This article first appeared at The Queens Tribune on Dec. 25, 2014.

Mishell

It should not surprise anyone that Natalie Mishell is originally from Southern California. If you listen to any of her songs, you can hear sun-soaked guitar strings and vocal melodies that sound like they were recorded on a beach. With a voice that can float like a gentle breeze or emote with the strength of a strong gust of wind, Mishell puts passion and playfulness into her blend of folk music.

The one-time Astoria musician can trace her musical style and interests back to the West Coast. Her parents introduced her to the major folk singer-songwriters and classic rock bands of the 1960s and 70s. Mishell specifically named Bob Dylan as her inspiration for starting to write her own music.

The songwriter moved to New York, looking for a change from Los Angeles.

“I want to explore and expand my horizons. New York seemed like a good place to begin a new chapter in my life,” she said. “I have been given a lot of opportunity in the area and have had the pleasure of playing with many talented artists, which in turn has helped my career a lot.”

Mishell plays with a bevy of musicians who have come and gone over the last five years. When she first moved to the City, Mishell met drummer Rich Pagano, who produced her debut, “In My Shoes.” This meeting was the genesis for Mishell’s network of musicians. For the last year and a half, she has been working with the same lineup.

For that first record, Mishell had to become familiar with the studio and its workings.

“The hardest thing though was not being familiar with the recording process and all the technicalities that come with it,” she said. “I was used to picking up a guitar and singing.”

While In My Shoes has a polished sound with many layers and textures, Mishell went a little rougher for her follow-up, Goodnight Stranger. Produced by JP Bowersock, the entire album was tracked in one 12-hour session, recorded live due to a limited budget, with overdubs added at a later date.

Goodnight Stranger sounds more like a live rock record,” she said. “I love them both for different reasons but they are two completely different sounds.”

Although that LP may have a live vibe, the actual concert experience is very different from the studio experience for Mishell. She said that the studio gives her an opportunity to try ideas that she would not be able to replicate in a live setting. On the other hand, when she is onstage, Mishell is all about making a connection.

“Playing live is all about performing and connecting with the audience from me. It’s about sharing yourself, telling stories and relating to people’s experiences through music,” she said. “Recording is about exploring and being creative, it’s about coming up with ideas and sounds that might not come across in a live setting.”

You can catch Mishell in concert on Jan. 30 at the Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2. The show starts at 6:30 p.m., with no cover fee. For more, visit http://nataliemishell.com.