Photos by Elliot Bergman, Art by Ikhoor
Today, Natalie Bergman and Beck channel their close friendship into a brand new collaboration, joining forces to release a cover of Lion’s “You’ve Got a Woman,” as well as a remix of Bergman’s own “Paint The Rain.” While their joint take on Lion’s psych-soul gem is at once longing and languid, Beck reconstructs the hypnotic haze of “Paint The Rain,” turning the highlight of Bergman’s album Mercy into a simmering dirge of distorted guitar and churning power chords that erupt with each chorus.
Natalie Bergman and Beck first met when her band Wild Belle opened for him and Cage The Elephant on 2019’s Night Running tour. They formed the basis of a creative kinship that continued as Bergman began to cope with the loss of her father and stepmother, a tragic accident that led to the spiritual and solitary journey of self-producing her first-ever solo album, Mercy (out now on Third Man Records). By the time the two artists reconnected again, months following the arrival of the pandemic, Natalie Bergman had finished writing the music. During a trip to the beach she played one of the songs for him, with just a small guitar against the sunset, and Beck remembers:
“She asked me to sing it with her on the album but unfortunately I never made it to the studio in time. Soon after she emerged with a record which does the difficult job of translating one’s life and the world in its darkest hour into song. To navigate those experiences and emotions and translate them into songs that can be sung and felt is much more difficult and fraught than one can imagine. To overcome despair and rework it into a thing of beauty takes a kind of strength. As I hear songs created as the world was coming apart and in the aftermath of loss it seems to be even more miraculous when you consider its redemptive quality which even comforts and uplifts, like the gospel music that inspired many of the songs. Where Art making and healing intersect, there’s a particular sense of transcending. She has gone into the wilderness of that moment and painted the rain, invoked a kind of hope that is hard earned and offered a sense of healing, even finding there is still a joy in the world.” - Beck
Beck subsequently made a cameo in Natalie Bergman’s music video for “Home At Last,” and on their work together Natalie Bergman says:
“Two summers ago I got to spend some time on the road with Beck. He invited me to join him on stage every night to sing along with him. It was a highlight of my career. He has always fostered a spirit of collaboration through music. Getting to work alongside him is a dream. He’s a visionary, and a true-blue friend. ‘You’ve Got A Woman’ is your new favorite summer jam!” - Natalie Bergman
As a member of Wild Belle, Natalie Bergman has also shared stages and collaborated with the likes of Elvis Costello, Major Lazer, Tom Tom Club, Toro y Moi and more, but this fall she will bring the music of Mercy on her debut solo tour. In addition to appearances at Ohana Festival and Pitchfork Music Festival London, Bergman and her band will headline shows across Europe and the UK, with more to be announced soon. Find the full list of performances below and tickets here, and check out a dub rendition of “Paint The Rain” recently remixed by Pachyman here.
Photo by Alina (@sadqn)
Natalie Bergman 2021 Tour Dates
9/25 - Dana Point, CA - Ohana Festival
11/3 - Copenhagen, DK - Ideal Bar, Vega
11/5 - Aarhus, DK - Atlas
11/6 - Groningen, NL - Take Root
11/7 - Utrecht, NL - TivoliVredenburg (Club9)
11/9 - Bristol, UK - Rough Trade Bristol
11/10 - Manchester, UK - St. Michael's
11/11 - London, UK - Pitchfork Festival
11/14 - Lille, FR - Le Kiosk*
11/15 - Paris, FR - Les Femmes S'en Melent
11/16 - La Rochelle, FR - La Sirene*
11/17 - Nantes, FR - Stereolux*
11/18 - Rouen, FR - 106
11/20 - Besançon, FR - La Rodia
11/21 - Clermont-Ferrand, FR - La Cooperative de Mai
11/25 - Vienna, AT - Bluebird Festival*
11/26 - Graz, AT - Autumn Leaves Festival*
11/27 - Milan, IT - Arci Bellezza
11/29 - Berlin, DE - Badehaus
*On Sale Soon
Praise for Mercy
"A stunning gospel album as focused on faith as it is on love...delivering swaying choruses for believers and non-believers"
"Otherworldly...an example of the power of art to transform pain into something positive, even celebratory"
"This beautiful set of songs draws on her utterly hypnotizing view of gospel, one that is hazy, delirious, and glowing in the soul...a simultaneously peaceful and surreal experience"
"Step inside Natalie Bergman's land of milk and honey, a place where there's more than enough salvation to go around"
"A conceptual album, filled with hymn-like songs about the fragility and resilience of this experiment we call life"
"A moving tour-de-force, a modern gospel journey infused with exquisite melodies, a touch of psychedelia, and a lot of soul"
"Powerful enough to turn even the staunchest of atheists toward the light"
"A remarkable act of spiritual resilience"
"Bergman's off-beam voice hits the same indefinable receptors as Joanna Newsom or Amy Winehouse"
"While Mercy began as a desperate prayer, the end result sounds like salvation"
"One of the year's best albums...as revelatory as anything Paul saw on the road to Damascus"
"For once, modern songs about faith feel experimental and personable. What she has done to create her own form of worship music is truly groundbreaking"
"[Bergman] has tapped into a deep well of creativity...the kind of authoritative and transformative power that can only come from reaching the final stage of grief"
"Her conviction allows her to find rainbows through her tears...Bergman's beliefs stimulate her music, but her debut album inspires whether one is a Christian or not"