Natalie La Rose Talks Breakthrough Hit “Somebody,” Her Debut EP & Flo Rida: Idolator Interview

Mike Wass | March 30, 2015 6:30 am
Natalie La Rose's "Somebody" Video
Natalie La Rose is shaping up to be the first break-out artist of 2015. Watch her video.

With debut single “Somebody” hovering just outside the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it’s currently sitting pretty at number 13), Natalie La Rose is shaping up to be the first breakout pop star of 2015. Her cute interpolation of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is seemingly unstoppable and she has rap mogul Flo Rida in her corner. As such, it’s about time we learned a little more about the Next Big Thing.

I recently caught up with the 26-year-old and asked about her breakthrough hit, musical beginnings as part of duo Amsterdam and upcoming debut EP. Natalie also spilled the beans on the long list of producers she has worked with and shared some interesting tidbits about her boss and mentor. There was also some chit chat about the Dutch music scene and her inspirations, which include Whitney and Mariah Carey. Read on below.

Did you expect “Somebody” to blow up like this?
I love the song personally. For me, it was a great song to come out with. I was hoping other people would be as excited. This really goes beyond my expectations really. It’s spreading like wildfire. Even overseas. I get tweets from people saying, “I love Somebody. It’s such a bop.” I’m not really sure what it means, but I figure [the term] os not from this country.

Who came up with the idea of using the Whitney Houston sample?
That was actually Flo Rida. I’m signed to his label, I.M.G. We actually wrote the song together with another writer called Rook Monroe. We had the whole song, just that catchy part was missing. We were like, what can we do to make it really, really stick in your head? A couple hours later, Flo just came up with it.

Did you have to clear the sample through her estate?
We definitely had to clear it. We got it done nice and easy.

Do they like it?
I’ve never had a conversation with them personally. I hope they like it.

I read that you basically went up to Flo Rida at a party and said: “I’m amazing. Sign me.” Is it true?
Yeah. I kind of did that! I was living in LA. I was on a mission that day and I heard Flo Rida was in town. I had to meet him. When I met him, I said, Flo, “my name is Natalie and we should work together.” I think he admired my guts, my balls. He gave me a shot. I played my music for him, showed my dance videos and he loved it.

What is it about Flo Rida that made you want to work with him?
What I think is so great about him is that he has this international world power. I have a vision for myself. I want the world to love my music, not only a part of the world, just everybody. I want to make music for everybody. He does such a great job with that. I was like, he’s the perfect person to help me with that.

From what I understand you started off as part of a duo…

That didn’t quite click but now it’s all happening. Is it a relief?
It’s really a lot of weight is coming off of my shoulder. I was so used to doing everything myself. Promoting myself, approaching people, “Please listen to my music” or “Please see this” or “Please believe in my project.” Now I have the greatest team around me. I have Republic records. They’re amazing at what they do, they’re on top right now. Flo Rida and his team, IMG, I’m in such good hands. It’s like I don’t have to do it myself anymore, they’re helping me, which is great.

What kind of music did Amsterdam make?
It was very fun. It was very playful.

I want to hear it. Is it online?
No. We don’t have anything online. We did have a little online where we – it was a compilation, snippets of our songs and us dancing that is online. We had so much fun. It was me and my best friend. We did it since we were 12 years old for so long. It didn’t work out unfortunately, but I’m definitely looking forward, when we both have the time, to do something together. We’re very busy right now, both.

There are a bunch of artists breaking big from the Netherlands. Martin Garrix and bunch of DJs. What’s going on?
Yeah Mr. Probz. Afrojack, Tiesto. DJ Chuckie. It’s pretty crazy actually.

What’s in the water?
I don’t know! I just think there’s a lot going on as far as arts and culture so there’s a lot of things to be inspired by. The neighborhood I grew up in, Southeast Amsterdam, was a lot of different cultures and music and art, so that definitely gave me the chance to soak up everything and create my passion for music and dancing.

How did someone from the Netherlands get a taste for hip hop?
It’s pretty funny because I grew up with lots of different kinds of music. My mom used to listen to Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker. My dad is a great modern jazz listener. Herbie Hancock and everything. Me myself, I listened to Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder. In the nineties, nineties R&B. I just heard a little bit of everything. When you hear my music, it’s not one thing, it has a mixture of flavors. It’s not pure R&B, it’s not pure pop, it’s just rhythmic.

Is that the sound that we can expect from — are you going with an EP or an album?
An EP first. Definitely rhythmic and energetic music. Playful. I want to be able to build a show around my music.

Is it finished?
Yes. I recorded a bunch of songs. We still have to decide what we want on the EP.
Who are some of the people you worked with?
One of the producers is Cook Classics. He did “Somebody” together with The Futuristics. They’re all so good. I worked with them. I’ve worked with RedOne. Rock City.

What a line-up! Are there any other songs that include samples?
There might… maybe a song might have a little quote from a song.

What’s one thing that might surprise people about Flo Rida?
He’s very fanatical with working out. You can see that. He’s pretty big. He actually just did a workout DVD. That’s what a lot of people might not know. He released his own workout DVD.

It’s actually a really good one.

I want a copy!
You should definitely check it out. It’s called FLO FIT.

I definitely need to get Flo Fit…
He’s a very hard worker. He will start at 8pm on a song and he will leave the next day at noon to finish it, which I have a lot of respect and admiration for. I want to be like that. I want to be working just as hard or harder than him.

Watch Natalie’s pastel-colored “Somebody” video:

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