You can call me Cascada: Natalie takes dance act to new heights

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LIKE Deborah Harry of Blondie before her, Natalie Horler is today better known by the name of her group, Cascada, possibly the biggest dance act in the world.

Cascada actually consists of the 27-year-old singer and German Eurodance producers DJ Manian and Yannou.

Even with Top 10 hits Everytime We Touch, Truly Madly Deeply and Miracle, however, Horler still gets called Cascada by a large proportion of fans. She doesn't mind, and laughs as she puts the record straight.

"When I started working with Yannou we began by doing some R&B and stuff. But Yannou has always worked with Manian as well, and eventually we just started doing dance music.

"The first track we recorded ended up being a huge underground club hit. Typical of the dance music scene nobody knew the person singing, just the name of the project, Cascada.

"Nobody knew my face and it was never meant to be 'my' track but when it started to become popular Yannou and Manian asked if I would like to go on stage and represent the project, that's how we became a live act."

That breakthrough was three years ago. Now, with more than three million records sold worldwide, Cascada are the hottest dance artistes on the planet, as dance fans at the Corn Exchange will discover on Tuesday when Horler and her DJ producers big it up.

"I love doing full-length concerts, they're much bigger than the club gigs," enthuses Horler, looking ahead to next week's visit. "The Corn Exchange is going to be a proper gig with ballads and the legendary Guru Josh as our support act. There will also be lots of dancers. It's going to be a very energetic evening."

For Cascada it's been a very energetic three years that started when the then unknown act broke America with the single Everytime We Touch. The success of that one track in the States propelled them around the world.

Horler recalls, "America gave us the big push into the mainstream because Everytime We Touch was grabbed by so many radio stations over there, especially in New York.

"All the stations across the US listen to see what the New York stations have on their play list, so Everytime We Touch ended up being played everywhere and turned into this huge summer hit. That got us into the Billboard charts and allowed people to start to get to know us,that's how it got going."

That success soon crossed the pond.

The singer adds, "There's no secret recipe for breaking America. I think it was the right track at the right time. Maybe at that point R&B and hip-hop were so dominant that they enjoyed the difference. But there seems to be something about that particular song that just hit a nerve all around the world."

Horler concedes that she is surprised by the speed at which the whole project has taken off.

"It all happened fairly fast. I never expected that, but then I don't tend to live my life that way. I go about my business, work hard and let myself be surprised. I never know where we are in the charts, what our sales are, I never know any of that. I just carry on and go with the flow."

Born in Bonn, Germany, of English parents, Horler's first musical influences came from her father, jazz trombonist David Horler.

"I didn't listen to any dance music at all when I was younger," she recalls. "I was into soul music. I grew up listening to Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Boys To Men, people like that. Obviously I was also very influenced by my dad and his jazz music and recorded bits and pieces with him when I was very young in his little home studio.

"I got into dance music when I started getting into music professionally. After school I really wanted to take a career in music seriously, so I started to do some studio work. It was a way of getting into the business.

"In Germany you have a lot of DJs who just need a studio singer to record a track, especially dance tracks, and that is how I got into dance music. Apparently I had a good voice for it and one producer would recommend me to another. That is how I met Yannou."

Aware of the disposable nature of session singers, however, Horler admits she had to think before going down the dance act route.

"I thought about it because at first I wasn't sure if I wanted to do dance music properly. I decided to have a go because I believe you have to grab every opportunity you can. This was a way to get on stage and I wanted to be a singer. Obviously now it has grow on me and I identify completely with Cascada – probably why people call me that, they think it's my stage name. It isn't, although I do answer to it."

Looking ahead to Tuesday, she adds, "The live performances are the best part, my favourite thing is going on stage. I love it. I feed off the audience. I need that and have such a laugh on stage. It's a wonderful feeling because I've always been a little bit of a party girl."

Let the party begin.

&#149 Cascada, Corn Exchange, Newmarket Road, Tuesday, 7.30pm, 22.50, 0131-477 3500