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Nathalia Margot Pizarro

Dec 07/2014
WORDS Amanda Purdie PHOTOGRAPHY Pedersen STYLING Raelene Ann Marie CLOTHING Holt Renfrew

“You know, when a shark stops swimming it dies.”

Nathalia Pizarro is talking about her incessant need to create. And as the charismatic frontwoman of Vancouver band Chains of Love, head of Manimal PR, and fine artist (a.k.a. TIT), it’s fair to say this is one hastily swimming shark.

Following the release of Chains of Love’s Misery Makers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and a hectic period of touring, Pizarro is taking a well-deserved break from life on the road. In the meantime, she’s adding more creative pursuits to her already long list of projects – one of which is art. “It’s something I started doing again because I wasn’t really playing music or performing, which is such a huge part of my life. I decided to find a way to channel my creativity in a different way.”

Pizarro’s “day job” is running the PR division at Manimal, the LA-based record label behind artists like Warpaint and Bat for Lashes. It’s something she loves doing, not only because it’s a way to stay connected to the music industry, but it’s also made her into a more “gracious” artist.

For a woman so overflowing with creativity, it’s hard to imagine Pizarro ever considering a more traditional career path. But around the age of 21, she said, “Fuck it – I’m not going to do music any more. I’d been hustling since I was a teen and I wanted to do something so removed from the arts to take a break.”

She set out to become a vet and even applied to a biology degree program. “I remember doing homework in the studio and he [Felix Fung of Chains of Love] was like, ‘What are you doing?’” It was the wake-up call she needed to continue following her true passion.

It’s yet another example of Pizarro’s diverse intellectual interests and talents. “It’s hard to feed everything, but I do have a fascination with science, especially with physics and space. I think it’s what’s spawned my curiosity about a lot of different things.”

Pizarro credits her strong work ethic to her “extraordinary” mom (“really the only female role model in my life”), who singlehandedly raised her and her brother. “It’s not like she could afford to take me to guitar lessons. She did what she could, but she inspired me to take care of my own things. My happiness is my own responsibility. I can’t wait around for someone to pay for it.”

Feminism to me means respect for women and honouring the female. I really believe in a matriarchal society.

Having such a strong female influence undoubtedly helped to shape Pizarro’s views on gender equality. “Feminism to me means respect for women and honouring the female. I really believe in a matriarchal society. I pray that one day things turn around for all of us humans and things become more neutral.

Pizarro, who admires a long list of female artists – including Cosey Fanni Tutti, Billie Holiday, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin and Ronnie Spector – would like to see more women in music. “More female producers. More record label owners. More women behind the scenes.”

So, what’s next for Pizarro? She’s currently working on an “off-the-cuff” music collaboration with an LA-based producer, but she’s keeping tight-lipped about it for now. And her art will continue to evolve as she experiments with new mediums, like Photoshop and illustration.

But I get the sense that Pizarro’s work will never be done. “As an artist, you can’t just show up to work nine-to-five – you have to really clock in your hours and consistently show up for your art.”

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