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BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie Douglas

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BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie Douglas

In a recent book about the art of singing cabaret Natalie Douglas was called The Princess of Birdland. Natalie Douglas has been called by many superlatives over the years, including that one, diva, goddess, star, and so many others. It is very flattering, to be sure, but Natalie Douglas would probably be the first to tell you that she is a woman, and all that goes with the honor. She is a an adoring daughter, a loving spouse, and a sister to many, including the women of the cabaret community how look to her for guidance, strength and humor. Natalie Douglas is an artist and an activist, and she uses both of these positions to elevate the conversation and raise awareness. Like a diamond, Douglas has many facets and she keeps all of them active and alluring at all times.

She is many things and all the things but, first, Natalie Douglas is a Woman - with a capital W.

This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced in its entirety.


Name: Natalie Douglas
First Cabaret Show (Title, Year, Club): 1989 Broadway Baby - an UWS club no
longer around. Can't recall the title. I think it was something "punny"
like, "Cabaret-to di Saronno" cuz I was working in bars at the time. Oy!
Most Recent Cabaret Show: 1) NYC - Tributes: Ella Fitzgerald (My annual
birthday show), January 20, 2020 Birdland Jazz Club
2) On tour - Back To The Canyon: the songs of Joni Mitchell, March 8,
2020 Feinstein's at Vitello's in Los Angeles
Website or Social Media Handles: https://www.nataliedouglas.com
Twitter: @NatalieDouglas
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/nataliedouglasmusic
Facebook Music Page: https://www.facebook.com/nataliedouglasmusic
Instagram: @nataliedouglassinger

Natalie Douglas, welcome to Broadway World Cabaret! Thank you so much for chatting with us today - I know you've been very busy, how has life after lockdown been for you?

As I'm sure others have said, it's been a mixed bag - some days aren't too
hard, some days feel impossible. Luckily for me, I've been in isolation
with one of my fav people on the planet, my husband, Billy Joe Young, so
we've had each other to lean on during some of the hard moments.

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie Douglas

You have been doing some online teaching for the St. Louis Cabaret Conference. What is the personal reward to mentoring the young people who are under your tutelage?

I love working with students of any age! IMHO, one of the things that
motivates artists is making a connection - with an audience, with fellow
musicians and actors, with a deeper sense of self. Teaching is another way
I can connect with other performers outside of performing myself. And of
course, it's so gratifying to assist artists in working on material in ways
that matter to them.

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie DouglasA few days ago you posted a photo on your social media of you and Billy Joe, in honor of Loving Day. How long has it been for you two sweethearts, and how much have you enjoyed being together 24/7 for four months?

We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year. August will be 28
years since our first date. We really like each other...mostly...hee, so
we've had a good time together. We almost always do.

What is the secret to a long and happy union like yours?

Well, you could answer this as well as I, Stephen! I said it before, we really like each other! On our first date we started a conversation that lasted 7 hours that night...and we've just kept it going throughout the intervening
years. I found him to be gorgeous, sexy, funny, smart, kind, and silly and
none of that has changed. You know I call him "The Cutest Boy in Every
Room!" And he is!

Natalie, you are a tornado of activity usually, clearly in love with your work and your art. How have you been keeping yourself busy during quarantine? Or has this been a time of rest for you?

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie DouglasI was on a tour in California right as all of this broke, so after we
postponed the last date of the tour and returned to NYC early, I not only
took some time off, but really did some serious nesting. Billy Joe
ventured out (with all the precautions) when we needed supplies & I
stayed home. We still keep close to home and have been wearing masks,
washing our hands and keeping our distance, but as the city has opened
up, I have gone out a bit more. Of course, the first time I left the house
for any significant amount of time, was for a march in support of justice
for George Floyd.

You and I have spoken about your determined activism in the past. These are times of great activism and of speaking out, As a woman seeking equality, as a person of color seeking justice, as a gig worker seeking government assistance, have these last four months been exhausting for you? What's the key to not sinking into the darkness?

Like many others, I was spurred to action as the protests have filled the
streets and I believe that action is an effective antidote to despair. I've
been writing and sharing with friends and family, but as I wrote June 5th,
"...being Black is a blessing, a joy, a gift. Being Black in America is
f#&%ing exhausting." I'm also blessed with the leaders I see all around
me, not the least of whom is my own father, Rev. Arnold Townsend, whose
continuing legacy of activism is one of which I'm immensely proud! I
really think taking action - making sure you're not just not racist, but
actively anti-racist - is the best bulwark against the darkness.

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie Douglas

Natalie with Dad and Mayor Willie Brown

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie Douglas

Natalie and Mayor London Breed

You're one of the most glamorous women in the business. Are you missing the gowns
and eyelashes at all?

Wow! Thank you! Actually, that's a piece of it I don't really miss. Please
don't misunderstand, I really enjoy putting on my work drag, but having a
break from it is good too. Most of the time around the house, I'm a
moisturize, sunscreen and go kinda gal. (However, to be completely
honest, I enjoy playing with makeup so much, I have jumped into my
makeup vaults occasionally over the last four and 1⁄2 months and gone full
beat without anywhere to wear it!) The part I miss most is the traveling!

It's so odd to stay home. I think this is the longest stretch I've been in
NYC without leaving for work in over 7 years.

With the need for online entertainment right now and the uncertainty of where, when, how we will get back into the clubs, what do you think will be the most valuable tool to keep the cabaret/concert industry alive?

I'm really impressed by all the virtual work I've seen friends create. In a
matter of months we've all had to learn the skills of a TV producer, or
work with someone who has and build studios in our own homes,
considering from whence we started, it's an amazing achievement! And
now, we have regular programming to look forward to. As long as we're
human, we'll need to tell stories & connect with one another, especially
when the pandemic requires isolation, so we will find a way to make it
happen even if we can't be in the same room. I'm going to film my first
virtual concert at the Birdland Theater soon and I can't wait!

What's one thing you and Billy Joe do each day to stay centered and sane?

Laugh! We wouldn't have survived our years together, especially the tough
ones, without our shared sense of humor and fun. We're both avid readers,
so we also spend some portion of every day reading.

Natalie Douglas, what would you say is your center of strength?

Hmmm, great question! Love, I think...for my husband, family, friends,
heroes, pets, favorite songs, favorite books, favorite snacks, etc. It's the
love I feel and the love I receive that keeps me believing in the promise of
tomorrow, even if today has its lousy moments...or lousy current
administration...hee!

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie Douglas

With Natalie's Dad on his birthday.

BWW Feature: At Home With Natalie DouglasBWW Feature: At Home With Natalie DouglasBWW Feature: At Home With Natalie DouglasPhotos provided by Natalie Douglas.


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From This Author Stephen Mosher