Listen Live  
Radio Free - radiofree.org
Radio Free never takes money from corporations, keeping our focus on people, not profits. Radio Free is an independent, free news organization headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. We are currently in need of community volunteers to help cover local politics. To learn more and get involved, please visit radiofree.org.

Feb. 25, 2019 | Joshua Bote — Full disclosure: We here at NPR Music have decreed Natalie Prass something of a patron saint for roséwave — our groove-laden, pink drink-soaked soundtrack for the summer. So, when the Richmond, Va. artist arrived at the Tiny Desk, it was a cause for celebration, especially amid the January blues that seemed to permeate the NPR Music office. Decked out in matching, cobalt blue outfits (with a matching keyboard stand to boot), Prass and her backing band, comprised of Eric Slick, Alan Parker, Jacob Ungerleider and Brandon Lane, seemed to bring a warm breeze in with them.

There’s a sly political bent to Prass’ 2018 album, The Future and the Past. Ahead of its release, she said she actually had a different album nearly finished, but scrapped a huge chunk of it after Donald Trump’s election, which in turn led her to make this album instead. She highlights this mission statement on the album opener — and first song she performed at the desk — “Oh My.” It’s a track that speaks pointedly about the abject feeling of horror and exhaustion that seeps in when you tune into the news cycle, with bleak lyrics set against bright, dance-y music.

For the unabashedly delightful “Short Court Style,” Prass brings on Angelica Garcia and Kenneka Cook, two backup singers who, like Prass, are from Richmond. It’s a rare kind of song that celebrates hard-won love in all its intricacies.

Before closing with “Hot for the Mountain,” Prass tells the NPR office that “the song’s a little off the beaten path, but, I don’t know, it’s my favorite.” “We’ll take you on / We can take you on,” Prass, Garcia and Cook sing in unison, a refrain that resounds emphatically. Her vision was clear: If you want to overcome the times, find strength in numbers.

Set List
“Oh My”
“Short Court Style”
“Hot For the Mountain”

Musicians
Natalie Prass: vocals, keys; Eric Slick: drums; Alan Parker: guitar; Jacob Ungerleider: keys; Brandon Lane: bass; Angelica Garcia: vocals; Kenneka Cook: vocals

Credits
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kimani Oletu, Beck Harlan, CJ Riculan; Editor: Kimani Oletu; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Adelaide Sandstrom; Photo: Amr Alfiky/NPR