She hopes to play her music live as much as she can, with plans to “hit up every open mic Nashville has to offer for the next four years.”

While Schlesinger’s dream is to be a singer-songwriter, she”d be content in any career in the music industry. She describes her goals with the conviction of someone who knows exactly what they’re meant to do. Music is her life’s passion, and she aims to be involved in it in any way she can.

Schlesinger hopes to make the most of her time in Nashville and learn from as many writers, musicians and professionals as possible.

“[I want to] try to learn from them and just pick their brains on everything. I’m so passionate about the music industry, I want to know literally everything that there is to know. So I’m just trying to meet as many people as I can and work with as many people as possible, and hopefully be as good as them one day,” she said.

With the determination to make her dream happen, Schlesinger continues to write music and hone her craft, with an album in the works. 

Looking back, she knows Wilton will always be a special place, especially after her senior year at WHS left her feeling lucky to have grown up in the Wilton community. She’s even been able to perform in front of friendly crowds alongside her father at the last Wilton Rocks for Food show and elsewhere. But forward and ahead is the way she’s looking now.

“Honestly, I just love the idea of being able to do this for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than this. And the thought of not being able to do this pains me and it just doesn’t make sense. I’m willing to do anything in order to make this a career for me. That’s the thing that’s motivating me, and keeping me going is just thinking about my future and everything that it can entail.”

2 replies on “Headed to Nashville, Wilton’s Natalie Schlesinger Wants to be a Star”

  1. Does Natalie have a Bandcamp page for those of us who prefer purchasing music than renting it? Or where can this EP be found (CD or LP??)

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