The second-season winner of "Objetivo Fama" makes her mark with debut single and album.On her debut album, Anaís asks listeners to accept her "asi soy yo," just as I am.
It was that straightforward attitude that helped the 21-year-old Dominican singer become the season two winner of "Objetivo Fama," a talent show similar to "American Idol" that airs in Puerto Rico and the United States.
That exposure has helped her skyrocket to the top of the Latin charts.
Anaís' first single, "Lo Que Son Las Cosas" -- a cover of an Ednita Nazario song that she performed on the show -- has spent the past five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart. Meanwhile, her Univision Records album, "Asi Soy Yo," is No. 12 on the Top Heatseekers list and No. 14 on the Top Latin Albums tally.
Between promotional gigs, Anaís, whose first language is Spanish, spoke to Billboard.com about her current wave of success.
"I feel like a ping-pong ball," laughs the Bronx, N.Y.-based artist about her whirlwind schedule since winning the competition one year ago. "But it's been fun, especially when I see the audience cheer for me."
On "Asi Soy Yo," Anaís showcases her personality and vocal range through a variety of styles, including tropical, pop, regional Mexican and reggaetón. The album was produced by Latin Grammy winner Sergio George (Marc Anthony, Tito Puente), and includes guest artists Bimbo and La Sister.
"When I was in the competition," she says, "I barely sang reggaetón and stuff like that, so we wanted to [be] different and show the audience things that I like by doing [various styles]. I'm showing my fans that I'm capable of singing anything. I wanted to give the audience a little of myself, because I'm very spontaneous."
While in the studio, though, she quickly learned that discipline must trump that carefree attitude when it comes to creating a successful album.
"I learned that if you want something to come out right you have to do it over, even though it gets you tired and you feel like you don't want to do it no more," she laughs. "I learned that in order for things to come out right and become close to perfect, you have to redo it."
"Not everything is glamorous," she adds. "All the glamour you see on TV, that's what [artists] create. You create your own environment around you as a person and as an artist. You are the one that decides how you want people to respect you and how you want people to see you as an artist. So if you come out on TV and be fake and stuff, you're not gonna be happy at the end of the day because you suffer the consequences. An artist is what they want to be, and I'm not fake."
That said, Anaís' main focus right now is on the Latin music community that gave her this chance, but she doesn't dismiss the possibility of crossing over into the mainstream market by recording in English.
"Some people have recommended [it] to me," she says, adding, "A lot of people start [by singing] Spanish and then they do the crossover. But I don't look at it that way; I would like to stay with my Hispanic people. In the future, though, I hope I'll have that type of [Anglo] crowd and be able to get into people's hearts, even if they don't understand me."