Natasha Khan , known professionally as Bat for Lashes, is an English singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. She has released five studio albums: Fur and Gold , Two Suns , The Haunted Man , The Bride , and Lost Girls . She has received three Mercury Prize nominations. Khan is also the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the rock band Toy and producer Dan Carey.
Khan was born to an English mother and a Pakistani father, squash player Rehmat Khan. A member of the Khan family, she is the granddaughter of squash player Nasrullah Khan, the niece of squash players Jahangir Khan and Torsam Khan, the stepdaughter of singer and actress Salma Agha, and the half-sister of actress Sasha Agha.
The family moved to Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, when Khan was five years old. She attended many of her family's squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: "The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic, I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience." After her father left the family when Khan was eleven, she taught herself to play the piano, which became "a channel to express things, to get them out".
Khan was subject to racial abuse during secondary school due to her Pakistani heritage. She played truant and was suspended after swearing and throwing a chair at a teacher. She told The Daily Telegraph: "I was an outsider at school. When I came back from being suspended they had told the small group of friends that I did have there that they weren't allowed to talk to me because I was a really bad influence. Then it got quite lonely." After completing her GCSEs and A-Levels, Khan took a job in a card-packing factory where she would work while listening to songs she had made. She said: "My internal imaginary life was really fruitful at that time...All day long just listening and dreaming, while counting the cards to be packed." With money saved from the job, she embarked on a three-month road trip through the United States and Mexico.
After returning to the UK, Khan settled in Brighton in 2000 to study music and visual arts at the University of Brighton, where she produced sound installations, animations, and performances influenced by artists including Steve Reich and Susan Hiller. After finishing her degree, Khan completed an NVQ in play work and childcare, and worked as a nursery school teacher, dedicating her spare time to developing songs, recording demos, and gigging in Brighton. She has said the name Bat for Lashes "doesn't really mean anything It conjured up Halloween-y images, and it sounded metal and feminine.”
Khan's debut single, "The Wizard", was released digitally through Drowned in Sound records and on 7" vinyl through Khan's own imprint, She Bear Records. In 2006, she signed to Echo, a record label owned by independent publisher Chrysalis Music that acted as an incubator for artists before "upstreaming" them to major labels. Echo released her debut album, Fur and Gold, in September 2006. In 2007, Bat for Lashes and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, which re-released Fur and Gold the same year. A limited vinyl version was released by Los Angeles indie label Manimal Vinyl in May 2007. Fur and Gold reached number forty-eight on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold by the BPI for sales exceeding 100,000 copies. In 2007, Khan appeared at the Glastonbury Festival and toured the United States.