Although she can seem larger than life onstage, offstage she’s as down home and as easygoing as can be. One-on-one sincerity and a contagious personality just come naturally to this small-town girl from Columbia, Tennessee. Make no mistake though, as soon as you put her in front of an audience, something spontaneous, mesmerizing and explosive happens.
Natalie has been playing professionally since she was 10 and performed everywhere from the White House to the Oprah Winfrey Show. “I started violin lessons at the age of four after my granny saw an ad in the Columbia paper for a new violin teacher in town” says Natalie. “Looking back, I’m not even sure if I really knew what I was getting into. I think I just knew it involved me being onstage and that’s all I needed.”
Natalie’s musical influences might span from the high-energy shows of Shania Twain and Garth Brooks to legends Michael Jackson and Aerosmith, but her country roots run deep. “Growing up performing at Opryland, I was always around the Grand Ole Opry and following all the country stars … I spent hours dreaming of being on that stage, ” says Natalie. At the age of 12, her dream came true when she made her Grand Ole Opry debut.
“It’s funny when people ask me if my music is country,” Natalie smiles, “I grew up in Columbia, Tennessee playing fiddle at Opryland every day, but at the same time I was a child of the radio. Once I put my fiddle down for the day, I was just as likely to be listening to Michael Jackson or Aerosmith as I was to Reba or Faith Hill. I’m sure my music reflects that, that’s who I am.”
The Drive’s seven–year journey has been forged like fine steel with the durable attributes of family values and hard work. Performing over 200 dates a year, they were named Entertainers of the Year in 2012 by Campus Activities Magazine and returned this summer from the Middle East on one of their many Navy Entertainment Tours in support of our troops across the globe.
Led by multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Natalie Stovall, The Drive includes drummer James Bavendam from Seattle, Chile’s Miguel Cancino on guitar, Zach Morse from Cheyenne, Wyoming on bass and vocals and Redding, California guitarist and vocalist Joel Dormer.
“I’ve been touring and playing shows with different musicians most of my life,” laughs Natalie. “But something different started to happen when the five of us got together in 2006. It wasn’t magic overnight but we all knew there was something special there. So we kept touring, kept playing, kept working and refining our live show until we felt we were getting it right.”
So what will success look like for the band?’ “We are already successful. We’ve been living our dream for a while and now its time to see how far it can go,” she confides.
“I want people to know it’s possible to follow your dreams,” adds Natalie. “The path isn’t always easy but honestly, it shouldn’t be. If you surround yourself with the right people, even the hardest days can be a lot of fun. Someday I hope to sell out arenas with my band, performing music we are proud to play. There is no better high than when the band is on and they’re reaching for that place between music and magic and we have a crowd in front of us willing to take that ride. That is musical heaven.”