Natalia Noemi Sinclair (née Keery-Fisher; born 15 August 1986), known by her stage name Natalia Kills, is an English singer and actress. She was born, and raised for part of her early life, in Bradford, and studied at the Bradford Girls' Grammar School before briefly attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She withdrew from LAMDA to focus on her musical career. In 2008, record executive and producer will.i.am signed her to his label will.i.am Music Group, an imprint of Interscope Records.
Kills released her debut album, Perfectionist, in 2011, and her second album, Trouble, in September 2013. In 2014, she married boyfriend Willy Moon, who is also a singer on the same label. In 2015 the couple were featured as judges on the second season of the New Zealand version] of The X Factor, but after the season's first live show they were fired after their scathing remarks towards a contestant were deemed as unacceptable by broadcaster ITV3. As of July 2015, she is now formally known as Teddy Sinclair.
Life and career
1986–2010: Early life and career beginnings
Kills was born Natalia Noemi Keery-Fisher in Bradford, West Yorkshire, to a British father of Afro-Jamaican heritage and a Uruguayan mother, and attended Bradford Girls' Grammar School. Her family left Bradford when she was a child and she spent her early years travelling between England, Jamaica and Spain.
Acting professionally since the age of nine, she attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, studying classical drama. She ran away from home when she was 14 and shifted her focus away from acting. She has described her teenage years as "degenerate," stating that she tried to set her ex-boyfriend's house on fire while both were in it. She had frequent legal trouble and periodically experienced suicidal depression. She was also briefly involved with a religious cult.
Her acting debut was in New Voices. She had a regular role as Sima on the TV sitcom All About Me and as Amy Franks in the BBC's radio drama The Archers. She began writing songs at 14. After finishing with The Archers in 2003, She began pursuing a music career and had a significant breakthrough as "Candy Rapper" in 2003, when she won a BBC Radio 1 MC Battle in Leeds. She signed to the UK record company Adventures in Music and released her first single "Don't Play Nice" under the name Verbalicious in February 2005. Kills told W that her childhood nickname from her mother was "Verbal" because she talked and sang a lot. She adopted the name and variations of it as her stage name at some points during her career.
In 2007, while writing music for films, she posted Womannequin, a demo she produced and wrote under the name Natalia Cappuccini, to MySpace. The EP received 2 million plays on the website, and she reached the top of the unsigned artists chart. During this time, using the name Verse, she also co-wrote and appeared on "They Talk Shit About Me" by French recording artist M. Pokora and met Guillaume Doubet, who would go on to direct many of her videos, in Paris. Kills moved to Los Angeles in 2008. Arriving without money or a place to live, Kills "lived out of these motels, bumming around, trying to work with or make songs with anyone who would have me for a couple of hours in the studio". At the time she says she did awful things adding "I was just trying to survive and I was too young to know better." While in L.A., a DJ introduced her to will.i.am after hearing her demo and learning that she did not have a record deal. In January 2009, will.i.am signed her to his record label, will.i.am Music Group. "We had a really good creative chemistry," she said in a 2011 Billboard interview.
2010–14: Perfectionist, Trouble and marriage
Kills adopted the stage name Natalia Kills from the interjection "you killed it!", after her record company advised her that her legal name, "Natalia Cappuccini", was "indescribable." Kills released her debut album Perfectionist in Germany in April 2011 following the release of her first single, "Mirrors", which hit the German Top 10. The album was described as a concept album by Kills, claiming that everybody is a perfectionist. The album was accompanied by four singles, "Mirrors", "Wonderland", "Free" and "Kill My Boyfriend". Through 2010 and 2011 Kills opened for Kelis, Robyn, Kesha, Katy Perry and the Black Eyed Peas over various tours. Two tracks from Perfectionist, "Free" feat. will.i.am, and "Mirrors," hit the Top 10 in Europe and achieved sales of over 750,000. Kills was featured in LMFAO's single, "Champagne Showers," and in Junior Caldera's single "Lights Out (Go Crazy)".
On 14 September 2012, Kills unveiled the video for "Controversy" to start promotion of her second studio album, Trouble. The album was centered on her troubled childhood. Kills attended an after-party for the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, held on 25 August 2013 in Brooklyn, New York City, where she performed various songs from Trouble. Two days later, "Outta Time" was released as the album's second promotional recording free of charge in a Polydor Records newsletter, coinciding with the US release of Trouble. Trouble was officially released on 3 September 2013 as a digital download in the United States and Canada.
