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WPGM Commentary: Natalie Shay Relives Traumatic Break-Up On ‘Like You Boy’

Hi, I’m Natalie Shay, a critically acclaimed, multi-award winning musician known for my explosive live performances and vibrant, infectious indie pop anthems. My songs feature relatable lyrics touching on love, self-discovery and the everyday experiences of a twenty-something in the modern world.

My new single “Like You Boy” was written by myself alone at 3am on my acoustic guitar during those claustrophobic early months of COVID lockdown, just me and a 4-track recorder. It came out completely fully formed – lyrics, melody, everything – and took about as long to write as it does to listen to.

People usually want to know where my lyrics or song inspiration come from, and this one is fairly straightforward: it’s a torch-song about the immediate aftermath of a traumatic break-up, happening in real-time. The fleeting and charged thoughts that come out of the sudden ruin of a relationship that ended all too quickly.

I guess when this happens most of us tend to lean towards placing the blame on our own perceived failings; what you could have done or said differently, anxieties, insecurities… where you came up short. How you failed to be good enough.

But if we were to set the scene, imagine someone has just called things off when you were already getting excited for the potential of what the relationship could be, you can’t just turn those feelings off straight away, so being left stranded in the hurt and frustration of the lost potential can send you spiralling.

Anxious attachment to something that’s ending and feeling caught in the finality of it, left behind in the wreckage. But at the same time understanding that there’s beauty that can be found in vulnerability, and strength in the surrender to what you’ve lost. This song is about that.

Many of these late-night songs don’t make it beyond the initial demo recording and act as a form of therapy for me to work through things, but I’ve ended up playing this song live almost weekly since 2022. It’s one of my only ‘acoustic’ songs that still makes it into my electric set.

It’s special, and always gets a reaction live – I played it to a sold-out crowd at Kentish Town Forum when I supported cavity Baser and the entire front row were singing along by the end, lighters and phones in the air lol.

I’m so excited to finally have it out, released almost 4 years to the day that it was written. Produced by long-time friend and collaborator Kaity Rae, it was recorded at her studio in our local area of North London. We’ve known each other since we were 11 and met at theatre school, Kaity worked on several of my previous releases before this one and she’s always an amazing person to collab with. Big up Kaity!

The final version sounds much like the original demo I made on the night that I wrote it, no real changes to the lyrics or arrangement – which is unlike most of my songs’ development. We stayed true to the essence of the original demo, capturing its raw emotion and intimate feel.

I hope this song brings solace to those who need it and serves as a reminder that no matter how lost, alone and hopeless things can feel at times, sunshine always follows rain and every end can be the start of another beginning (At least what’s what I was aiming for haha, you be the judge XD).

Listen to “Like You Boy” below and stream it everywhere else here.

Word by Natalie Shay // Follow her on Instagram

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