Interviews

Indie-Electronic Act Le Poodle Is Independent in More Ways Than One

Le Poodle
Le Poodle Photo by Yajaira Sattui
Natalie Foucauld's home was illuminated by music.

"My parents always liked music and dance and rhythms," Foucauld tells New Times. "My dad loves Nat King Cole. He introduced me to a lot of jazz and classical music. My mom really liked Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan — diva type of Latin artists."

Her strict parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from Puerto Rico and Haiti, pushed her to become a doctor or lawyer.

But the South Florida singer-songwriter and artist, who goes by the stage name Le Poodle, experienced a divergence in career choices.

"I discovered instrumental hip-hop, heavy beats, sampling jazz records, and also rock 'n' roll and Frank Zappa, folk music," Foucauld says. "All these things I was downloading on LimeWire and uploading to my little iPod and obsessing over the lives of the artists. But I didn't feel like I had the drive or confidence to pick up music and pursue it."

Foucauld's musical trappings traverse the intersections of electronic music, indie dance, and '90s folk. A West Palm Beach native, the physician assistant turned full-time musician cofounded the indie band Cloud Solo in 2015.

She debuted her Le Poodle solo project two years later.

"I decided to go completely solo with more electronic beats just in my room doing things. That's where Le Poodle was born," she says.

Le Poodle filters electronic beats through an indie-pop aesthetic. Her lyricism is heady and puts feelings of self-reflection, introspection, and ego death into words.

"I was feeling depressed and in a weird place when I moved to Miami," Foucauld recalls. "I didn't know anyone, just broke up with my ex, and then something clicked. I was going to Churchill's, and I was like, 'I need to do this. I don't know if I'm too late, but I need to do this.' So I picked up an acoustic guitar and watched some videos and practiced every day learning basic chords, and after a month I could play a little blues song and learned basic music theory."
Since then, Foucauld has independently released several singles. Her latest single, "O.K for Now," was released the same week as her performance at III Points.

"I want the song to hit the elements that I want it to hit as opposed to making something without grounding," she explains. "The feeling I'm trying to emit and what I want to relay to the audience is that '90s grungy, angst sound while also making it dancey."

"O.K. for Now" begins with slow snare drums rolls, which, when combined with a creeping string section, brings a chilling effect to the listener. The song is barebones, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The snares steadily trill and the artificial string section created on her keyboard intertwines with Foucald's lyrics, which are jaded by the toxicity of romance. "Rejection is like bullet wounds to my chest/Take it all in/Maybe I should just respect it."

Foucauld held onto the track for a while, throwing it in the proverbial vault, tweaking it, and having her friend Lee Muze, a violinist, help produce the more melodic element of the song.

"I was listening to this artist Oklou — her songs are just so cool. It's R&B, but dance-friendly," Foucauld says. "I was interested in her use of strings. So I put the strings setting on my keyboard, played around with the black keys, and came up with the riff of the song, and started working on those gothic church vocals."

The single was pressed at Miami's recording studio Bull Production — a testament that a major-label deal isn't essential for aspiring artists.

"People think you need a label to get going. It would be helpful, but you don't need one," she adds. "I just want people to know they can do it. It is daunting and hard, and your finger shakes, and it's really uncomfortable, but it's definitely worth it if you do a little bit each day."

Musicians seldom have it figured out, yet Le Poodle builds from her experiences and transfixes crowds with a collage of music and evocative lyrics.

Although her III Points set was cut short by a sudden rainstorm, she remains committed to the process and challenges her catharsis with every experience.

"I would love someone just to hit all the feels and have introspection and feel it through the music," Foucauld says about her goals for the audience. "Like when you're in the car and hitting all the right notes, the bass feels just right, and you're just thinking about life. If I could make people cry, that would be cool, too. Maybe it's because I cry."
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Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert