Why Kristen Stewart Is Reviving an Actress Who Supported the Black Panthers

In Seberg, Kristen Stewart portrays film legend Jean Seberg, whose support of the BPP led to a horrific FBI harassment

Seberg - Official Trailer | Amazon Studios

Actress Jean Seberg began her acting career at the age of 18 with a starring role as Joan of Arc in 1957's Saint Joan.

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#WomanCrushWednesday | Natalia Safran

From Family to Music to Acting and Beyond

"This business is super tough on everybody, really really tough, and requires crazy hard work and single-minded focus."

Women are killing it in the music industry, and song lovers couldn't be happier! In our column, #WomenCrushWednesday, each week, we'll feature an awesome lady whose tunes are blowing up our playlists and ask them about their musical journey.

This week we feature Natalia Safran of The Forevers, who shares about breaking through the industry as an independent artist, developing her interest in acting, plus what it is like to work with her brother in the band. Read on to discover more!

How did you become interested in music?

It's not such an easy question to answer because music has been a part of my life since I can only remember. It has always been my obsession and driving force. I vividly remember being a little kid in Poland where I grew up, obsessing over a vinyl of the Polish band Vox and Krzysztof Krawczyk, which I'd ask my dad to spin over and over again for hours on end. I remember teaching myself to dance to Johnny Hates Jazz, getting lost in the Doors and Pink Floyd, and falling madly for Bruce Springsteen at the age of about 12. That love has never died by the way ☺

I would pass my latest music fascinations on to my little brother Mick, who in return would hype me up to the discoveries on his new expanding musical journey. I have him to thank for my intro to Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Faith No More, Tool, Deftones, or Stone Temple Pilots. My parents are both connected to art and are independent spirits themselves, so they would take us to events and concerts from the earliest age and let us go to hard rock gigs as teenagers. I remember seeing Marek Piekarczyk of the iconic Polish rock band TSA, Acid Drinkers, UFO, or Leonard Cohen play our hometown of Poznan and getting our minds blown by the power of their performances.

But it's thanks to Mick (Jaroszyk, my brother) that I make music for a living. He became a musician and began writing his own songs before talking me into doing it as a duo. We gave it a try, sat down to write a tune together and it was so natural, there was no going back. He also talked me into opening our profile on a crowdfunding site Sellaband, which turned out to be an incredible adventure. We rose to the top of over ten thousand artists there in record time raising $50k to make our first album High Noon and we were off to the races.

What is it like working with your brother in your band, The Forevers?

It's absolutely fantastic. Not only have we known each other a long time and dig each other's parents, we share the same music fascinations, general life philosophy, and work ethic. That can be its own downfall when both of you are workaholics and end up with recording sessions that oftentimes go a solid 24 hours, but neither of us is good at calling it quits for the day. We're both night owls so no matter how early in the day we start, the good stuff starts happening towards late night and we carry on till morning. At which point we often end up in hysterics laughing uncontrollably over some silly thing, all likely caused by not having enough sense to go to bed before 7 AM. Mick is super smart, funny and pushes me to do my best. And you know, even on those super rare occasions when we might get on each other's nerves, he ain't heavy, he's my brother. It's pretty priceless to have unconditional support in each other.

You're also an actress. How did you get involved with that?

I am a huge fan of the theater and have done theater acting since my teens. But I've also always been a sucker for movies. A serious obsessive fan. I guess I can't do anything halfway. I think I learned the world by watching them. Growing up as a teenager in Poland we had these film clubs and got to watch all the classics of the world cinema from Italian Realism and the French New Wave to Hollywood oldies, Westerns, and everything else in between. I learned English from Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart and dreamt of going off to Hollywood and working in film. I think it gave me the drive to make it from Poland to the U.S. all by myself at the age of 20 without any friends or connections in America. I just knew I would feel at home in California. Living in the city, where all my idols lived and worked is a thrill I never get used to. Our house belonged to Vivian Leigh...I mean!

I get involved only in those film projects I truly love and believe in, especially if they involve my favorite artists. Music is my ultimate calling and I feel that I can exert most influence and control over a music track rather than a work of film, but I really love creating in film too.

Many of your songs have been featured in films. What is that experience like for you?

