Natalia Shep­pard

Sunday Star-Times - - ESCAPE -

Natalia Shep­pard, aka Tali or MC Tali, is one of the pioneers of New Zealand drum and bass: so it was a given that when the 90-piece Auck­land Sym­phony Or­ches­tra de­cided to cel­e­brate elec­tronic dance mu­sic in a one-off show, she would be top of the guest list in terms of col­lab­o­ra­tors. In­ter­view:

Mike Alexan­der.

I don’t think there’s such a thing as per­fect hap­pi­ness – per­fec­tion in life isn’t re­ally pos­si­ble and hap­pi­ness is fleet­ing. But I cer­tainly think there are mo­ments where you can reach some­thing pretty close to that – more like mo­ments of ab­so­lute seren­ity. For me, that of­ten in­volves that mo­ment when you first wake up, you’re all cosy in bed, snug­gled next to the one you love and re­al­is­ing there’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing to get up for. I would also rate that up there with ly­ing on a beach re­cliner un­der a sun umbrella in some far-flung coun­try, look­ing out to­wards crys­tal clear wa­ter and drift­ing off to the sound of the waves ca­ress­ing the sand.

Which liv­ing per­son do you most ad­mire?

Ooh, this is tricky be­cause there are a few but I will nar­row it down to Sir David At­ten­bor­ough be­cause he just epit­o­mises knowl­edge, grace and com­pas­sion for our planet and the an­i­mals and plants that in­habit it. He re­ally gives a damn, which is so ad­mirable. I also re­ally love and ad­mire Grace Jones. She is an in­cred­i­bly strong and self-as­sured woman, sexy and con­fi­dent, with style and tal­ent in abun­dance.

If you could go back in time, what part of his­tory fas­ci­nates you the most?

I love the fash­ion and party vibe of the 1920s and 30s but, of course, this was also the era of Pro­hi­bi­tion and the Great De­pres­sion, so I’m not sure it would have been as fun as the movies of­ten de­pict. I do wish I could have been a young adult in New York at the birth of hip-hop cul­ture in the late 1980s, early 90s. All the dope fash­ion, There are plenty of lessons that I have gained through­out my life and many I am still col­lect­ing. One of my most im­por­tant lessons though, is learn­ing to iden­tify when my ego is try­ing to take over a sit­u­a­tion, try­ing to whis­per those neg­a­tive words into my ear and make me re­act. I have learned to ac­knowl­edge those voices and then ig­nore them – for the most part, any­way. An­other great piece of ad­vice is – ’’It is not about the ac­tion but your re­ac­tion that ul­ti­mately de­fines the out­come of a sit­u­a­tion’’. My best friend taught me that and it is ad­vice I have cher­ished since the day she told me.

What job would you do other than your own, and why?

Prob­a­bly some­thing to do with the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of an­i­mals. I still want to do some­thing like this. I think it will be a di­rec­tion I take maybe when I am much older and have more time on my hands to de­vote to the cause. I also fan­ta­sise about a ca­reer as a per­fumer – I have a re­ally good nose for scent and what I think suits and doesn’t suit peo­ple. Un­for­tu­nately, I don’t have a chemist’s brain for such a job – so it will for­ever re­main a fan­tasy! Syn­thony – A Gen­er­a­tion of Dance Mu­sic,

Auck­land Town Hall, Septem­ber 30.

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