Holland-born artist Natalie La Rose’s journey from Europe to L.A. is made for the movies; her tenacity landed her in front of rapper Flo Rida and the rest, they say, is history. Her debut bouncy and playful single, "Somebody," featuring Jeremih, reached the No. 1 position on Billboard's Rhythmic Airplay chart.
The Dutch artist chatted with Singersroom about her determination-driven journey from Holland to her discovery in the U.S., her sound, her style and her hair secrets.
Check it out!
You left Amsterdam for L.A. to follow your dreams about 6 years ago, very inspirational story. Tell us about your journey.
I knew at a very young age that I wanted to move to America because I was so inspired by music videos I saw on TV at home. Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Destiny’s Child, J. Lo, so I told my parents whenever I graduate school, I’m outta here, I’m flying to the States. Holland is such a tiny country, so can you imagine what the music industry is like? It’s really not big enough for the plan I had for myself. So when I graduated school, I moved to L.A, I was alone, and I started this journey, a really big adventure. I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy.
I started dancing doing auditions, which was pretty tough because I’m taller than the average dancer so I never really fit into ensembles if they needed a group of dancers. That was super frustrating for me. There were days where I called my parents and was like, “I don’t know what to do, I’m not making any money. I’m trying to do my music, but it’s just not going anywhere.” And my parents would tell me, “Nat, it’s ok if you wanna come home to Amsterdam, we’re here, no one’s gonna think anything of it, just know that.” And I was like, “No, I’m not giving up, I gotta keep going. I can’t go home, cause it would be all for nothing.” Then at a certain point I met Flo Rida, he was performing in L.A., that’s where I was living at the moment. I was always on a mission in L.A. I was always focused, like “what do I have to accomplish today, what do I have to do for it?” And that day it was meeting Flo Rida and telling him that I wanted to work with him. So, I got the chance to meet him and I said exactly that; I said “Hey Flo, my name is Natalie, we should work together,” And he was like “Well, ok, just come by the studio tomorrow, we’re working on a song called “Wild Ones” and why don’t you play your music for me or maybe help us write.” So I went to the studio and got the chance to play my music and show my dance videos, and he loved it. I started going with him on tour, and I eventually signed to his label as his artist.
At one point, I was just like I need to make some moves right now, I need to take control of my own destiny and I’m so glad I did. It was the right time, and I’ve come across a lot of different situations already, music industry people who promise you something but never follow through. You know what they say about the music industry, and it was exactly that. What I’m telling you, it sounds really easy, like it all went like that, but that was one of the many things I did to get the opportunity to showcase my music.
How do you feel when people say you remind them of Aaliyah? Have you ever heard that before?
(Laughs) I heard that a lot, I see it on my Instagram a lot. That’s a really huge compliment. She was a beautiful girl, beautiful soul, too. I definitely grew up listening to her music. I think it’s an amazing thing that I remind people of her. It brings her back to life a little bit, maybe? I think it’s great.
How did your single, “Somebody,” with Jeremih, come about?
I started writing the song with Flo Rida and another writer. We created the song, but we didn’t have a hook yet; the little part that we used the Whitney Houston song [“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”], we didn’t have that catchy hook yet. We were sitting in the studio for hours and hours brainstorming ideas, and all of a sudden, Flo was like [sings] “I wanna rock with somebody.” And we were all like “Whoa, that’s so cool! Let’s use it!” So initially I recorded the full song with just me, but we agreed we needed a male vocal on it. So our immediate choice was Jeremih because he's huge right now; “Don’t Tell ‘Em,” great, great radio voice, so we thought he would be perfect for it. So we played the song for him, he loved it, he got on it, and we were right, it sounded great, and that’s when the song was ready to go.
Tell us about the EP you’re working on.
I’ve been in full recording mode in past weeks in L.A. We just have to pick the songs that we like. It’s gonna be a 4 or 5 song EP; It’s gonna be rhythmic, danceable, energetic and pop with a little bit of soulfulness in it.
Do you have a title for the project?
We have an idea, I don’t think I can announce it yet because it’s not official, but we’re gonna announce it very soon.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I grew up listening to a lot of different music, 80s Pop, 80s R&B, love Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. My mom used to listen to Chaka Khan a lot around the house, my dad listed to a lot of modern jazz, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. I heard a lot of different music. 90s R&B, a little bit of everything, really.
How would you describe your style?
I would say it’s pretty experimental, it’s very fun, playful. I like to mix it up a lot. I like to have a boyish look with a feminine touch to it or a retro style, I love 80s fashion, too. Crop tops, love black leather pants. A little bit of everything, I like to mix and match.
Do you have any beauty secrets? Your hair is gorgeous!
Thank you! I have a really good curling iron wand, so I like to keep the frizziness in my own hair and put a little curl here and there, so it has the volume and a little bit of structure in it. So definitely the wand helps a lot with that.
You're very much rooted in dance as well. Are you professionally trained?
I actually am; I went to an arts academy where for eight years I did dancing from morning to the evening five days a week. It was all styles of dance: hip-hop, rap, ballet, jazz, contemporary, and next to that I did singing and acting, it was all a part of the curriculum.
Can you see yourself pursuing acting too?
I would love that. I’ve actually done a musical in my home country, High School Musical, and I played the role of Taylor Mckessie. That’s more theater acting, but I would love to more movie or TV acting.