Nathaniel Willemse (singer)

March 18, 2017

You know him as a finalist on The X Factor and the soul singer who has dominated the pop charts. Nathaniel, as he’s known, tells Jessica Morris why his latest single ‘Vapours’ signals a new season in his career.



‘Vapours’ has an edgy, new sound compared to previous hits like ‘You’ and ‘Live Louder’. What inspired the song?

I wrote this song in LA with Grammy- nominated producers FRESHM3N III. I wanted to write something that’s really edgy; really pushing the boundaries and a little bit rebellious as well, and ‘Vapours’ was born.


People know you as a clean-cut pop star. How does ‘Vapours’ show your growth as an artist? 

The whole process in making and creating music should be as natural as possible. I try not to pigeonhole myself too much in terms of doing a certain genre. For this particular song I went back to the whole RnB, urban sound. It has a certain Middle Eastern spice to it, and I rolled with it and was like, “This is really different and unique, let’s keep going with it”. 


What is the most difficult aspect of re­branding yourself after your time on The X Factor and with a major record label?
It’s tough being on your own, that’s for sure. It’s definitely been something that I’ve had to adapt to and really understand. It’s a different world, you know? Right now I’m sort of sailing my own ship and I’ve put my own team together, so to speak.


What roles did faith and family play in developing your love for music?
I grew up in church and still go to church as much as I can. I was in a choir when I was growing up, but aside from that my dad’s brothers all used to sing and play instruments at family gatherings. That was a big influence when I was a young kid. 


How does faith impact your life now?
It’s amazing. It’s huge. It definitely gives me a certain way of thinking and going about things as well. Before I go on stage I pray. And before I write a song, I still try and pray just to make sure the outcome is as successful as possible.


What message do you want people to take away from your music?
The biggest message behind it is love. A lot of my songs are about something I’ve gone through or some inspiration for you to have a think about, like the song ‘Live Louder’ I released a couple of years ago, to let loose and let go. Be yourself, that sort of stuff.


What does the future look like for you? 
I’ve got a potential album in the works, I’m travelling again this year around the globe to write some more music and work with different producers and songwriters and stuff like that. So definitely still heading in what I call the ‘world take over [direction]’!


Nathaniel’s new single ‘Vapours’ is available on iTunes now.


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