MAGNET Exclusive: Softee Goes Track By Track On New Album “Natural”

Mister Softee isn’t the only Softee about to make your summer a lot sweeter. Natural (City Slang) is the first “official” album from Nina Grollman (a.k.a. Softee), a Brooklyn musician who’s also a Juilliard-trained actor who’s appeared on Broadway alongside the likes of Denzel Washington and Ed Harris. Natural, recorded in Berlin by Grollman and collaborator/co-producer sweetbbyj, documents the emotional rollercoaster that Grollman was on following a traumatic breakup and the ensuing love affair that led to a recent engagement.

Grollman was gracious enough to take us on a track-by-track trip through the sex, drugs and dance pop of Natural.

1) “The Floor”
“This song is a crystallized moment in time after my breakup when I was getting my things from the apartment that I shared with my ex. She was there, and it was an extremely painful moment where neither of us knew what to say, so I just sat and stared at the floor while waiting for my Uber to arrive after gathering all my stuff.”

2) “Isn’t Enough”
“A joyous breakup dance track. I wrote this while at home for Christmas, fresh after my breakup, ruminating on all the ways in which the relationship wasn’t sustaining me. It was a cathartic moment to write it all down and put it over a dance beat.”

3) “Molly”
“This song is pure sensuality. It’s based on an experience I had with my fiancée on one of our first dates. We took Molly and turned my apartment into a disco, blasting music and turning off all the lights. It was also a moment where, as I say in the chorus, I was confused about whether it was the drugs or if I was actually falling in love with this person.”

4) “Natural”
“That feeling where nothing is forced, everything feels so right. It’s a reminder to myself to not get too caught up in overthinking. I was very caught up on the timing of this new relationship, thinking it might be too soon. I remind myself in this song to stay in the moment and let things progress naturally and not try to control everything.”

5) “Come Home”
“This track is simply horny. It’s waiting all day for your lover to come home from work, pining after them and dreaming about what you want them to do to you. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and there’s a nod to Britney in the spoken-word verse.”

6) “Fix It”
“As my new relationship deepened, I realized I have a tendency to try and ‘fix’ any negative feeling or problem my partner or I encountered. Instead of feeling the feeling, I would try and get rid of it as soon as possible. This song is a mantra for me to repeat to myself as much as to my partner saying, ‘I know I can’t fix it, but I’m here to listen.’”

7) “Grief”
“‘Grief’ was written later in the album process, at a time where I felt I had largely healed from my breakup. One day my ex texted me out of the blue, saying she’d seen me on the street, and it sent a whirlwind of emotions through me. Out of that came a realization that my grief and heartbreak wasn’t linear. Even though time had passed, the wound was still there.”

8) “Real Love”
“This song is a series of snapshots of my relationship with my fiancée, from the moment I knew I had to tell her about my feelings to the moment when the song was written. It’s simply an ’80s love-ballad banger. My co-producer sweetbbyj put an amazing beat over some chords I had written, and the whole song came together in about an hour. It was one of those rare magical times when a song sort of writes itself.”

9) “Red Light Green Light”
“The birth of this song actually came from a beat that a friend, Namir Blade, made that sampled a moment in Squid Game. I loved the show so much, and the beat was so intoxicating. The song is a tirade against nepotism and elitist thinking. What makes me so different from someone who has a trust fund other than their proximity to wealth? These questions swirl around in the song, but subversively, because it’s so danceable, I don’t think you really hear the lyrics unless you’re paying close attention. That is my favorite kind of pop music—the kind where you have to look up the lyrics and it gives the song a whole new meaning.”

10) “U + Me (WDYT)”
“This was basically my soft proposal to my fiancée. It’s a joyous, liberating, love funk song. I asked a lot of my favorite musicians to play on it, including keyboard player David Linard, trumpet player Wayne Tucker and, of course, sweetbbyj. I wanted to round out the album with something hopeful and joyful, which is how I feel about the future.”