Born Alexander Akiloe Philip Modiano in 1983 in San Francisco, California, Natty moved to London with his family at the age of one, and was educated at Highgate School. His musical eclecticism of today reflects the differing tastes of his parents. His white father, being English of Italian descent, loved the classic folk music of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. His mother is black from Southern Africa – was very into Motown, Al Green, sixties Jamaican music and afro-beat. Having started writing songs at an early age, he eventually found himself working in a London recording studio as a tea boy before working his way up to becoming a engineer, working mainly with indie rock acts.
Talking about the music he makes he said, ‘I dont like to put a label on the music. I just like to say music, let me say root music, because I like to start from the root and look to the future. My music is fused with so many things like reggae and all different parts of African music. My award is the people. When people feel the music, like they have gone on a journey with me or there is a level of consciousness I have raised or I changed their lives, for me that is my reward.’
Natty’s first full single release, “July”, entered the UK Singles Chart on July 27, 2008 at number 68. On August 4, 2008, Natty released his debut album, Man like I, featuring songs including “Cold Town” and “July”. In September 2011, Natty scored his first American tour, opening up for reggae artiste Ziggy Marley.
When asked about Nigerian artistes and its market, he said, “I think my favourite Nigerian artiste is everyone’s favourite artiste, Burna Boy, but before him I liked Fela Kuti. I was actually invited here to come and work on a project and within that project I’m supposed to work with artistes from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.”
Natty is quite enthusiastic about Africa and he is gradually planning on relocating back to his roots and spread the reach of his music and style across borders.