By Geoffrey Rowlands
It takes courage and determination to leave your family home in Amsterdam and build a new life alone in Los Angeles at just 20 years of age. These were the qualities shown by singer/ dancer Natalie La Rose when she decided the change of location was needed to further her career.
“I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere in the Netherlands,” she remarked. “I’d always had this belief that America was the place to be for me. Maybe I wanted everything to happen too fast. But that’s what I thought five years ago when I made the move.”
Natalie’s love for singing and dancing dates back to her childhood. Anyone who arrived at her house was usually treated to a performance from Natalie and her sister.
“I suppose it wasn’t so great for family friends who got at least a song if not a full show whenever they called at the house. They must have always felt obliged to say nice things about us. But I just wanted to perform and roped my sister into the act.”
Her sister did not accompany Natalie to Los Angeles. But it was perhaps significant that what looked like being her break into the music business came through partnering with Sigourney Korper in a duo called Amsterdam.
“I hadn’t thought of it in those terms but maybe having another girl with me was kind of like a substitute for my sister. It didn’t work out though. We got a record deal and recorded some songs but nothing was ever released. It wasn’t the right situation or the right time.”
Natalie’s bold, assertive and some might say pushy attitude did set her on the road to the US chart success she enjoys today. In 2011, while attending a party after the ESPY Awards show, this unknown girl walked up to rap star Flo Rida and told him they were going to work together.
“I think he was taken aback that I could say this to him. But he was also intrigued to discover if someone who was so open about their intention could actually deliver the goods. Whatever it was, he invited me to his studio to see what I could do.
“I took some of the songs I’d already recorded and also showed him my dance videos. I guess he must have been pretty impressed because he invited me to go on tour with him and we’ve worked together ever since.”
Flo Rida’s world tours spanned most of the next two years. It was 2013 before Natalie signed a record deal with his International Music Group label.
“I wasn’t just touring with Flo. I was also dancing in videos. I guess the most attention-grabbing of these was playing Lloyd’s former girlfriend in his ‘Dedication to my Ex’ video.”
Work on Natalie’s solo career did not begin in earnest until last year. Her debut single, Somebody, was inspired by Natalie’s love for Whitney Houston songs.
“We had this idea to base a song around Whitney’s first big hit, I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Getting permission to use a sample was pretty difficult. We were in the process of creating the song in Miami when Jeremih was there doing a Big Dreams for Kids Back to School event. Flo invited him to add a rap to the track and he nailed it on the first take.
“There was no grand plan to get Jeremih involved. He just happened to be in Miami at the right time. His rap adds that extra something which makes the track really special.”
Natalie couldn’t be happier with her debut release.
“It has a soulfulness and a great groove. Being a dancer, it’s very important to me that my music has a nice beat. It’s a feel-good, fun and funky song. I love to be around people, have a great time and dance. That’s exactly what ‘Somebody’ is all about.”
Her debut album should be released later this year but the plan is for it to be preceded by an EP.
“That’s the idea at present. I’m continually working on new material. I guess releasing an EP or going straight to an album will probably depend on how quickly I can record enough songs to fill an album with what I regard as top quality tracks.”
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