Natasha Bedingfield talks Unwritten's Anyone But You chart resurgence

You could almost say that she is releasing her inhibitions...feeling the rain on her skin...
Natasha Bedingfield Unwritten

You know how it goes. For nearly 20 years, Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten has been a British pop institution, one of those tracks that no matter when or where you were born, the song has been subsumed into your very bones. 

A sparse, acoustic-led track at first, Unwritten blooms like a flower in the sun as soon as the first rush of that chorus hits; release your inhibitions! Feel the rain on your skin! Originally a Number 6 hit in the UK upon its release, its chat peak actually says nothing of its impact on the wider culture, or how steadily it has endured over the last two decades.

One of the best moments of true pop justice we've ever witnessed was at last year's Mighty Hoopla festival where, at the end of her set, Natasha launched into a rendition of Unwritten that had all 30,000 attendees singing along. You could actually feel the ground shake. 

And now, Unwritten's time has come again. Thanks to its inclusion in the rom-com Anyone But You, starring Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria) and Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick), the track has spent two weeks surging back into the Top 40. Last week, it entered the Official Singles Chart Top 20 for the first time in 20 years, and it's looking to climb even higher this week. 

"It's just really nice, isn't it?" Natasha says, dialling in from her home in New York to talk about her unlikely but very welcome return to UK chart dominance. "It's nice when you make something you're proud of and you never get bored of it.

"People do ask me, 'do you ever get tired of singing Unwritten?' And I don't. I love it so much still, each and every time. I guess this proves other people aren't bored of it either!"

To hear Natasha tell it, the importance of Unwritten to the actual plot of Anyone But You came as a surprise. She was originally approached to sign off on the sync by the film's director, Will Gluck, who was also responsible for another iconic Bedingfield reference in another film of his, Easy A (watch Emma Stone sing along to Pocketful of Sunshine in the greatest scene ever recorded here). 

"It was a lovely surprise," Natasha tells us. "Will Gluck put me in [Easy A] years ago, and he got back in touch about Unwritten. He said, 'it's a big part of their love story.' But when I went to the premiere and watched it, I didn't expect it to be such a part of the movie. The way it's just exploded online has been amazing. I love it."

If you're thinking this all sounds familiar, then you're right. Just weeks ago, another noughties British pop icon, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, found her 2001 rammer Murder on the Dancefloor shooting back up the charts thanks to its inclusion in the closing scene of Emerald Fennell's buzzy gothic thiller, Saltburn. Thanks to the new attention, the song actually managed to reach a re-peak of Number 2, and is still riding high in the Top 3 right now. 

natasha bedingfield body pic


And it turns out, Natasha and Sophie still keep in touch, and are experiencing this revival together.

"Sophie is such a lovely person," Natasha says. "She's so stylish! She's so, so great and she deserves all of the success she's having. On a personal note, I've actually called her for advice on being a mum. We've definitely been texting about [all of this success], we've been congratulating each other."

Plus, Unwritten and Murder on the Dancefloor share more similarities than you might think, as Natasha points out to us. Gregg Alexander, the songwriter who initially demo'd Murder on the Dancefloor was a member of the alt-rock duo New Radicals, with Danielle Brisebois...who was Natasha's co-writer on Unwritten. 

Twenty years on from the song's release has also given Natasha the requisite time to actually sit back and enjoy the song's second (third? fourth?) wind, something that she says she wasn't able to do on the first go-around, thanks to the all-consuming nature of the pop promo wheel. 

"One of the things I do want to do more is celebrate," she reveals. "When I was first coming up, I had a lot of great mentors who kept telling me 'don't celebrate yet, don't get ahead of yourself.' 

"The unfortunate part of that was that I actually didn't celebrate [in the moment]. I was always onto the next thing, always on to the next hit. Now, I definitely think I'm more inclined to dance around the room and really enjoy it."

And enjoying it is what she's doing. In a message to the fans old and new who have been supporting Unwritten in the last few weeks, Natasha says; "I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who's posted a video about the song, this is all because of you.

"It blows me away and is just so touching to me, so please keep enjoying it. I really do feel like Unwritten is not just my song, it's your song too. You made it your song."

Release your inhibitions, Feel the rain on your skin. You know how it goes. 

Unwritten is out now via Phonogenic/Sony. Anyone But You is out now in UK cinemas. 

Images: Dayne Malan

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