by Dave Warner

Hudson Valley singer/songwriter Natalie Forteza and her bandmate Anthony Candullo, spent Sunday evening wowing the crowd at the Artdoor Gallery with a mix of original music and covers, blending things into their own unique niche.

Seth Rogovoy of Chronogram Magazine said, “she’s a commanding vocalist and songwriter of considerable impact. Obvious touchstones are Sade and Norah Jones, but I hear glimpses of Stevie Wonder, Astrud Gilberto, and Anita Baker as well.”

Forteza said, “Tonight is the culmination of a passionate conversation that Eli (Saifan) and I had had a couple of months ago. Just to share our arts. I’ve always been a fan of the visual arts. I said to him that it was on my wish list to play in a gallery and he said, why don’t you just do it here?”

She fell in love with the idea right away and felt that it would be a good way to support each other.

Forteza wanted to create an intimate experience for those who attended the event and doing it with just a duo, felt like the right thing to do to accomplish that. “Many times when you have the whole band you kind of get caught up in the quartet or trio ensemble. You are a lot more vulnerable when you’re a duo.”

She felt that Saifan’s large piece of artwork behind her was the perfect backdrop. “It’s one large piece, but it’s made up of small strokes. So I feel like these songs fit. Some are old, really old, and some are new and I think in rooms like this, it’s an opportunity to be vulnerable.”

Forteza has tried to make herself more vulnerable when it has come to her music and the performances that she has done lately. “As an artist, you always feel like you have to be ‘on’ and you have to be the finished product, instead of accepting yourself as a work in progress.”

“I love the fact that Eli told me today that he feels this painting is unfinished, and that’s not so different than what we are doing. Yes we might have finished writing a song, but songs take on a different life in different ensembles, so this is a really nice way to challenge myself,” she said.

Forteza said that she has really come to love the community over the last four years. “Everyone is so supportive and Eli has told me how receptive they’ve been of arts in the area, so I was really eager to do this.”

When asked about her career, she says that she feels blessed with how things are going. “It’s challenging because there is so much I can see in front of us that can happen. Artists are always looking for that next place you want to get to, so it’s very hard to appreciate where you are and what you’ve accomplished, she said.

“There are lots of things I want to see happen. I’m hoping to see big stages and different parts of the world and opening for big artists and other opportunities like this.”

You can find out more about her by visiting natalieforteza.com.

Photo by Dave Warner – Natalie Forteza’s bandmate Anthony Candullo, plays while accompanying her at the Artdoor Gallery, Sunday night.