On 10 April 2014, American singer-songwriter Madonna shared pictures online showing her along with Kills and Martin Kierszenbaum in a recording studio. On the same day, fashion editor Alex Catarinella officially declared to BlackBook magazine that Kills would be married to Willy Moon on 23 May, in New York City. During an interview she gave to New Zealand-edited fashion magazine Black, Kills said she had just moved in with Moon and that she had been recording a few songs. On 31 May 2014, she was invited to charity event Life Ball, which took place in Vienna, Austria, mostly for a live performance kicking off the event, and a concert. On 29 June, she made an appearance at the Minneapolis gay pride festival, where she appeared on stage dressed as a bride. In mid-October 2014, while interviewed for Paper Magazine, she confirmed the future release of new material.
2015: The X Factor
Kills and husband Willy Moon were featured as judges and mentors on season 2 of the New Zealand version of The X Factor. They were the mentors of the Boys and Groups categories respectively. During the first live show, in a highly-publicized scandal, the two made scathing remarks towards contestant Joe Irvine. Kills described Irvine as a doppelganger over his alleged copying of Moon's hairstyle and dress sense, deeming him a "laughing stock", overtly "cheesy" and "disgusting", while Moon likened Irvine to fictional killer Norman Bates. The comments led to widespread condemnation on social media, including a petition to have Kills fired from the show, which reportedly received over 70,000 signatures within 24 hours. The show's sponsors, franchise owner and judges Melanie Blatt and Stan Walker also voiced disapproval of the incident, and Moon and Kills were both fired from the show the next day. Kills was replaced by Natalie Bassingthwaighte, a former judge on the Australian version of the show, while Moon was replaced by Shelton Woolright.
After departing The X Factor, it was revealed in the media that Kills had parted ways with her record label, Cherrytree Records, shortly before appearing on the show. Kills confirmed to Billboard that she was no longer with Cherrytree Records, but that she was still with Interscope Records.
Style and influences
Kills has mentioned Kate Bush and Alanis Morissette as her most important musical influences, describing them as emotional artists "who write honestly about their opinions and experiences." The singer also stated she considered Gwen Stefani, who is a musical and stylistic inspiration, as her "hero", adding that Prince, Vanity 6, and Freddie Mercury have already inspired her during live performances. Kills explores music that is both confessional and bold when looking for inspiration, she reveals: "I don't listen to music to let go, I listen to dive in", listing Hole, Marilyn Manson, and Eminem among her favorite artists and bands with whom she grew up. According to Jon O'Brien of AllMusic, Kills gradually composed a musical tone incorporating "the theatrical dance-pop of Lady Gaga, 1940s film noir, and the electro-gloom of Depeche Mode."
Kills claims to be influenced by her own experiences. She is also inspired by cinema when composing songs. In this regard, she said during an interview for MKR Magazine:
I'm a huge fan of Stanley Cooper, Tarantino, Gaspar Noé, and Stanley Kubrick. I love anything that's beautiful and disturbing and horrifying and gorgeous at the same time. I do get inspired, definitely. I don't listen to a lot of music except my own, but I definitely like music a lot.
Aesthetically, she explained in an interview during a Christian Lacroix exhibition in Paris on March 2011 that she didn't follow fashion but the dress style is a "visual expression of who we are, our identity, and how we feel at the present moment." She added that she has always liked to wear black or leather clothes and that it's an "expression of who I am" and that it's "more important to have a style for this reason rather than follow a fashion that is not necessarily us, and that changes every three months." Kills concluded by stating that she favors "aggressive and feminine" clothes, and that she likes to define her style as "feminine brutality", thinking that leather brings a "hard and soft style at the same time."
|1995||New Voices||Pearl||Episode: "The Treasure of Zavimbi"|
|2002–04||All About Me||Sima||Main cast|
|2003||Casualty||Samina Khan||Episode: "Stuck in the Middle with You"|
|2003||Coronation Street||Laura Mangen||2 episodes|
|2004||Doctors||Hazel Perry||Episode: "A Decisive Moment"|
|2004||Blue Murder||Anisa Khan||Episode: "Fragile Relations"|
|2005||No Angels||Sujata||Series 2, episode 7|
|2006||Silent Witnes||Kelly Wetherby||Episode: "Supernova: Part 1"|
|2006||Tripping Over||Julie||2 episodes|
|2007||Cape Wrath||Kerry||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2015||The X Factor - New Zealand||Herself||Series 2 judge; 1 episode|
|2010||Love, Kills xx||Herself||Web series; 10 episodes|