BWW Interview: Nathan Sharp: YouTube Star and his New Album, SANDCASTLE KINGDOMS
Nathan Sharp started his career desiring to pursue Top 40 music. Along the way, he took some detours that lead him to create his own YouTube channel, natewantstobattle. As his popularity soared, so did his creativity and originality. His YouTube channel has over 1.2 million subscribers who enjoy his music and creativity. Nathan's newest album is "Sandcastle Kingdoms." The music is a departure from his usual covers and nods to video games. As Sharp chatted with BWW, he discussed how he ended up creating his own YouTube channel and how his fans have come along for the ride.
What inspired you to create your own YouTube channel and what inspired you to create songs based on video games?
With the music starting with video games, at the time, that was kind of a side project. I had a lot of interest in pursuing a lot of top 40 stuff. I was doing covers like Maroon 5, Andy Grammer, a lot of stuff along those lines along side of it. Then one day I was in the car and "Payphone" by Maroon 5 was on the radio. And I just got a silly idea. Well, what if were about a video game? I kind of thought of lyrics and I posted it on what, at the time was my side channel, which was natewantstobattle because I didn't deem that as, quote unquote serious music. I was like, "Oh, this is just for fun. This is a goofy little idea." That ended up getting a lot of attention. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it. I had a great time doing it. So, I'm like, "OK, I can keep doing this." And that's a longer story short, that's how everything led up to this.
A lot of the songs that you've written are actually about video games but one of the things that I noticed is that a lot of the songs have a different meaning to me. They may be about video games in particular, but they don't necessarily have to be games one I familiar with. The song "Unaligned" comes to mind. Had you considered the idea that people listen to the music who may not be familiar with the games? What are your thoughts on that?
That was something that was very intentional down the road. I started writing original music about certain games that, yes, they were video games but at least, to me, the held a deeper meaning. A lot of them were very emotional games or scarier video games so they had a lot to do with feelings. I felt that again, even though this is a game, I don't need to get too specific but, at the same time, it does have a message. Like you said, "Unaligned," it is definitely one of those songs that resonates as well as one particular song I have called, "Nightmare." A lot of kids relate to (it). This relates to the game but it's about kids who are lost. They felt that their souls are in a rough place. That's something that resonated with me when I ran into a lot of the games. That's something that a lot of people relate to. That was definitely something that I wanted to convey regardless if you played the game or not. It's something you can still find some meaning in.
Let's talk about your new album now, "Sandcastle Kingdoms." It's your first full-length album of original songs. How did your fans react to this new album? They aren't really all based on video games are they?
No they're not. At most, a couple of them may have a few nods to video games, but everything was less about gaming and more just about real life events. Things I felt worthy of a song that weren't in any other form of entertainment. The fans were very supportive which I was a little bit scared about before I released the album because you build up a huge following doing one thing and a lot of times you see when an artist is like, "OK, I'm going to do something else." People will turn away from that. People might resent it. They are, "I like you for this thing so that's all I want from you." But, I was fortunate enough to have very supportive fans at either were A - all in favor or completely supportive of it or B - "I'll just go past this album but I'll keep listening to other stuff you do." So, they've been very supportive. It's been an amazing ride with this album. I'm very happy with how everyone's receiving it.