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Up Next: Meet Tatiana Hazel, The Chicago Indie Pop Singer-Songwriter Helping You Get Over Toxic Relationships

Up Next is a FIERCE series highlighting rising Latina and Latin American women artists you might not know about but definitely should.

When Tatiana Hazel was 13 years old, her expressive voice and original compositions about teenage heartbreak was drawing in thousands of listeners on YouTube — a sign that audiences were impressed by her talent, artistry and confidence to pursue music for real. Almost a decade later, that’s what she’s doing, trading in her webcam and parents’ hardwood floor for stages throughout her hometown of Chicago, where the singer-songwriter is becoming one of her city’s biggest estrellas del pop.

Self-managed, Hazel, 22, released her debut EP Toxic in July. More poppy, though hardly superficial, than her earlier guitar-strumming folkloric songwriting, the eight-track project delves into the good, the bad and the painfully ugly of toxic relationships. “I wasted all this time trying to be someone you might like, and I lost myself the moment I met you,” she opens the first single, “Knew You Would,” of her EP before jumping into a Spanglish chorus that asks a question every confused and mistreated girl has raised to a former love: “Yo te quiero a ti. Por qué eres así?”

“I feel a lot of people make a lot of excuses because they don’t want to leave, so I wanted to make something for people to relate to and work through those issues and let them go,” Hazel, who hopes the collection inspires fans to bow out of unhealthy relationships that no longer serve them, told FIERCE.

Exploring complicated but relatable topics over dreamily experimental beats, like her 2017 single “Losing My Mind,” which tackles mental health, isn’t uncommon for the first-generation Chicana. Her music, as well as her fashion line of her namesake, is as multidimensional as she is, sewing together English and Spanish, metallic chains and florals, and an early devotion to rock with a current appetite for pop.

We chatted with the up-and-comer about her Selena love, overcoming self-criticism, excelling as an independent artist, music as a tool for healing and forthcoming projects, among so much more.

Your style of music has been called folkloric pop, but it feels more nuanced than that. How would you describe your sound?

I guess I call it pop or indie pop, but then I have the Latin side that falls into different genres, like dembow. I have a new song that’s more like reggaeton.

You credit Joanna Newsom and Kurt Cobain as some of your biggest musical inspirations. Are any Latinx artists who have played similar roles for you?

Yeah, I mean, growing up I didn’t really have any I knew of. It wasn’t until I got older that I looked at Selena and her life. As an adult, I’m learning about so many other women in the music industry that maybe aren’t as mainstream but are still super inspiring. But, as far as Selena, her whole thing is inspiring because she was able to cross over. A lot of Latin artists haven’t been able to go over to the American market.

It’s not uncommon for you to sing in Spanglish. Why? Is that intentional? Is that just the consequence of being a songwriter who is bilingual?

It’s kind of intentional, but sometimes it just happens. If I can’t say something in English, then I will say it in Spanish. I grew up speaking both, so it was pretty natural for me to sing in both.

In the past, you’ve discussed being insecure about the vibrato of your voice. I remember an interview where bachatero Romeo said something similar about himself. How, as an artist, are you able to overcome this self-criticism and self-doubt, especially singing for a mass audience?

I guess I kind of just learned how to control it more or know more how to use it. It started with me working with other people and them telling me to do less, but now that I’m working on my own and producing my own stuff, I’ve learned how to use my voice in ways that I want to.  

Producing is something you started doing recently. Why did you want to start producing and how do you think it has helped you as an artist so far?

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New music next week ???????? Photo by @alexusmclane

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It mostly came out of me not being able to find a producer I wanted to work with, so I thought about doing it myself. But now I like it. It’s not just something I do out of necessity. I like the control it gives me of my own sound.

You released Toxic, a seven-track EP exploring the good, the bad and the very ugly of toxic relationships, this summer. Why did you want to touch on these themes?

I think it’s important for my own experiences but also for the people around me, other women in or who have been in toxic relationships. I feel a lot of people make a lot of excuses because they don’t want to leave, so I wanted to make something for people to relate to and work through those issues and let them go.

I feel like it’s become more common for women to identify toxicity in their relationships, whether they be romantic or platonic or familial. What role do you think music, including your own EP, plays in helping women navigate the decision of staying or leaving or even healing after a breakup from an unhealthy relationship?

I just try to write about it in a positive way. It’s not just, “oh, my relationship is over and now I’m heartbroken,” or, as you said, it doesn’t need to be romantic, so, “oh, I lost a friend. Now everything is horrible.” I want to show that it’s not the end of the world to separate yourself from someone.

You’re not just a singer, you’re also a fashion designer and have even expressed interest in creating paths for underprivileged youth in Chicago to break into music. What would that look like for you?

