With lyrics like, “Don’t give up on hope, it’s gonna get better,” Natasha Bedingfield’s new single, “Together in This”, from the animated kids film “Jungle Beat: The Movie”, couldn’t come at a better time, amid global unrest and a pandemic.
But it’s in the last three years, while tackling first-time motherhood, that the singer-songwriter has frequently been reminded of the importance of themes like positivity, hope and strength in unity – whether it’s overcoming pre-natal struggles with the help of husband Matt Robinson, embracing family support as a new mom, navigating quarantine, or leaning on friends who “stopped heaven and earth” to be there when 2-year-old son Solomon faced brain surgery in November.
“There’s definitely times in life when it feels like there’s no hope or worst-case scenarios can come true – things you’re terrified of,” she tells ET Canada. “In those moments, it’s so important not to get jaded or give up.”
“And, right now mental health is so important all over the world,” she adds about the messaging behind the song, written by bestie Jonas Myrin. “COVID’s terrible, but people being isolated is terrible too, so we have to find ways to rise above that.”
Rising above mental health setbacks is something the “Pocketful of Sunshine” singer’s familiar with, having experienced pre-natal struggles while touring with Train in 2017. Battling daily nausea and illness, she faced bouts of depression – an increasing concern among pregnant women during the pandemic, according to new research.
“I’ve never experienced that kind of hormonal change before,” the Grammy-nominated songstress says. “It made me realize how chemical depression can be, and how saying, ‘Snap out of it,’ doesn’t make sense because it’s inside your body.”
“I was on the road and said, ‘I need you to come here,’” Bedingfield, 38, adds about recognizing she needed Robinson’s support. “He was like, ‘You seem like you’re doing great,’ because on Instagram everything looks awesome, but I was like, ‘Yeah, no … I need you.’ I sent him articles about what people go through and he was great. I also did a lot of yoga. It was still a time of happiness too, but I was feeling sick all day which made things really difficult.”
The couple welcomed Solomon on New Year’s Eve 2017 and Natasha has since chronicled the joys of motherhood on social media, from family boating trips to at-home dance parties. In her heartwarming 2019 track “King of the World,” she sings about how the cutie makes her feel like her best self.
Whether it’s tottering around soundchecks, joining Bedingfield on stage or motivating her to play tourist more as they globetrot, Solomon has slotted right into Bedingfield’s professional life. In fact, the two were preparing to fly to New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when Natasha faced her most terrifying parenting hurdle – waking at 6 a.m. to find Solomon unable to speak coherently.
“He just suddenly couldn’t talk,” she shares. “I thought he was pretending or playing, then he couldn’t move half his body.”
Following an ambulance ride and “so many tests,” the family faced five weeks at Children’s Hospital L.A., where Solomon underwent two surgeries for a brain abscess. While watching her little boy endure needles and IVs was beyond “horrible,” he admirably braved everything with a smile. “He’s such an amazing, positive kid. And I experienced an amazing grace, beyond my understanding, of being able to ride through hard times feeling at peace. I think it’s because of all the people around me and because Solomon’s truly an amazing human. I’m so honoured he chose me to be his mom.”
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I have shared my journey as a new mother the past two years – mostly the overwhelming joy that Solomon has brought into so many lives, most of all ours . The past week, life hit us hard and our sweet boy had a medical emergency- now a week later , endless Iv’s and tests the amazing doctors and nurses have discovered an area of infection in his head. Never have we felt so helpless or vulnerable . He is on the road to recovery.. we appreciate all the love and continued support. When your kid is unwell, the whole worlds stops for you .. but I know it actually carries on for everyone else so just reaching out to say please pray for us to keep feeling peace and strength beyond our understanding. The situation is still evolving so please pray they find solutions quickly for little Solo.
