Natasha Bedingfield (photo: Kenneth Cappello)

When Natasha Bedingfield found fame in 2004, what would become of the world was, as she sings on the hit song that established her pop-star status, still unwritten.Now if only it could be rewritten, because our dire, disharmonious reality is weighing even on Bedingfield, who cant exactly chirp about sunshine in her pockets at least not when shes experienced the rain and the clouds too. Nine years after her last album, Strip Me, Bedingfield, 37, returns with Roll With Me, a collection of socially conscious songs meant to empower and uplift.

In 2017, you wrote a Facebook post celebrating Pride and said, I have learned so much about love and self-acceptance from my gay friends.How have you learned to accept yourself because of the LGBTQ community?

That is such a beautiful question. OK, let me just first say, I do shows all over the world, but when I sing at a gay club or at a Pride, I just feel such a strong connection. I feel like my gay audience understands my lyrics more than anybody.

Pop songs, theyre easy to sing, theyre entertainment, but when I sing for an LGBTQ crowd, theres this understanding because I think that (laughs) sorry, my brain. You know when you sing your brain is on the left brain, and when youre talking its on the right? Its insane, man. Words just dont come. Im not really a big talker. Even in my shows, I dont talk much.

Take your time.

I feel like the strength it takes to tell your parents that youre gay despite rejection takes such a strong character, and I feel so inspired because it helps me realize that the things that Im afraid people might not like about me, I can stand those. I just feel inspired by the bravery.

When did you first feel connected to that community? Did you have many gay friends growing up?

I was brought up in church. I was brought up with faith and a belief in God. There was just a lot of things about it that were quite restricting, and my parents wanted to protect me. But sometimes that was harmful. However well-meaning, it can kind of cause a belief that the world is evil. I guess you call it repressed. So, for me, I think I relate because some of my sexual feelings were quite repressed growing up, feeling that something is bad, like the female body is bad, sinful.

How has the way you grew up influenced how you raise your son, Solomon?

I want my son to be kind, and I want him to see the world and to love people. He has his gay uncles and Linda Perry (Bedingfields sole producer and co-writer on Roll With Me) is one of his godparents, and shes a lesbian. Im so happy that he has such good influences in his life. What Ive found from the LGBTQ crowd is theyre definitely a very self-aware group of people. A lot of people I know have been to therapy and have had reasons in their life to really know themselves and I love that.

Why is it important to you to write about and for the underdog?

Well, I write from my own life. I wasnt a star growing up. My brother (pop artist Daniel Bedingfield) was a star, and I was the younger sister. I dont think people saw my potential. I was very loved, but I dont think I was the main attraction (laughs). So maybe its that. But also, I just think I put an antenna up when I write; Im just a conduit, and I hear things and I see things and that flows into what I write. And I like to write about things that matter.

On No Man I See,you sing, The nameless should be famous.Who did you have on your mind when you wrote that lyric?

Were obsessed with fame in our culture. And everyones famous for 15 minutes now. Everyone gets to be. But I think for me, when Im thinking of the nameless, Im thinking about the people who are voiceless and making all the products that we use who are enslaved or whove had their power taken away. We should be talking about that more and that should be more important than all this other stuff that we give so much attention to.

Was that ever a source of frustration when you first became famous?

Yeah, I went to India one time early on in my career and met these children at orphanages. They had survived terrible sexual abuse and were put in an orphanage. They were so amazing and beautiful and shining. I just couldnt believe it. I was so shocked by their stories and just the power of their strength and will to survive and recover. Then, in the middle of that experience, I had a phone interview with an English magazine and it was the most shallow interview Ive ever done, where theyre like, What is your favorite makeup product?

So, the nameless should be famousis just whats important in life and lets talk about that stuff. And what does famous mean? What is it, actually? Its a currency. Ive experienced fame. My songs have taken a life of their own in the world and it just makes you go, What do I want to say?I better say some stuff that really matters.

Are empowering anthems more important now than ever?

Yes, definitely. Look at Netflix comedy: its on the rise. Theres so much comedy because people need to laugh. People need reasons to feel good. I feel like people are overwhelmed by a sea of negative stuff and need things that lift them up. When Im getting inspired, thats the kind of stuff that Im hearing. When someone comes to my show, I want them to come away with some kind of solution or a release of some kind.

What was on your mind while you were recording these songs?

My album is about movements. That was one of my main themes. Movements are what are going to change the world people getting together and actually doing something, like getting angry enough. Not just complaining, and not just thinking about it, but finding your power and actually doing something about it. Not just festering, not just boiling. Not losing your hope, actually being active. And anger has a purpose and a place, and a lot of times, especially women, were not allowed to be angry; its not feminine and its been demonized to be angry. The angry woman is just a stereotype.

Youve been in the business for nearly two decades. How has pop music evolved in the way it approaches politics and social issues? I mean, even Taylor Swift is making political statements about the LGBTQ community and gender equality now. Do you see a shift?

When I started out, people would say, Youre just here to entertain. Dont make waves.People say that to women a lot too, but especially in pop music theres a lot of control. The gatekeepers arent there anymore. Anyone can release an (album). But how do you get heard above all the noise? Say something that means something.

Im guessing at the start of your career you couldnt have recorded a song like Hey Papa,which addresses Americas gun problem.

I mean, I did. I recorded lots of songs like that, but my label didnt like them. I write like three times as many songs as what gets on an album. When theres an album, I write almost 150 or 200 songs per album.

Whats an unreleased song you wrote at the beginning of your career that you wished people could hear?

I dont know, but its really hard because you get put into a box. I wrote a lot of songs that were more sad, but people always liked my happy songs. My husband, when he married me, was quite surprised that Im so pessimistic (laughs). A challenge for all creators is that we get instant feedback and there are things people like, so then you end up doing more of what they like.

As a musician, is it frustrating to be put in a box?

Its difficult when you are a people-pleaser. For example, Amy Winehouse: her song was about people telling her to go to rehab. She says no.She was an addict and she couldnt get the help she needed because she got positive affirmation; she was rewarded for saying she didnt want to go to rehab. So when you sing a song like that again and again, there’s no way you can ever get help. You positively reinforce an idea that you cant get healthy.

Do you feel like at this stage in your career you no longer have to be a people-pleaser?

Its hard. I love pleasing a crowd. I will run around like a headless chicken if it means people will clap. I just love it. I want people to sing along with me. The thing I find the hardest is when people dont sing along. If people are just sitting when I sing, for me Im like, Whats wrong? Get up!I dont get it. My music is a conversation and I live to see people join in. Its about the experience.

For The Hills: New Beginnings, the reboot of The Hills, you said that you re-recorded Unwritten,the original shows theme song, with a new frame of mind. How has your perspective on that song shifted?

I wrote the song for my own brother when he was 14. It really was specifically for him. But as Ive sung it around the world, and as Ive lived life, the song has become more for me, as well. Things I needed to hear. Even right now, as Im releasing an album, Im remembering how its all about enjoying yourself and taking risks. Sometimes well be on vacation and someone will jump off a rock and Im like, Eh, Ill sit that one out.Then I remember my song and Im like, Ah, its about living life to the fullest,and I have to get off my butt and join in.