I’m not sure yet, but just like a center where people have equipment available to them. For me, for so long, I didn’t know what to have. There were a lot of things I wasn’t aware of, so having resources available for kids at an earlier age I think is great and something I want to do.

You were 13 years old when you started uploading videos on YouTube of you singing covers and original pieces. Did you know then that this was something you wanted to do in the long run?

When I was uploading the videos, I didn’t expect people to watch them as much as they did. But once I got messages saying, “oh, this song helped me through this hard time,” it made me want to take it seriously, and that was at like 13.

You haven’t been as present on social media lately because you are working on new music. What can you tell us about what’s coming up?

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Before, when there was less anticipation, I would post often about my new music and new designs. But now that people are like, “I can’t wait for your new music” or “I want to see new designs,” I feel like I want to keep some of it to myself and then release it all at once so that it’s more of a surprise.

Is there anything you can tell us, though? Did you mention an upcoming reggaeton joint?

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Who is she

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I’m releasing a new single on the 28th, which is in Spanish, and there will be a whole project after that. It’s really all over the place right now, so I’m not even sure what it’s going to be like.

You’re 22 years old, at the start of your career. In a few years, what do you hope the people can say about Tatiana Hazel?

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TOXIC EP coming July 27th ???? photography by @ddesigns_

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I just hope to inspire, specifically first-generation kids and even just kids in Mexico or Latin countries and show a different side of our culture. I also want to inspire independent artists, show them you can do whatever you want if you work hard enough. You don’t need a label.

You can listen to Tatiana Hazel below:

Read: Up Next: Meet Melii, The Harlem Dominican Rapper-Singer Making Explosive Club Bangers

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

Stay grateful you did not grow up in the era of Snapchat/ Instagram/ Facebook kids because you can delete but your recorded actions can still come back to bite. Cardi B knows the story. While the Afro-Latina queen of Trap isn’ making any apologies, the latest video to be dug up from her past is requiring her to give some answers.

Video of the singer, recalling a time in her life in which she felt forced to drug and rob men while seducing them has resurfaced.

Over the weekend, video of the “Money” rapper recalling how she used to drug and rob men resurfaced.

The video, which was recorded during an Instagram live broadcast, sees Cardi as she goes on a tearful verbal tirade about her past. This after, someone apparently questioned her success and accused her of not “putting in no fucking work.”

“I had to go ‘oh yeah, you wanna fuck me? Yeah yeah yeah let’s go to this hotel.’ And then I’d drug [expletivie] up and I’d rob them. That’s what I used to do.”

Users online were quick to comment.

“The fact that cardi b admitted to drugging and robbing men she would take back to a hotel for sex blows my mind,” wrote Twitter user @itsangelaa. “That’s not ‘keeping it real.’ that’s a crime.”

“I wonder what woulda happened if it were the other way round,” @BTSisthecauseo5 commented.

At the onset of the backlash, the rapper seemed to take the comments rather lightly.

The following day she also tweeted “IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE, IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE and I love it.”

On Tuesday, however, after users on Instagram and Twitter continued to simmer, she was forced to issue comment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bve_d3sFet7/

In a post to her Instagram, the rapper responded to the comments about the video by saying: “I’m a part of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are.”


Read:After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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Up Next: Meet Katalina, The Colombian Funny Girl-Turned-Pop Singer You Need To Know

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Up Next: Meet Katalina, The Colombian Funny Girl-Turned-Pop Singer You Need To Know

Up Next is a FIERCE series highlighting rising Latina and Latin American women artists you might not know about but definitely should.

Katalina is used to the spotlight. For years, the colombiana has cultivated an audience of millions on Instagram with her hilarious short videos about relationships and womanhood. But now, the social media influencer-turned-singer is using her mic to explore these themes.

Debuting her first song, “Sacude,” a carefree pop-urban dance jam, last November, the Miami-living entertainer followed up this month with the heartbreaking ballad “Adios” featuring Cuban-American singer JenCarlos Canela, showing her musical versatility.

“With me, there will definitely be both. This is something I think I have been very clear about,” Katalina, 27, told FIERCE. “I feel that music is more free now and you do not have to limit yourself to only one genre. I like challenges and I dislike routine, so you can always expect a mix.”

We chatted with the rising star about her lifelong love of singing, transitioning from social media influencer to music artist, saying goodbye to loved ones and what to expect from the beauty in the months that follow.

FIERCE: Most people who are familiar with Katalina know you as a social media influencer with hilarious videos, but last year you took the leap into music. Why?

Katalina: I have always liked to sing. I come from a very musical and talented family, but we always practiced it as a hobby. A year ago, I gave myself the opportunity to develop it professionally with my manager, Kito Sunshine, and I am totally grateful and in love with this. Music is what I love the most — it frees me.