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I wanted to post all the happy pics from this week of solomon running down the halls of the hospital seemingly recovered – with news that we would soon be going home….. But the reality is, we found out last night that he has to have a second operation tomorrow AM. Feeling gutted but also thank God that we live in a time of MRI where we are able to see into our own minds and for doctors who are wise enough to keep asking questions. He has an area of infection that some how found it’s way into the brain. We are so grateful though that there is treatment for what Solo is experiencing and it is straight forward and has worked many times. Please keep him in your prayers and meditation tonight and tomorrow . The body has amazing natural defences so we just need it to do what it does with a lot of extra help from modern medicine . When you have been in the hospital for 3 weeks, time stops. I m realising that this is not a quick in and out visit . So this week will be about making sure we ourselves are healthy and also that we are giving solo good nutrition to help keep up the immunity . I’m actually on a plane to Vegas tonight to do a quick show I was committed to and then come back in time for the the surgery . Love u guys . Life is crazy . This is the real rock and roll 🤟🏼🙏🏼
The family made it home for Christmas and seven months later, Solomon’s “doing great.” Understandably, the ordeal’s still difficult to talk about, Bedingfield’s voice heavy with emotion as she reflects on the trying period.
“When you go through something traumatic, you go into survival mode, then when it’s safe, you start realizing, ‘Whoa, that was scary,’” she says. “It’s so scary when you realize how fragile a life is and how your heart could be broken at any point. It was definitely a recalibration. It makes you think about what’s important.”
What’s important to Bedingfield now is enjoying every second with her boys in quarantine. That means even when Solomon’s misbehaving, she’s super-thankful.
“If there’s moments where I’m frustrated because he’s a toddler and expressing his will, I remind myself to be grateful that he’s so healthy and is expressing his will,” says the musician, who grew up between England and New Zealand.
As for her own wellbeing in quarantine, Bedingfield thrived working on “Together in This,” her first release since 2019’s Roll With Me. Noting that as an artist, it’s “easy to go into hermit mode and forget about the world,” the project reminded her of the importance of staying connected – especially since as a parent, she rarely worries about herself while focused on Solomon. It’s perhaps why Myrin wrote her “Together in This,” ultimately prompting her to reconnect with fans.
“It was so sweet,” she says. “He said, ‘Here. This is for you,’ pushing me out there. The song instantly makes me feel connected to people. It was written for a child’s movie, but it feels timely and encouraging. And Solomon loves singing along to it. We played the video for him with Jonas, who’s his godfather, and Solo’s like, ‘Good job!’”
The fun video features fans, “Jungle Beat” characters, YouTuber Anastasia Radzinskaya, Beyoncé dancer Courtney Allen and dance pro pal Derek Hough all busting their moves. “Derek and [sister] Julianne are absolute gems – amazing, hilarious people,” Bedingfield says. “They just make me laugh.”
For her fans, it’s Bedingfield who has provided laughter, fun and positivity through the years, whether it’s through “The Hills” anthem “Unwritten” or watching Emma Stone belt out her 2008 hit “Pocketful of Sunshine” in “Easy A”. However, as it nears it’s 10-year anniversary, it’s 2010 record Strip Me which feels of key significance.
“Songs are so powerful,” she reflects. “They’re like spells, where you wish things for yourself. ‘Strip Me’ was a bold title, but at the time I felt like I [was considered] a pop star. Although I had pop hits, I don’t feel like I fit what other pop stars are, as a singer-songwriter. So that album was like a coming out of who I really am and it’s been pretty powerful in my life. When I’m on stage now, I have a whole other layer of authority that feels powerful and fulfilling.”
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Just 7 months ago my son had two life-saving brain surgeries. Experiencing the care and determination of healthcare workers gave me personal perspective on these true superheroes who are protecting us and our loved ones on the front lines all over the globe right now during Covid. I’d like to take this moment to thank the incredible medical team at @ChildrensLA. We could use some light and togetherness right now so share your stories of incredible kindness with me in comments for us all to read. #TogetherInThis