Natasha Aponte: “ALWAYS have a hard drive on you & bring it to every session!”

ALWAYS have a hard drive on you & bring it to every session! ALWAYS save your session to that hard drive and get another hard drive, in case of anything happening to the other hard drive. I can’t tell you how much I WISH someone would’ve told me this. Artists, make sure at the end […]

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ALWAYS have a hard drive on you & bring it to every session! ALWAYS save your session to that hard drive and get another hard drive, in case of anything happening to the other hard drive. I can’t tell you how much I WISH someone would’ve told me this. Artists, make sure at the end of sessions to back everything up to your hard drive. I’ve lost a couple golden sessions, because of computers crashing and not backing up any of the songs I’ve recorded up to a drive. I definitely learned the hard way with this one.

As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Natasha Aponte.

Natasha grew up in a Brooklyn-based Dominican and Puerto Rican household. Listening to artists like Prince, Mark Anthony, Whitney Houston and more, music was everywhere when she was a kid. That soulfulness was the leading influence in creating her own sound in order to encompass her diverse history and experiences.

Coming from a professional acting and classically trained background, her unique set of experience guided her through the composition and production of her newest single “Free”. With her music, Natasha wants to help create a fantasy where the world can melt away; introducing a peaceful escape for her and her fans.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in NYC and as a child we moved around a lot, spending the first half of my adolescence in Castle Hill (the Bronx) and Brooklyn. Ultimately, going to college in Manhattan, I was raised by a lot of different eclectic people, I was always imaginative, creative and musical in spirit. My childhood was filled with a lot of adults that were in pain, sad and suffering deeply. They allowed themselves to be victims of the systematic oppression that exists in NYC. My mother was a single mom and my father was not involved; they met when they were 14 and after 10+ years, it became toxic and violent, because no one taught them how to love. My dad left before I was born.

My home life was physically and mentally abusive which caused me to turn to the arts at a very very young age. Being primarily Puerto Rican and Dominican, music was filled in the homes and streets of all of my neighborhoods. Marc Anthony and Prince would be blasting in my house. My mother was a STAN of Prince and she would play “Purple Rain” on record, on repeat… and I mean ON repeat, especially after a heartbreak. I am a rose that grew through the concrete and instead of being a victim and product of my environment, I observed and saw how my family who had so much oppression and bad experiences thrown at them, still have the motivation to LIVE, because of music. I internalized this and music has been my saving grace, my therapist, my confidant, and my own best friend.

I was kicked out at 15 and from that point onward I slept on trains, couches, my best friends house and pretty much anywhere I could. During the abuse and neglect of my parents, the one thing that I could go to to soothe my soul was singing. I would sing myself to sleep, then wake up singing & dancing all day — Everyone in school would call me a walking musical. Even though I wouldn’t talk much, I actually was mute for a large part of my life other than singing. Our schools were horrible and oftentimes, my teachers would also abuse and neglect me. My high school teacher told me “why should I teach you when you’re just going to end up pregnant and on welfare.” The truth is, that is a very real reality because of the systems in place. I’m very lucky, because where I come from, to even be where I am at today… being the first person in my family to graduate college and travel to 32 countries….I am nothing short of a miracle. Even though I grew up impoverished and indeed was under constant abuse, my childhood developed me into a person, that is deeply empathic, street and book smart. It created a resilient unbreakable soul and a deeply empathetic being that can capture all of my experiences and essence of my soul into music.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

My childhood for sure, but in particular, at my 3rd grade talent show, we had to pick our talent and perform in front of the entire school (and parents). I always knew I could sing, so I decided to sing. I was so nervous… I just kept talking to everyone backstage and no one could get me to shut up. But once I got on that stage, the world melted away. I just stood there and sang my 8-year-old heart out. The rush and connection I felt to everyone in the audience was something I still can’t find the words to describe, but it was euphoric. I remember thinking this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I went on every singing audition you can think of as a kid. Oftentimes, I often added a couple of years to my real age when they asked, because I was always too young. After I auditioned for The Voice, I made it to the 3rd round before they figured out my real age which was always “way too young.” I decided I have to do something creative while I wait for my age to not be such an issue. This led me into acting, which then led me to my infamous and definitely the most interesting role ever. The Tinder experiment, that still this day holds such an important message and conversation that is very much still needed. It was something that happened effortlessly. I was tending #1 around the world for 2 weeks and it was insane. I was just happy to stand up in front of the world and hold a big fat mirror and say “look at yourselves”, “look at what you’re doing and saying online, to womxn online!” I just remember thinking before I joined the project, why is no one talking about this? Why is no one standing up and showing the world how hateful and abhorrent people are online, using such an incredible and powerful tool, the internet, to bully and demean one another. After the project was over, it was a topic that almost everyone was discussing and reflecting on.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Forgetting my lyrics on stage. At the time, I was mortified, but now I look back and laugh because I was having so much fun onstage that I got caught up in the moment and forgot the lyrics. No one noticed, but in my head I was like “ahhhh”…I just ended up speaking to the audience and saying “how is everyone doing tonight” and it was a smooth transition. I definitely learned that forgetting lyrics or any sort of dance moves on stage is okay, it happens. It’s about the way you handle it that matters…I learned that sometimes I can’t control everything, especially while on stage singing live. There’s going to be moments where I have to think quickly on my feet.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My album! It had been the most exciting and best experience so far. I’m just thrilled to have a body of work that’ll introduce the world into who I am and my sound. All I can say is keep an eye out for it summer.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I would like to shift the narrative on asking people of color how important it is to have diversity. Of course it’s important to showcase all walks of life, no matter what color, cultural background, shape or size you are. I think the conversation and questions like these have been over-asked and explained multiple different ways. The truth is, we live in a world filled with billions of different people. I think it’s important to reflect what our society and the world looks like in reality through the mass media. The world is a melting pot, filled with multi-dimensional beings that are mixed with multiple cultural backgrounds in this day and age. I’m not so concerned about explaining why diversity is important but I think everyone would love to see people they can relate to living a human experience and not so much focusing on what makes them “different” or “diverse”. Instead, just a person that many people can find relatable and I believe that it is more than obvious that these should include the larger make-up of our population, which is people of color.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

