Artist Spotlight: Bat for Lashes

Artist Spotlight: Bat for Lashes

It’s hard not to be in awe of Natasha Kahn. Better known to most by her stage name, Bat for Lashes, Kahn is one of the standout female songwriters and artists of her generation. Now with three successful records behind her, she has a full songbook of smart, art-inflected pop music. 

The creation of Bat for Lashes first captured hearts way back in 2006 with a set of distinctively haunting and rich, darkly phantasmagoric songs ripe with magic realism. Her sensual and gilt-decorated dream world was opened up in two Mercury Music Prize nominated albums, the atavistic, reverb-drenched Fur and Gold (2006) and 2009’s more electronically poppyTwo Suns

As an individual it’s hard not to be charmed by her and she can be easily described as a breath of fresh air. Artistically, her songs are often inspired by nature, most notably the sea. In fact, though she now resides in London, her 2012 album The Haunted Man was recorded in her Brighton flat. 

The album, which earned her a British Female Solo Artist nomination at this year’s BRIT Awards can be argued as her strongest effort to date. The record can almost be described as a coming of age album, as Natasha has noted her struggles as an artist before creating the record. Lucky for us, the end result is probably the most honest, open and mature album we’ve heard from the multi-instrumental female soloist and shows us both her vulnerable and resilient qualities.

After rigorous touring in support of Two Suns, she was exhausted. “I felt quite drained and tired, creatively ,” Khan remembers, “so I decided to get back to this really domesticated existence in my flat in Brighton. I felt like I needed to be immersed in nature and have a quiet, reflective time.” That involved working on dance films, writing a script, children’s book illustrations, a spell of volunteer gardening at Charleston House in East Sussex (the Bloomsbury Group’s country retreat) and going back to Brighton University for some informal tutorials with her old art teacher and reading recommended books. One of these, ‘The Enchantment of Art’ provided a small epiphany and planted a seed of change in her approach to what was to become The Haunted Man.

Check out a feature track "Laura" off the album below.