Life has been good to Natalie, the R&B singer who's been heating up the charts with her smash debut single, "Goin' Crazy." Just two years after touring as a backup dancer for Frankie J, she's now opening up for him and Baby Bash on a sold-out national tour.
"It's weird when your dream comes true, and the way that it happened so unexpectedly and on its own timing, that just makes me appreciate everything more," the 25-year-old said. "I remember getting the call that my single was being played on the radio, but it didn't hit me until I saw the video on MTV, and then I was like, 'Oh my God!' "
Now Natalie is hoping for the same success with "Energy" featuring Baby Bash, her longtime friend. The song was originally slated to appear on Bash's forthcoming Super Saucy but was scrapped at the last minute and ended up on the Natalie's debut LP, which dropped last week.
" 'Energy' is a song that I wrote ... [and then] Bash and I collaborated in the studio and he gave me his thoughts and ideas and [I said], 'Why not take them?' " Natalie said. "Bash is my mentor in this business. He makes sure my head is on straight, and if I need anything, I can run to him. He's like family, period."
The two are currently sifting through treatments for a video scheduled to shoot at the end of May.
"I am a dancer, so for sure there'll be a lot of dancing, a lot of movement and a lot of green-screen action if that's the treatment we go with," said the former Houston Rockets dancer. "There'll be a lot of energy-type fresh stuff that the camera will work around. We're gonna go for a different look."
The Latina crooner is proud to say she penned all of Natalie with the exception of its two bonus tracks: the Spanish version of "Goin' Crazy," written by labelmate Frankie J, and "Where You Are" with Justin Roman, a "Making the Band" finalist who just signed to Latium Entertainment.
"For me as a new artist, it felt good to say, 'Wow, it's just me and my producer, and that's it, and that's what I'm giving to my fans who have embraced [me],' " she said.
Houston beatmaker Happy Perez produced the 12-track disc. "The way Happy and I were vibin' with each other, we were just on fire. We recorded five songs in a week and finished the whole album in a month. We just had great chemistry," she said.
Right now, Natalie is in the midst of her first national trek, the Latium tour, opening for her boys Bash and Frankie. Last weekend she opened up KIIS-FM's Wango Tango festival in Anaheim, California, for a crowd of 70,000 (see "Old Meets New As Gwen, Ciara, Simple Plan, Peas, J. Lo Rock Wango Tango"). She has also signed on to be the face for Zalia Cosmetics, which claims to be the first complete makeup line created by a Latina for Latinas.
"Sometimes when I'm alone in my hotel room, I'll sit back for a minute and just thank God for everything that He's done," Natalie said. "I'm truly blessed. My dream has come true."