ALWAYS have a hard drive on you & bring it to every session! ALWAYS save your session to that hard drive and get another hard drive, in case of anything happening to the other hard drive. I can’t tell you how much I WISH someone would’ve told me this. Artists, make sure at the end of sessions to back everything up to your hard drive. I’ve lost a couple golden sessions, because of computers crashing and not backing up any of the songs I’ve recorded up to a drive. I definitely learned the hard way with this one.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take yourself out of the race. Stop competing and comparing, ask yourself why are you even on this journey? What is your driving force? If your driving force is to elevate, make music to heal and add to the collective, then continue your journey and enjoy every single moment of it. Embrace your mistakes, research the business side of music and the legality of it as much as possible. It’s also very important to know that when you prioritize self-love and take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, and create a deep inner relationship with the world within you, you will never burn out. Go out and live your life, there’s a whole world waiting for you to experience it. Fuel yourself with constant knowledge, love, and experiences, you’ll only thrive and flourish. Be confident in your skin, there’s more than enough room in the world for you to thrive. There is no rush, trust the process. TRUST yourself.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I don’t believe in movements, I believe in action. My second world tour will be only for womxn. I will be the first artist to hold an all female sold out world tour. Womxn are the gatekeepers and the reason why any of us are here in the first place. After all the constant abuse, degradation, trauma and neglect we constantly face, I think it’s important for womxn to see how much power we have. My concerts will ultimately be a safe healing place, to see all different versions of ourselves reflected back. All I can give away is that holding safe spaces for womxn to heal and unite all around the world. It’ll most definitely be not only an enormous influence, but a game changer for how we interact and relate to one another. When womxn are healed and set the tone then the rest of the world has no option but to follow suit and match our energy.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The matriarch of my family, my grandmother. My grandmother is the definition of strength and life. She grew up with a certain set of beliefs, her own trauma and experiences and our rekindling of our relationship a couple of years ago has healed both her and me. She is my rock, she sees me, my vision and never fails to fuel me with encouragement and guidance. She is my best friend, there’s infinite amount of gratitude that I have for her. Her faith and full acceptance of me has propelled me to where I am today, she is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about pursuing my dreams. My grandmother sacrificed her entire life for her family, she wasn’t allowed to pursue her career as a professional ballerina, because of her fathers strict “women are to be married and only in the kitchen’’ toxic masculinity mind-set. Because of her sacrifices for me to be here, I will continue to make my dreams a reality, because my dreams are her dreams and her dreams are mine. She deserves to see that all she went through wasn’t in vain. Her sacrifices are the reason I am the story.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have two “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” — Audrey Hepburn

And one that I cultivated through life experiences is that “In a world that promotes hate, choose LOVE as an act of rebellion.” The most glorious gift I’ve ever given myself was running towards myself when I was at the lowest of lows, I chose self-acceptance, self-love and peace. Once I did that, the world around me changed, I became a magnet to those things, people and experiences that resonated with my frequency. My life has never been the same ever since I stopped looking outside of myself for love and healing. Life became less about me, and more about what I can do to heal and service others.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Beyoncé, she’s the epitome of an independent, driven, self-reliant womxn. I have so many questions and would love to listen to her advice/wisdom that she would have. I’m in awe of her career, I feel that she has dipped her toes in every water and continues to push her limits and compete with the other versions of herself. As a womxn that’s building myself to be at that level, I would love to just pick her brain, for lack of a better term.

How can our readers follow you online?

I’m on Instagram @iamnatashaaponte

Twitter @imnatashaaponte

Tiktok: @natashaaponteofficial

And My website

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