Natalie Gelman: Soulful Music Tells Tales of Life

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 29, 2010

By Sarah R. Schwartz ’10

The Student Programming Board (SPB) hosted musical artists Rudy Currence and Natalie Gelman on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The mood of the intimate crowd that gathered reflected the soulful music.

Opening performer Natalie Gelman was the surprise hit of the evening. The soft-spoken artist intermixed her songs with short tales of her experiences on tour, engaging the audience in a profound musical experience.

The former opera major turned singer-songwriter would have graduated at the age of 19. Unfortunately her professors deliberated that she wasn’t ready for the “real world.” As a result, Gelman decided to experience the world on her own.

Catching up with Gelman during the set change, she explained her current artistic mission. “The road really makes songs have more meaning to them.” She adds, “I think you have to have a message as an artist; otherwise there’s really no reason to do it.”

She prefaces her original song “Poor Man’s House” by saying, “You can’t take it with you. Go out and experience life.” The service-oriented song is based on what she witnessed in New Orleans more than five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. Gelman notes the persistent inability for families of the area to rebuild their homes and recover financially.

She adds, “I also put a lot in that song of the importance of being willing to love other people, to volunteer, or to simply communicate. In college it’s so easy to ignore the real world so it’s good to get off campus and experience life.” Not surprisingly Gelman noted that she is enthralled by Arcadia University’s distinctively global, integrative, and personal learning experience.

The coffeehouse event also featured Rudy Currence, a well-known singer-songwriter. His musical style is reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder with a delightful contemporary edge.

Currence has been honored as one of the recipients of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) writer’s award in 2005, 2006 and 2007. His original songs have been featured in blockbusters including The Bourne Identity and he has also written songs for multi-platinum recording artist Mya.

In addition to his innovative yet classic originals, Currence’s performance featured popular cover songs including a truly stunning rendition of “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The SPB event proved to be a perfect way to keep energy high and spirits up mid-week.