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Moving music: Cabaret singer’s ode to relocation

Location, location, location: Songwriter and cabaret performer Natti Vogel will belt out his song about gentrification, “We All Move to Brooklyn,” in the middle of Williamsburg, the borough’s highest-rent neighborhood, on July 26.
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All roads lead to Brooklyn — whether you like it or not!

A Crown Heights cabaret performer will launch a humorous, sing-along single about the forces of gentrification at National Sawdust on July 26. Natti Vogel’s song “We All Move to Brooklyn,” from his upcoming album “Serving Body,” offers his cheeky take on the frightening, seemingly inevitable economic forces that have swept artists — including Vogel himself — into the borough of Kings over the last few years.

“There’s no way around it, it’s a scary, awkward trend that feels inhuman and feels disrespectful of the self and of the other. There’s no cute spin to gentrifica­tion,” said Vogel, who moved to Crown Heights six years ago. “I do a big eye-roll every time I see an article in a paper, magazine, or news segment that’s like ‘Come to Brooklyn’s new artisanal cheese shop’ or every time I see a show about Brooklyn, or some song about Brooklyn that’s glamorized how fun and artsy, and how hip and raw and how cool it is, and it just feels like throwing icing on a big turd cake of reality.”

Vogel wrote “We All Move to Brooklyn” while living on the distant isle of Manhattan. But now that he has succumbed to the siren call of Kings County, he feels obligated to use his talents to record the trend that brought him here.

“I wrote this song several years go when I was still in college and I had kind of tried to stick it out in Manhattan. I found all sorts of crazy deals and tried to game the system basically to stay, and at some point I gave in to gravity and moved to Brooklyn,” said Vogel. “And I just think my role as an artist is to comment on society as it’s happening.”

Vogel’s favorite part of living in the borough of churches is just the fact that it has not yet fallen to the moneyed forces that have conquered Manhattan.

“I could say I like the gorgeous brownstones, or I like the statue of Ulysses S. Grant outside of my window — all that stuff is really interesting, but fundamentally I guess what makes living in Brooklyn the most vital is [that] so much of Manhattan has already been taken over completely by commerce, by bankers, and lawyers and finance people,” said Vogel.

The single release concert will offer more than a bleak economic forecast, said Vogel — it will also have his signature humor, songs about dating, and hope for the future.

“I hope people enjoy this song and the live show, my live shows are always really fun and interactive and people leave really energized and leave happy,” said Vogel. “And I hope the song itself provides catharsis for anyone who likes living in this imperfect world and trying to make something nice out of it.”

“We All Move to Brooklyn” at National Sawdust (80 N. Sixth St. at Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, www.nationalsawdust.org). July 26 at 10 pm. $25 ($20 in advance).

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, July 24, 2017
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