If Natalie Morrison, PR strategist for D’Addario & Co., could see any musician play, alive or deceased, it would be Amy Winehouse. “I have such a love for her. She is one of my biggest musical influences,” she said.

The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why?

Natalie Morrison: I’m fortunate enough to have surrounded myself with some incredible mentors. If I had to choose, I have to say, my parents. I’ve learned a lot from my mother through her patience and passion when teaching music to elementary students, but she’s also shown me a love of music and how much of an impact it can have. I grew up in the music industry, thanks to my father. His drive and passion for music and arts education are truly remarkable, and I’m proud to have him guide me as I follow in his footsteps.

The Retailer: What was the best advice you ever received?

Morrison: I have two things that I try really hard to live by: Be ready for anything and never give up.

The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument?

Morrison: My parents introduced me to the piano when I was five. When fourth grade came around and all the students got to pick their instruments, I was dying to play the violin. I don’t know why, because no one in my family plays a string instrument. I switched to the viola when I was entering high school and went on to minor in music at Ithaca College. In my free time, I enjoy singing, and I’m a self-taught guitarist.

The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoy playing?

Morrison: I don’t think I can answer that because I love them all and enjoy playing them for different reasons. Unfortunately, due to an injury in high school, the viola has always been a bit more challenging to play. But there is nothing more beautiful than playing some of the greatest music in an orchestra, in some of the greatest concert halls around the world.

The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work?

Morrison: I love yoga, exploring the city I live in, visiting museums, attending concerts and Broadway shows, but most importantly, spending time with those who mean the most to me. Especially now, with COVID-19, I’m so grateful for the moments I have with my friends and family.

The Retailer: What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Morrison: Gosh, these questions are so hard to answer because I don’t have just one. In 2019, I got to see Sara Bareilles at the Bowery Ballroom — an intimate venue, but I got to see one of my favorite artists. That same year, I saw Carole King at the Global Citizen Festival, another favorite artist. “Tapestry” is one of my all-time favorite albums. But, if I had to pick one, I had the absolute honor to attend the 2016 Grammy Awards as a seat filler. I got to sit in the second row and watch artists from The Eagles, to Adele, to Kendrick Lamar and so many more.

The Retailer: If you could see any musician, alive or deceased, play a concert for one night, who would it be and why?

Morrison: Amy Winehouse. I have such a love for her. She is one of my biggest musical influences. I own multiple records and was gifted a book of photos of Amy taken by her best friend at the time. Fun fact: We happen to share the same birthday!

The Retailer: What musician are you hoping to see play in the near future (post-pandemic)?

Morrison: That’s a really tough question because there’s a lot, but honestly, I’d probably see a Broadway show before I see live music. I want to be in the audience for Broadway’s opening night post-COVID-19.

The Retailer: What song was most memorable for you throughout your childhood and what do you remember about it the most?

Morrison: I’m going to dig deep on this one. “Come and Sing” by Wallace Hornady. I sang this with a summer choir I participated in throughout middle school and high school, but the lyrics still live on: “People who make music together, cannot be enemies, cannot be enemies, at least while the music lasts. We are friends forever when we sing together. The whole world is better when we sing. So, let’s sing forever, hold our hands together,
make the whole world better. Come and sing.”

The Retailer: What are your favorite songs on your smartphone/iPod?

Morrison: Gosh, it always changes. Right now it’s one thing, and next week it’s something else. I can’t just pick a song, so my favorite artists range from Amy Winehouse, to Sara Bareilles, to Elton John, to Prince, to Carole King, to H.E.R. and so many more.

The Retailer: What’s the most fun thing you saw/did at a NAMM Show?

Morrison: I have so many amazing memories from NAMM, but the one that stands out the most is from my first show. I was interning with the NAMM PR team and was stationed at the Digital Hub. That year, Colbie Caillat had been honored at the She Rocks Awards. I happen to be a big fan of her music. My colleague at the time knew Colbie was going to be interviewed by a radio station in front of where we were sitting, but didn’t want to tell me because she wanted to see how I would react. Colbie walked right past me, and I almost cried.

The Retailer: Tell us about your most memorable experience with an MI retailer (without naming them).

Morrison: I spent many summers repairing violins and violas for the rental season at my local music store, and I have to say, I have some of the funniest memories. To this day, it still blows my mind what students do to their instruments. However, the music shop’s No. 1 priority is their customers and making sure their students get the best instruments for the school year.

The Retailer: What is the best thing about the MI industry?

Morrison: The people. I have never felt more at home than I do working in this industry. Everyone is incredibly passionate about the work they do, and we all have the same common love for music.

The Retailer: Who do you admire most outside of the music industry and why?

Morrison: I admire anyone who works to make the world a better place. We are living in historic times right now, and some incredible people are devoting their time to leaving an impact on the world.

The Retailer: Tell us about your hometown and why you enjoy living there.

Morrison: I grew up in a suburb outside New York City, but I currently live in Manhattan. I grew up traveling to the city to explore and immerse myself in the culture. I’ve lived in other cities, but New York will always be home.

The Retailer: What’s your favorite book and why?

Morrison: My all-time favorite book is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” The 1920s brought an element of mystery, style and glamour, and I’ve always been enamored by it. “The Great Gatsby” takes you out of reality for a little, and I could never get tired of that story. I’m not going to lie: I did very much enjoy the movie adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio.

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