FIERCE: Was this shift from social media influencer to singer strategic? Did you know you always wanted to sing and saw social media as an avenue to build your popularity and get you there or was this an unexpected but welcomed outcome?

Katalina: Since I was a little girl, I have known that I liked to sing and play the piano. From 9 to 11 years old, I sang in the choir of a church when I lived in Colombia, and for me it was something magical, so I’ve always known it. As far as social media, I entered by accident, but from the first day, I enjoyed the opportunity to reach so many people and show them my musical side as well. It was not a strategy. I did not upload many videos singing, but people motivated me more and more to try to develop music professionally, so I gave myself the opportunity, and, well, here we are.

FIERCE: But you’re not just a pretty girl with a following who is trying to use her fame to dabble in something she has no business doing. You are talented! Still, several social media influencers have attempted to break into music, some like Cardi B and Jenn Morel finding success, but others not so much, oftentimes not because they lack talent but rather because they’re not taken as seriously. What has this transition been like for you?

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Katalina: It is a bit difficult for people to see social influencers in another facet that they are not used to, but, in my case, I always showed them that musical side, so it was not totally a surprise. The same people asked me and the reception was very special. I hope to reach many people with my music.

FIERCE: As you stated, you have been passionate about singing and playing the piano since you were a child. What sort of music did you grow up listening to and how do you think it’s influenced your Latin pop sound today?

Katalina: I grew up listening to a lot of pop and ballads. My mom always listened to this music, so she did influence me a lot. I remember locking myself in my room and practicing these songs all the time. I still do this.

FIERCE: Colombian music is having a major global moment right now. What do you think you bring to the game that’s different and helps you stand out among the rest?

Katalina: Together with my work team we are creating our own seal. Our sounds are different and the vocal arrangements are unique to what we want to project. We are focused on the urban wave but keeping my romantic side.

FIERCE: I can see that for sure! You recently released “Adios,” a ballad featuring Cuban-American artist Jencarlos Canela about saying goodbye to an ex-love with the hope of returning to each other again in the end. This is very relatable because a lot of times during breakups there’s this hope that time away will bring you two back together. Sometimes it’s because the couple really is good for each other, but other times it’s just a matter of costumbre. How do you, Katalina, decipher between the two?

Katalina: Saying goodbye is always going to be difficult, either out of love or habit. I think that if you are with someone just out of habit and not because you love him, it is better to say goodbye definitely. “Adios,” to me, has another meaning. Beyond the circumstances for which you have had to say goodbye to your ex-partner, it is the goodbye that makes your heart hurt. It’s the memories of the shared moments that make you miss a person and want to have them again, that’s “Adios.”.

FIERCE: In the music video, the song took on new meaning. It wasn’t just about an ex but about losing someone you love to death and never being able to be with them again. Why did you all want to dedicate this song and video to those who lost their partners?

Katalina: These are very common situations in all of our lives. The message also has to do with those who have lost a loved one, not just their partner. In my case, I recently lost my grandmother suddenly, who was a mother to me, and, for this reason, I, and many others, can identify with this video.

FIERCE: I’m so sorry to hear that! And I think you’re right. The video really extends to loss outside of romantic relationships. We are in an era of collaborations, especially for Latin music, and in this song, your and Jencarlos’ voices blend very beautifully. Tell me, who are some of your other dream collaborations?

Katalina: I’ve always believed you find strength in unity, so working in a team, to me, is a very wise decision. I have a long list, but I’d want to start with artists like Natti Natasha, Karol G, Becky G, Ivy Queen, Cardi B — these are strong women and great examples of what it means to be an empowering woman. Also, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and others. They are artists with careers worthy of admiration.

FIERCE: I know you’ve been working on a lot of music for this year. What can you tell us is in store for Katalina in 2019?

Katalina: There are incredible songs written by international composers. I will also have my debut as a songwriter in a song that I think people will really identify with.

FIERCE: Can we expect more ballads like “Adios” or more dance songs like “Sacude” or a mix of genres?

Katalina: With me, there will definitely be both. This is something I think I have been very clear about. I feel that music is more free now and you do not have to limit yourself to only one genre. I like challenges and I dislike routine, so you can always expect a mix.

FIERCE: You are so young, at the start of your career, what do you hope people can say about Katalina in 10 to 15 years?

Katalina: My dream is to become an icon in music worldwide. I would love for people to say that I inspired them to fulfill their dreams, that I helped empower other women, that my life has been a great example of triumph. In 10 to 15 years, with the help of God, I will leave my mark throughout the planet.

Watch Katalina’s latest single, “Adios,” below:

Read: Up Next: Meet Victoria La Mala, The Mexican Badass Empowering Women With Urban-Banda Jams

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