It's incredibly exciting! It's a dream for me, two of my beloved things, picture and music, our music, coming together. A good soundtrack is an integral part of a movie and can be key in helping it hit all the emotional marks. To have our music be chosen for a soundtrack is as rewarding as it is validating. It's just super nice to have somebody really good in their field, like a director or music supervisor, love what you do and want to use it in their project. Sometimes we are asked to lend our existing songs (like our most recent synch of "All I Feel" Dance Remix in Flatliners) and sometimes we are hired to write a song for a specific picture or scene – like "Daylight" for Nicholas Sparks's The Choice. That is my favorite job, because it focuses your creative process and helps narrow down the particulars, a luxury you don't have when creating in abstract, because when you write for yourself you have an unlimited freedom and the world of endless possibilities before you. That is as fantastic as well...endless and therefore sometimes daunting ☺

What has been your experience as a woman in the music industry?

I have always been quite sure of what I wanted both in business and creatively and I do not put up with any nonsense. I've been called tough a lot and there have been a few situations where people tried to take advantage or not take me seriously. But I hate being told I can't do something and I don't shy away from a challenge, so I don't have too many harrowing tales to tell. Most of them happened early on when I was not as certain of my worth and place in the world. To be honest I am not sure how much my career has been conditioned by my being a woman. I can better speak to my experience as an independent artist and that path is as tedious as it is rewarding. This business is super tough on everybody, really really tough and requires crazy hard work and single minded focus.

Luckily I've had my brother with me on this journey and he has been my constant ally and work companion. So all the bad stuff that happens is only half a setback and all the triumphs are twice as satisfying. Early on we decided we would not align with a major label. We had them all after us when we rose to the top of the Sellaband ladder and made our fully fan-funded album High Noon. But we already had our own style, music, independence, and all the new ways of promoting and connecting with fans. There was no way we were going to give that up, who would?! So we write, arrange, record, perform, produce, and publish all of our songs, we have all the control but also all the responsibility. I'll say it again – it's a giant load of work, but it's what we love to do, so we don't mind and I feel like bypassing the label route has saved us a lot of grueling experiences and the usual show business frustrations people go through.

How do you balance your work and having a family?

That can get really tricky, especially since I tend to lose myself in work without realizing it. I firmly believe that family and friends come above all else, but in my case it's more family balancing me than me balancing the two worlds. My husband is a rockstar of husbands – forever supportive no matter how crazy my ideas are and with a wicked sense of humor. He is definitely my stabilizer and knows how to tell me when I've been working too much and how to crack me up. Our daughter Lou Lou totally rules our world. Thanks to her I've realized most stuff isn't worth the stress and she's taught me how to better live in the moment. I try to spend as much time with friends and family as I can and that keeps me sane. I've slowly learned that when I work too much I become less productive and less happy and nothing refuels me better than a little time with the ones I love.

Can you tell us anything about your role in the upcoming Aquaman film?

I play the queen of the Fisherman Kingdom, one of the seven underwater Atlantian empires. It is a very evolved kingdom, stunning visually and famous for its culture and arts, so a good match for a singer ☺

Playing Fisherman Queen was the most amazing experience. It took over five hours for a whole team of professionals to get me in all my custom prosthetics and make up each day, and half as long to get out of it. In between I got to work with director James Wan who is a true visionary and a perfectionist. I never tire of watching him in action. King of the Fisherman is Djimon Hounsou and being surrounded all day by actors like Willem Defoe, Patrick Wilson, Jason Momoa, Dolph Lundgren was just a dream. This movie is like nothing we have seen before. An epic adventure in the ultimate underwater fantasy. It will take your breath away.

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What about your most recent singles with The Forevers? Any plans for a full-length release in the future?

The Forevers is Mick and my new music venture and the most personal project. We sort of started to develop in a few different directions musically like our songs for movie soundtracks, acoustic tracks and electronica, which started as a collab with the iconic DJ Sandy Rivera and became a serious part of our material with a whole album of remixes last year (High Noon Remixes). The first single of that, "All I Feel" Dance Mix went all the way up to the top of Billboard's Top 20 Club Chart and we had unwittingly expanded into a new genre. We felt the need to separate these paths or distinguish them and get back to our original root sound under The Forevers. The first single is called "Frederique" and to me is like the perfect cool cocktail on a hot Summer night (in the South of France, cause some of it is in French ☺ ). One music critic just wrote that "Frederique" brought to mind the French New Wave for him, so I think it worked.

We are also releasing the "Frederique" music video which is an homage to the vintage vibes of the '70s Venice Beach. Check it out and see us zipping around the most iconic Venice spots and characters. It was such fun to film!

We have a bunch of new songs all ready for release under The Forevers in the nearest future.

What is coming up next for you?

We are almost done producing the next album of remixes of our songs, which will be out before the end of the year. I have a very special film project in development about a legendary American female folk blues singer that I cannot wait to bring it to screen. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Follow The Forevers on Facebook | Instagram

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