Page last updated at 07:34 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 08:34 UK

Bedingfield gets a second chance

By Mark Savage
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Natasha Bedingfield
Bedingfield's hits include Unwritten, These Words and Soulmate
Pop music can be a tricky business.

Sometimes, a quirky haircut, the right dose of column inches and a mediocre song are enough to guarantee success.

At others, a lovingly crafted album can stall despite a top 10 single, positive reviews and a tour supporting Justin Timberlake.

That was the situation Natasha Bedingfield found herself in last summer when her second release, NB, dropped gracelessly out of the charts.

So when she left the UK to promote the album in the US, something needed to change.

And what changed was the album itself. All but six of NB's quirky girlpop anthems were jettisoned in favour of a bunch of new, R&B-flavoured songs.

It proved a successful tactic. Pocket Full Of Sunshine, as the album was re-christened, shot to number three in its first week on the charts, selling more than 50,000 copies.

I feel disappointed when I listen to music and it brings you down and feeds bitterness and anger
Natasha Bedingfield
But Bedingfield says her US record label never put any pressure on her to revamp the album.

"It wasn't a case of 'You have to record new stuff,'" she says.

"All last summer I was on tour with Justin Timberlake and wherever I could, I would try to write.

"By the time I came to releasing the album in the States, I had a lot of new songs I wanted to put on there. I didn't want to be stuck performing stuff from the year before."

There is no doubting the ambition of the 26-year-old Bedingfield.

Last year, she told the BBC it was her "big goal to be a global artist" and that America was "the final push".

And, as Pocket Full Of Sunshine racked up sales in the US, she scrapped a UK tour, explaining that her US label "insisted" she remained Stateside.

Natasha Bedingfield
The star's mother runs the children's charity Global Angels
While there, she has been able to observe the seemingly endless Presidential race, where Barack Obama has been using her single Unwritten in his campaign.

"Did they approach me? No, I think they just used it," she says.

"But I was very excited because I think he's very inspiring.

"A lot of people who don't normally vote have come out of hiding because of this guy who's bringing back hope."

Bedingfield's uplifting pop fitted in well with the Democratic hopeful's campaign.

Raised as a Christian, there is often a spiritual edge to her music, where the lyrics - while dealing with self-doubt and failed relationships - always contain a spark of hope.

"I feel disappointed when I listen to music and it brings you down and feeds bitterness and anger," she says.

"I'm a glass half full person. I'm honest about where I'm at, but I like to look out for a way out as well. No wallowing in self pity!"

Hidden art

Not that Bedingfield has the time to indulge in much soul searching these days.

Her promotional schedule is so hectic that she can barely remember coming back to the UK to spend Valentine's Day with her boyfriend.

"I don't remember... I wasn't in London for Valentine's, was I? Oh wait! Yes, I was!

"My boyfriend cooked me dinner - a salmon, which was delicious.

Natasha Bedingfield at the Concert for Diana
The singer performed at last year's Concert for Diana
"I know it sounds like a very ordinary thing, but it was very special for us because we're always in hotels!"

Hotel life has its advantages for a restless soul like Bedingfield - "I'm never there long enough to get bored" - and she has discovered a hidden world of art in the motels of America.

"There's a whole bunch of people that do hidden graffiti in hotel rooms," she enthuses.

"They take a picture away from a wall and draw something behind it, then they put it back so no-one in the hotel knows.

"It's like this underground art scene for business people. They're very serious in their lives, but they have a rebellious side - kind of like Fight Club.

"Have I ever been tempted? Oh yeah... but I'd probably run out of time to finish it."

With Pocket Full of Sunshine due for release in the UK this summer, Bedingfield is guaranteed to have more opportunities to become a bedroom Banksy.

Perhaps she should strike while the iron is hot. Pop can be a tricky business, after all.

Natasha Bedingfield's new single, Love Like This, is out in the UK now.


SEE ALSO
Bedingfield album in US top three
31 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Bedingfield reschedules UK tour
08 Aug 07 |  Entertainment
Bedingfield win at digital awards
03 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
Talking Shop: Natasha Bedingfield
27 Apr 07 |  Entertainment

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