Outside of Hollywood retirement homes, few folks can claim the same career-launching medium as 24-year-old British chanteuse Natalia Kills: Radio drama.
The exotic Jamaican-Uruguayan beauty born Natalia Cappuccini first found work on BBC TV a decade ago, playing the rebellious daughter Sima on the popular family sitcom “All About Me.”
“I would bring boys home and kiss them on the couch and get into all kinds of trouble, and I did that for three years,” she says, describing her campy role. “But around the same time, I got an opportunity to be on something similar on the radio, a soap opera that’s been going for over 50 years called ‘The Archers.’”
Kills — who’ll be touting her upcoming debut disc “Perfectionist,” opening for Robyn Tuesday at the Warfield — was offered the “Archers” part of Amy, the vicar’s less-uppity offspring.
It’s an American anachronism, but in England the old-time radio serial is still thriving. “Because they have a film set, they basically do everything you do on a TV show, but without a camera,” she says. “They have tons of microphones set up, so when you’re in the kitchen, you have to walk into a kitchen. It’s not faked or anything. And they have halls and atriums for when you do different event scenes, a room for every type of noise someone would experience on a daily basis.”
How did the young thespian wind up on Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am’s Cherrytree-distributed imprint? She had quietly been composing songs that were picked up in the U.S. by TV shows such as “Entourage.”
“So finally, I decided to work on my own music and write songs for myself,” she says. Her first MySpace-posted demo caught the ear of Perez Hilton, who championed it on his website.
Overnight, Kills had 2 million plays and 50,000 new fans.
After being wined and dined by every label and producer in Los Angeles, Kills settled on will.i.am.
“He gave me the tools to be as creative as I wanted to be, to make what I wanted to make, and to discover my own personal sound,” she says of her benefactor, who also helped her direct her own web miniseries, and even a movie she filmed to accompany “Perfectionist.”
Now Kills’ hard-edged songs will probably hit radio, like “Zombie,” “Superficial” and “Love Is a Suicide.”
“The album’s definitely very aggressive for normal pop music, but that’s just my style,” she says. “And it has nothing to do with perfection. It’s about going through extreme hardship, heartbreak and disappointment, and finding your own happiness through those things.”
IF YOU GO
Opening for Robyn
Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $22.25 to $32.25
Contact: (800) 745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com