An incredible energy radiated from the stage. Before us was a band that captivated the crowd effortlessly—everywhere I turned people smiled. Band Suo graciously entertained the crowd of the Miami spring beer festival with their original sound. I will admit that I was rather surprised to be hearing a local live band that was actually this good.
Let’s be honest here, local live bands sometimes are not the best. But on this day, it all felt right–the beer, the extravagant activities, and especially the music. A wonderful trifecta for Miami, the city that always craves entertainment. And none of this delight could have happened without the lead singer, Natalie Perez, who sang confidently from the stage all night long.
After that day, I kept hearing little tidbits of information from local Miami news about Natalie Perez, which always piqued my interest. I learned that she isn’t just a singer, she’s multi-faceted woman driven by passion for music. Years later, I was honored with the opportunity to interview this lively woman for HipLatina.
HipLatina: When did you start performing?
Natalie Perez: I was 17.
HL: How did you know this was your calling?
NP: The way it found me. In 2005, my brother passed away, which was incredibly painful. That same week I agreed to have a little performance (by this time I was still in high school) in order to celebrate his life. While singing, I immediately knew that he was always going to be with me. Now I feel him even more than before, and that’s all thanks to music.
HL: I’m so sorry to hear that. At least your passion has allowed you to feel him closer to you nowadays. Were you always planning on being a musician before that?
NP: (Laughs) Well, no. For the longest I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. It’s quite funny because the day that I went to register to the medical program from the university of my choice, I somehow ended up in their music department. I felt alive, I felt at home, and I couldn’t deny the happiness I felt at that moment—so without thinking about it, I changed my major. Today, I am pleased to say that I successfully graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music with a specialty in Voice from Barry University.
HL: It’s extremely important to follow your heart in life. I loved that you did that. How does it feel to be living your dream?
NP: Honestly? It feels as though I am hitting a home run and all the bases are loaded.
HL: Even though I don’t understand baseball, that does sound exciting! (Laughs) So tell us, do you sing in Spanish?
NP: Yes, I do. At times, I sing boleros in private. I thank my abuela for that. She was the one that introduced me to boleros and all that classical Spanish music most of us have grown up with. She too was a singer in her time. I still carry memories of us singing in her car when I was younger.
HL: I seriously love abuelas. What was you and your abuela’s background?
NP: Proudly of Cuban descent.
HL: Nice! Now, aside from all the great things you’ve told us about yourself, what other things define you?
NP: Definitely my family, my love for harmony, and being able to respect others. I believe respect should never be lost, which is why I constantly strive to keep my cool.
HL: It’s truly admirable that you have such an emphasis on respect. One should never forget about that. Okay, it’s time to ask you a juicy question–what’s been your most memorable moment in your ENTIRE life?
NP: (Smiles large and tears up) Finding the love of my life, Stephanie, and marrying her. Growing up in a Roman Catholic environment, I was taught that marriage was a union that should be forever and that is what I intend to do with her.
HL: Wow. That took my breath away. Is it okay if I cry during an interview? Okay, okay, sorry! Let me focus. On to the next question–what do you think has been your greatest struggle?
NP: Well, I’ll have to say it’s finding self-confidence in my voice, in my life, and in my path.
HL: Oh, I can only imagine how that must be. It’s quite easy to get intimidated in any type of industry. Thankfully, there’s always personal motivation. What keeps you motivated?
NP: This is an easy one. It’s my wife and the thought of a growing family. I want to make sure I build a nice nest for our future children.
HL: With such big plans for your future and growing family, do you do anything else aside from singing in Band Suo?
NP: Yes, I’m also a music teacher. I teach to elementary school students in aftercare programs and sometimes I teach piano and voice privately.
HL: That’s incredible! Any future plans?
NP: I actually want to go back to school to become a Physician’s Assistant. My body ticks to become a PA and I will follow through with that as well. I never did stop loving medicine, so now I will go after that dream.
HL: It’s great that you always go after what you want. That’s really amazing. So, we are now at the end of the interview. Any words of advice for our HipLatina readers before we go?
NP: Somebody once asked me, “What’s the rush?” and that question has impacted the way I’ve carried out my life ever since. Listen, your time is your time. Life is going to evolve with or without you. All you have to do is prepare yourself properly so when your moment comes, you are ready.
HL: Great advice. That is completely true. Anyway Natalie, thank you for having us. It was truly a pleasure. We hope you accomplish all your goals and much more!
Follow Natalie Perez on social media here: Instagram: @jusnat, Twitter: @jusnat327
–Guisell Gomez is an ambitious young writer from Miami, Florida. Follow her blog at guisell.gomez.wordpress.com.