Below is an article my wife wrote that was published this past Friday! It was written at the end of 2015 and is a little out of date. In addition to the story below, she is now performing alongside me with The Redlines this Summer, and we just returned from two back-toback shows in Ft. Lauderdale, FL during Shark Week!
Natalie always gives 100% in her playing and keeps growing as a musician with every new opportunity. I hope you all enjoy this article. I feel it's very inspiring to any musician.
My name is Natalie Belin. I'm 31 years old and have been a drummer most of my life. I started taking
lessons on the snare in the 5th grade, followed by the drum kit in my early 20’s. Now I have a passion to play different types of percussion. I really enjoy experimenting with different sounds & rhythms associated with each instrument.
Most aspects of my life can be very unpredictable at times. I plan to make things happen the way I envision, but it often derails causing me to take a different direction. When I am forced to an alternate route it's frustrating at first…but often all works out! In my mind it’s another piece of the puzzle to why I am here on earth. During these times of craziness, drumming has always found a way into my life.
My stepdad, Stephen Dunn, has been a music fan since he was a little kid. His instrument of choice has been the bass guitar since the mid / late 70’s. He was one of the first people in my life who took the time to educate me in music. When I was younger he would always try to introduce me to music he was listening to at the time. Often it was blues, and sometimes it was rock. I remember around the time I started learning how to play my drum kit Steve started playing in a band called The Blue. At times the band members would encourage me by saying they could tell “I have heart”, or they would take the time to show me different things to play. They would always encourage me to “keep practicing”. I remember on a few occasions the band would allow me to jam with them on stage. I was so nervous, but excited at the same time! When it comes to music, my personal opinion about my stepdad is that he really doesn’t have an off-switch. It’s always "music, music, music". I recently asked “why he didn’t become a famous bass player?” his response was “it’s not always about becoming famous. Sometimes you have to just do it for the music”. Another good piece of advice Steve told me was “you are never too old to play an instrument”.
My husband, Christopher Belin, is a musician. Chris has been playing the drums since he was 2 years old and is the sole proprietor of Chris Belin’s <Traveling> Drum School, in addition to being a professional freelance drummer. The fact that both of us play some form of percussion definitely helps our relationship more than anything. Sometimes I have to laugh because I know I surprise him with the things I notice. For example, we were at a concert and I said “is that guy playing the cowbell on the offbeat?” Chris stopped and listened for a second, and he responded by saying “yea, he is” keep in mind Chris had been impressed, but he had a shocked look on his face.
The first show Chris and I played together was this past spring. The show was a Nancy Guthrie Conference held at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. There were approximately 400 women present for this conference. Chris was playing hand drums (Congas and Cajon). I played conga, tambourine and a shaker. Ever since that show it has been very busy for us.
Chris and I now play in a band called Steeltown Religion, which is a country / classic rock band. Chris will play a full kit while I play a variety of shakers, tambourines, and a slap stick. They just released a new album titled "Florida Rain" on iTunes & disc. I'm very excited to play these songs live because it will give me an opportunity to hopefully bring some new percussion into the mix. The band also breaks down into smaller units, playing acoustic sets, where I play a bigger variety of percussion.
Steve, Chris and I are also in a band called The Ben Flint Band. They are currently a cover band that plays a variety of really good music. For this particular group, I will play tambourine or a variety of shakers on a few songs. I hope to play some hand drums for Ben Flint in the near future....just to stir the pot a little!
Also, I had the opportunity to play with The New Mingle, an instrumental duo with Chris and his close musical comrade Matt Calvetti, this past September for an event in Pittsburgh called Run around the Square. Their music is jam based and often improvisational.
Each band that I have had the opportunity to play in is different in dynamic which has helped me grow as an artist. Each member of the bands that I play in I consider a coach because they give me great advice which leads me to make good decisions in playing the types of percussion that I do.
There is one particular artist that I hope to work with in the near future. Her name is Christiane D. Her music is so fresh and diverse. Every musician she has in that band brings something to the table. The things that Christiane has done for the arts and what she has accomplished are incredible. With Christiane’s music being so diverse I know I would be able to bring in some fun and funky percussion. My fingers are crossed.
“Music expresses that which words cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”. – Victor Hugo
Victor, I totally understand what you mean by that quote. People may see me as just a percussionist; however, I help the band stay in time. I also add fullness. My goal is to inspire other woman to play percussion. When people are at a venue that I am playing I want to give the crowd a night to remember! I want my percussion sound to be fresh and shocking, but not overdone.
Natalie Belin holds an Associate's degree in Specialized Technology Le Cordon Bleu Pastry Arts. Natalie is a part-time percussionist and loves the arts and adventure!