How do you fit the immense talents and creativity of one person into a box? You don’t. And this is why A-natural has enjoyed such an extensive career as a singer, songwriter, producer, vocal arranger, and now executive.
From his humble beginnings growing up in a musical household and throughout his career, A-natural (born James Aaron Foster) has built a legacy of inspiration and answered the divine calling of musical responsibility through gospel, R&B, pop, soul, classical, hip hop, and rock. As a producer, his countless hours of studio time with a myriad of artists have made him the “go-to” for the Natural City Music, Inc. sound which he’s become known for: lush harmonies, impactful songwriting, unique production, and unmatched vocal stamina. As an artist, A-natural continues to break genre barriers and amplify his voice with a tenure of vulnerable and thought-provoking songs that entertain just as much as they change lives.
A-natural marks the start of his artist journey surprisingly in the middle of his career. After several years as a strict gospel artist and producer under the Beat Switch Productions moniker, and a tumultuous tenure as the sole producer of the now defunct BlockStars Production Studios, A-natural found his way out of New Jersey and into the Atlanta music scene working with the likes of Ray Daniels, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, and Polow Da Don. This would inspire him to begin a new chapter of his life as an artist with the release of his first official NCM release 2014’s I WRITE SONGS NOW, VOL. 1. The simple yet startling departure from his early sounds would then catch the attention of singer and actor Tristan “Mack” Wilds would then recruit A-natural as a vocal producer and co-writer on his 2017 release After Hours.
To follow this successful pairing, A-natural then released his first full-length R&B album The Chronicles of an Over-Ambitious Fat-Boy, a dedication to not just his personal confidence as an atypical artist, but also to his late friend, mentor, and fellow writer and producer Jonathan “Jerz” Boyd, who inspired A-natural to embrace the beast of an artist he was inside. Doubling down on the love received for the album, A-natural created #COAOAFB2, a companion EP to the original album that would go on to receive two Independent Music Awards as well as an opening spot for T-Pain at a Connecticut music festival where thousands of new A-natural fans were born.
As with most people in 2020, a state of fear and confusion would blanket most plans and ambitions. The release of The Ascension of A-natural, his most ambitious album to date, would be hampered by the global pandemic. And while this album, complete with high-end production from Grammy winning producer Focus…, highlighted features from artists such as Robbie Nova, Kingsley Feddi, and DanO, and slick visuals helmed by Richard “Parlay” Copier, became his most well-received project, not having full capabilities to promote it in a closed and quarantined world would bring the album’s run to an expected end.
However, in this siloed state, inspiration never stopped. A-natural worked on several passion projects in the interim including two uplifting singles “something happy” and “The Only Thing We Need”, a duet with his best friend and lifelong collaborator Lenny Harold. These singles paved the way for a return to his gospel roots with the inspirational Conversations With God EP, solely produced by Quan “Quan Boi” Askew.
Then, to close out the year, A-natural seemed to make a shift with his content. Influenced by an HBO series that drudged up a long repressed memory of sexual assault, he embarked on the most revealing project of his career, KWAMÉ, a concept album that delved into the topics of sexual consent (and the lack thereof), self-confidence in relationships, acceptance of self, and also the Black Lives Matter struggle. The topics of these songs would resonate with so many resulting in loads of messages of admission, support, and most importantly, confessions of suicidal thoughts and plans being averted after listening to the album.
After two years of building the Natural City Music, Inc. label by cultivating artists such as Lauren Ashley, Seychelle Elise, Lenny Harold and more, A-natural is ready to return with a new body of work, The Love Experiment. The album sees him at his full creative best not only vocally and lyrically, but also production-wise after finding new confidence in his unique production style after collaborating again with Lenny Harold on his most recent release WARRIOR. The Love Experiment details the ups and downs of a whirlwind romance that A-natural experienced over 2021 and 2022. Written almost in real-time with the relationship, we see the artist point to every facet of his musical influence as he experiments with R&B, pop, hip-hop, house, and even drill music. Due this fall, we can expect a new energy from A-natural along with new ways of consuming the music where he controls its delivery and takes control away from the algorithms that be.
Looking forward, A-natural hopes to continue to build upon his legacy of creativity with new projects, new artists, and more endeavors to enhance the Natural City Music brand. Avoiding all boxes and restraints, his hope is to create a new world of music that extends far beyond expectations but still meets listeners right where they are.