By Jack Rico
When I first met Cáthia, I was at the Telemundo NY offices. I was about to do my movie review segment live in Spanish when the anchor teased she was coming up next. I immediately asked the producers if I could meet her and they acquiesced swiftly. I went backstage and there she was, zestful, humble, and talkative. She was with her sweet mother and her dynamic manager and there I was badgering her with questions about her singing in Spanish on The Voice. I just couldn’t believe she did that on national English language TV. It was groundbreaking.
I had seen other singers on different shows sing in Spanglish, but all out Spanish? It was shocking to me, no other way to describe it. It was a watershed moment, one that said that the Spanish language was now the new normalcy. With that moment in tow, I felt mainstream media was going to change and I firmly believe she is going to be one of the main catalysts to keep it here.
With a new single and new dreams to achieve… can Cáthia from ‘The Voice’ become music’s next big pop star? My exclusive interview…
Jack Rico (JR): What gave you the courage to audition for The Voice?
Cáthia: I always knew music was what I wanted to do in life, so I’d been trying to land a spot on one The Voice since Season 2, when I got hooked on the show! The audition process was definitely intimidating because I attended an open call in NY hoping for the best, but once I opened my mouth to sing, all the nerves went away and I let myself be in that moment.
JR: You think you would’ve made the cut on American Idol or The X Factor?
Cáthia: I have actually auditioned for both shows before! I made it to the third round of the executive callbacks of Season 10 American Idol, and made it onto the last season of X Factor, where I had the chance to audition for Simon, Demi, Britney & LA Reid. Unfortunately, got cut before the bootcamp rounds due to space, but I feel like The Voice was an amazing singing competition experience that I was just meant to go through.
JR: I took notice of you because you sang a song fully Spanish and I thought it was pretty ballsy of you. Take me through the details of how you ended up singing Luis Fonsi’s “No Me Doy Por Vencido” on national English language TV? Did you think of a potential backlash from people who don’t understand the language?
Cáthia: It was definitely a risk to sing a song in all Spanish, but I believe that with no risk comes no reward. I also felt like I had a good shot, since Shakira is a Latin- Pop Artist herself, and was hoping she liked what I did! Ultimately I turned not only her chair but also Blake and Usher’s, so my risk paid off! I didn’t think too much about the publics reaction, it wasn’t until after the audition aired that I realized how much what I had done meant to the Latin community. I am thankful to have gotten to sing English on the show and cater to both the Latin and American communities!
JR: Did Luis Fonsi ever reach out to you about you singing his song? I mean, that is a game changer for him. If he did, could you share how it happened and what the conversation was like?
Cáthia: Luis Fonsi did reach out to me about his song! He tweeted at me the day my audition aired, congratulating me and letting me know he loved my rendition of his song! He was also very supportive with helping promote my iTunes recording of “Yo No Me Doy Por Vencido” by retweeting my tweets about it! It was amazing because it really showed he cared and appreciated my version of his song.
JR: Ultimately, what were the reasons you think you didn’t make it to the final?
Cáthia: I feel like I didn’t have the same amount of time to connect with all of America since I sang in Spanish 2 out of the 4 rounds I was on the show, so I didn’t have that big of a fan base supporting me as I went through to the live rounds. I also believe things are meant to happen the way they do, so I think it was just in my life’s plan to make it as far as I did, take the exposure/amazing opportunities and move onto the next step in my career!
JR: After your stint on The Voice, what was your first celebrity moment?
Cáthia: I was actually recognized the morning after at the airport by the person checking my bags in! It was an unforgettable experience because I was a little bummed I wasn’t moving on in the competition since I really wanted to share more of my voice with the world. The lady at the desk told me she thought I deserved to move on and wasn’t even going to charge me for my bags. I felt great after that, not only was I recognized but this lady encouraged me to keep making music too! I realized that I was coming home to a world full of new opportunities and fans in my musical career! Here in NYC I’ve gotten stopped a lot, which is an amazing feeling.
JR: What do you think about the music that’s coming out today on radio?
Cáthia: I feel like there isn’t enough variety. We’re hearing a lot of electro-pop and pop music, and sometimes you’ll hear a song that sounds extremely similar to the one that just came on! I think it’s time someone with a completely different kind of voice and sound comes along.
I miss the music of the 90s where you could turn on the radio and hear songs by vocal divas like Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Whitney Houston. Artists who could seriously blow your mind because of their vocals! It’s become more about the beat rather than the voice, and it would be nice to hear more of the voice.
JR: What specific songs get you flushed with emotion?
Cáthia: “I Could Fall In Love” by Selena, because I remember wanting to be like her as a young girl. She was definitely gone too soon and had so much more to give to the music industry! I also find myself getting emotional with “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson, it’s one of my all time favorite songs.
JR: What do you think of your own voice?
Cáthia: I feel like I can use my voice to help others and inspire people with my music. My ultimate goal is to use my voice as a way to create a positive change in the world. I am also trying to use my voice to represent the new generation of Latin-Americans in the US.
JR: You have your first new song called, “Without You”. What’s it about and are you planning on doing a Spanish version?
Cáthia: It’s a love song that just came to me as I was writing in my journal a couple months ago. The concept involves how someone would feel if they are without the one person they care most about in life. I wanted the song to be very carefree and upbeat, something you can jam to during the summer, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! “Without You” also fuses pop and latin sounds which is what I was going for. It’s out on iTunes & Amazon Music now for all my supporters to download! I am definitely planning on doing a Spanish version since the song already has a Latin feel to it, and am actually working on that right now! Along with the promotion of this single, I have started an IndieGogo campaign to fund my album, where fans will be able to help me get this project off the ground. This way I’ll be able to make an album that’s 100% me and get my music out into the world soon!
JR: If you were to sing at my Summer Beach Rooftop Party, what half hour setlist would you sing for us?
Cáthia: That sounds like A LOT of fun! I’d definitely perform my single “Without You,” then do about three covers. I’m really digging Mariah Carey’s song “Beautiful” right now, since it has a very fun, summer flair to it, so that would be in my setlist. The next song would be one of my all time favorites- “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston! I’d perform Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” after that, and I’d end with an original called “Be Alright.” It’s a song with a very positive message, letting the listener know that whatever is happening in life will work itself out in the end and “be alright” !
JR: As a business, the music industry has hit rock bottom. Why would you want to get into it now?
Cáthia: Music is the only thing I’ve wanted to pursue as a career in my life. I feel like whether it’s at the top of it’s game or the bottom, I just want to make it in and be around music 24/7. My goal is to just impact people in a positive way with my voice, and I don’t think that any statistics saying the music industry isn’t at it’s prime will stop me from trying to accomplish my ultimate goal.
JR: Do you have any wisdom to leave with my readers who are interested in auditioning for a reality music competition show and making a go of it in the music biz?
Cáthia: I will leave them with this. BE YOURSELF! If you go into any audition with a clear sense of who you are and what you bring to the table, then your personality will shine through. Forget the nerves and just enjoy that specific moment of your life. Whether the outcome is positive or negative, every experience is a learning one. Reality competitions can get very stressful, but if you go into them knowing who you are and never losing sight of that, you can grow as a person and have fun!
Watch below a flashback of Cáthia’s audition on The Voice when she sang completely in Spanish.