L.A. Libros Fest: Interview With Nathalia

Edwin Rodarte, Senior Librarian, Emerging Technologies & Collections,
Nathalia and her children albums
Nathalia will be one of the featured performers at the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family

Nathalia, a native of Colombia, moved to the US to attend the Berklee College of Music and later began her career as a music therapist and early childhood music educator. Since 2012, she has recorded and released four children’s albums, which were all co-produced and performed by Grammy award winners. She has been a featured guest on Univision's Despierta America, CBS's The Talk, and her music has been played on a number of parenting blogs and online radio stations. Nathalia’s South American heritage and passion for bilingual education serve as major influences in the music she creates. From Rock to Cumbia, Jazz to Reggaeton, her songs are written in a number of musical styles and produced with the whole family in mind.

Nathalia will be one of the featured performers at the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family. L.A. Libros Fest will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Our theme this year is Imagine a Better World. How do you think your books and stories help us accomplish this?

When I imagine a better world, I definitely imagine a world with more music. Music has always been described as a “universal language” one with which we can connect when words fail. I’m sure for many music was an outlet, a source of comfort or joy throughout the pandemic. This is why I continue writing songs and performing, when I write songs or perform for families I think about how songs or sharing a musical experience can be that bridge that brings us together.

What are some of the things you do to bring to life the world you’ve imagined?

I believe paying close attention to everything around me, from our experiences to observing nature, all serve as inspiration for songs I write, but that is only the beginning. Where I feel the magic happens is in trusting my song in the hands of amazing musicians that lend their talent to bring it to life. I am always in awe of what my songs sound like after the process of being produced, arranged, and recorded.

"Libraries are a community powerhouse!... They’ve got programs for every age, they really know how to bring the community together."

What stories inspired you as a young reader?

I grew up in Barranquilla, my city is host to the biggest Carnaval in Colombia. I grew up surrounded by folkloric dances, cumbia, vallenato, merengues, and salsa. It is very difficult to not feel inspired by the energy and vibrancy of my city. I wanted to be a Carnaval queen, I wanted to dance in all the parades, I always wanted to be up on a stage.

What advice would you give to young creators?

To all the young writers, young musicians out there, just keep going! Practice! Practice makes progress. Write as many songs, as many stories as you can. Look for opportunities out there to perform, to showcase your work.

How did you feel the first time your music was recorded? How was your musical recording journey?

Incredibly proud! I did not imagine myself to be a performing/recording artist, as my focus was my work as a music therapist and teacher. I wrote songs for my students, clients, and my children, so I never imagined I would listen to my work on iTunes or any digital streaming platform or record any album. Fast forward, now I am actually performing all over and have 4 albums I’ve released!

What are the challenges of writing/making music for young readers?

I wouldn’t say writing for a young audience is necessarily challenging, a young audience is honest and there is no better feedback to any work than honesty. I would say the writing and creating process for any audience is challenging within itself. In times where you do not feel your most creative self, lacking energy and you have to find a way to continue pushing yourself to write and perform because you know it’s only a bump in the road and you know what finishing a project feels like. That might be the biggest challenge.

How do you think libraries make our world a better place?

Libraries are a community powerhouse! Starting with the obvious wealth of knowledge within the books, magazines, journals. Libraries are full of resources from parenting, housing, immigration, health, you name it! To top it all, they’ve got programs for every age, they really know how to bring the community together.

What are you working on now?

I am working on my next album, writing and recording more songs. I am also hoping to have a picture book as well! My songs tell stories and having an illustrated picture book of my songs has always been a dream of mine.

Music by Nathalia

Book cover for Cuando era pequeña When I was your age
Cuando era pequeña When I was your age

Book cover for En la radio
En la radio