B&E: Natalie

Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Natalie.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering the Billboard charts.

Twenty five-year-old Natalie got her first big break as an dancer for the National Basketball League's (NBA) Houston Rockets. Having always admired Paula Abdul, she hoped to one day follow in Abdul's footsteps and go from the parquet floor to the world stage. Now, she's on her way to doing just that.

Natalie's self-titled debut, released on Latium/Universal, entered The Billboard 200 last week at No. 16.

Natalie wrote 10 of the 12 tracks on the album, which is full of wispy R&B vocals and smooth rhythms. In addition to her first single, "Goin' Crazy," which recently peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's Hot 100, it includes collaborations with Baby Bash and "Making the Band" finalist Justin Roman, plus a remake of the 1980s Nu Shooz hit, "I Can't Wait."

"I wanted something simple -- simplicity works for me," Natalie says. "I started out as a rapper, so my sound and my writing is different. My songs are real laid back, and my vocals lay over the beat easy. Plus there's a real chemistry between me and my producer, Happy [Perez]. We both have a desire and a fire."

Natalie is the latest Mexican-American to find success with Latium Entertainment -- its roster also includes Baby Bash, Frankie J and Perez, who has worked with Jadakiss, Trick Daddy and Master P. In fact, Natalie, Baby Bash and Frankie J are currently on the road together on the Latium tour.

"Just two years ago I was touring with Frankie J as a choreographer and dancer," she notes. "Now, we're selling out 13,000 [seats], and they all came to see us! It's just been one blessing after another."

Onstage, Natalie never loses touch with her love of choreography. "I'm a performer at heart; it's in my blood," she says. "I try to be a great entertainer so that when people leave the show, they go out and buy my CD. It's an amazing feeling."

As for comparisons to Abdul, Natalie considers them a compliment and hopes that she can achieve the same success and then some. "I'm a big dreamer," she says. "I hope to go platinum with this album, and maybe win some music awards. But just being able to put out a second album will be a blessing."

Although she has no specific plans to go back into the studio just yet, Natalie is always thinking about the future. "Happy and I are on tour together, so we're always writing and talking about getting back in the studio," she notes. "I'm so pumped up right now, I don't want this to stop!"

The Latium tour runs through late June in the United States, and then it will head to Japan and Europe. At the same time, Natalie will be promoting her own make-up line, the Goin' Crazy Collection by Zalia Cosmetics.

Artist site: www.nataliemusic.com
Label sites: www.latiument.com