L.A. Libros Fest: Interview With Nathalia

Lupita Leyva, Senior Librarian, Robert Louis Stevenson Branch Library,
Nathalia with her guitar and 2 CDs
Nathalia will be the virtual host for the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family

A native of Colombia, Nathalia 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 five 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 the virtual host for the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family. L.A. Libros Fest will be streamed live on will be streamed live on YouTube on Friday, September 23, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The Festival will be in-person at Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, September 24, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with select Saturday programs streamed live on YouTube.

Our tagline this year is Read, Dream and Celebrate en dos idiomas. How do you think your books and stories help us accomplish this?

I think Read, Dream and Celebrate fit perfectly with my latest release. Mil Colores is my 5th bilingual album, and it’s centered around the theme of inspiration, with songs of empowerment and discovery. I celebrate diversity in the genres featured: a variety of Latin American rhythms, traditional rock, and jazz, among others. Every song promotes self-awareness and encourages children to be curious about the world around them, to be proud of who they are, and to seize the day!

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

In my songwriting, I let the things I imagine come as they are… a melody, a phrase, a beat, in English, in Spanish…I just write it down, record it in a voice memo and make sure I save it before it escapes. Not all ideas come with the same energy to become something immediately, and I think I usually work on those that pull me towards completing them.

"The more you explore, the more tools you add to your repertoire. Practice, practice, and practice some more because practice makes Progress!"

What stories inspired you as a young reader?

I enjoyed reading historical novels, I loved being transported to other times. I also enjoyed reading any story based on real-life experiences, a memoir, or a biographical novel. Stories like that remind me that human beings are capable of extraordinary things.

What advice would you give to young writers?

To young writers and young songwriters: Read other’s work / Listen to new music: The more you explore, the more tools you add to your repertoire. Practice, practice, and practice some more because practice makes Progress!

How did you feel the first time your work was published? How was your publishing journey?

Proud. We are self-published, “We” is my husband Brian McLaughlin and I, and we firmly believe in teamwork. We co-write songs, we discuss the arrangements, production, musicians to be hired, and our performances. We work on marketing, booking gigs, and website design. It’s a lot of work, so when it’s finally out in the world and being listed to, we feel accomplished and proud.

What are some challenges you encounter when writing?

Feeling uninspired feels like the biggest challenge sometimes, song ideas like to marinate and sit there for a while. That’s when it’s helpful to have someone you trust to check out what you're working on, their feedback can give you that spark you need to get it done.

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

In a library you can find a book in which you can escape, you can find books in which you can learn something new. But a library is not just about the books, it’s about the resources it provides. In a library, you can find a space for education, a place to build relationships, or community resources in your area (parenting, workforce, citizenship). Libraries provide a space for musical events and art exhibits. Libraries build and strengthen our community, and that’s what the world needs.

What are you working on now?

I am working on more songs! Always writing, always creating. So stay tuned because there is a new song coming out soon!

Music by Nathalia

Book cover for Dream a Little / Sueña un poquito
Dream a Little / Sueña un poquito

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

Nathalia will be the virtual host of Los Angeles Libros Festival.