“Mil Colores” is the latest album by Colombian-born songwriter and performer Nathalia. Translated to mean “A Thousand Colors,” this album is officially described as a musical journey that enables listeners to explore songs about empowerment and discovery. Nathalia’s creative bilingual approach to songwriting has made her a prominent voice in the world of children’s music.
Nathalia recently discussed this album via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in music and songwriting and did you always gravitate towards the children’s genre?
Nathalia Palis (NP): Music has been a part of me. I grew up in Barranquilla, a city that vibrates to the sound of Carnaval music (gaitas and drums) all year round. My family is also very musical. Dancing and singing is simply how we express and connect. Songwriting was something that developed organically as I would create (or revise) songs in order to connect with my music therapy clients, my students and my own children. In terms of working with children, that is something I’ve always enjoyed! I really enjoy trying to capture the way they see the world.
MM: How did you break into the music industry and how would you describe your style?
NP: I started my professional music journey as a music therapist, which has shaped the way I write music and connect with my audience. My music is a blend of my Colombian roots (cumbia, merengue, salsa) and my American home (rock, folk, R&B, jazz); my songwriting is a mixture of English and Spanish, because both languages define me. I love being able to navigate different music genres because I can explore, learn and grow as I diversify.
MM: Out of all songs on the new album, do you have any personal favorites? If so, which ones and why?
NP: I know this sounds like an auto-response, but I genuinely I like them all. I try to write every song as if it were a single, pouring everything I have into each one. In terms of which one I had most fun musically performing and recording, it would have to be “Frida Pinta” and “Cinco Sentidos”. I had so much fun in the production aspect, dancing to the tunes and recording background vocals. On a much more personal level, “Niña Poeta” and “Sueños y Deseos” were very emotional to write and I love the way they came out. Both were directly inspired by my own children and represent a sort of documentation of my feelings and wishes towards them, hoping they always know how valuable their voices are and that they will always be loved.
MM: How did growing up in Colombia influence you creatively?
NP: I think my sound and energy are reflective of my Colombian upbringing. As I mentioned, my hometown Barranquilla prepares year-round for our Carnaval that happens around Feb-March. My hometown is all about embracing joy, being spontaneous and dancing! I remember growing up always putting on shows with my brother or my friends, re-thinking choreographies, even school assignments would require some sort of musical activity!
MM: What’s the best fan feedback you’ve gotten about your music?
NP: When I see families, years later, still showing up to my shows, telling me how my music has impacted their child’s (or family’s life) in a positive way, it truly fills me with joy.
MM: How would you describe your live performances?
NP: My shows consist of me performing my original bilingual songs, either solo, duo or full band, depending on the venue. They’re highly interactive, educational and fun. I sometimes incorporate a projector in the back of images related to the song, instruments for kids who want to “rock out” with me, bubbles, call/response interaction and more! I’m always changing what I do, or the songs I’m singing on the spot depending on who is in the audience and what’s going on during the show.
MM: How do you envision music videos for these songs looking?
NP: Being that all my songs have a different feel, I imagine different things for each song. For example, I think about “Los Mas Pequeños”, “Frida Pinta”, Niña Poeta and Sueños y Deseos as being more animation-based with beautiful book like illustrations that come to life, whereas songs like Cinco Sentidos, Tu y Yo, Let’s Go to The Beach might work better with real life images and perhaps some fun choreography.
MM: How do you hope your career evolves over the next five years?
NP: I am hoping with each year to expand where my music is heard and perform in new cities, states and countries! I would also like to attend more conferences as guest speaker and have some of my songs turned into kid’s books.
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
NP: The industry has changed so drastically in the past 20 years, it’s hard to keep up. Not only are we writing and producing music, but we’ve also had to learn to engineer, market our music, build websites, learn about the business aspect (registrations, royalties, distribution, etc), music videos, and much more! It really does take a lot for independent artists to thrive let alone survive. I think for most songwriters and musicians we just want to have the opportunity to continue doing what we love to do most.
Mil Colores will be available on all digital platforms including Apple Music, Spotify Amazon Music and more. Link to streaming platforms: https://songwhip.com/nathalia/mil-colores and follow Nathalia on all social media platforms @NathaliaMusica Lyrics/translations are available at www.nathaliamusic.com/mil-colores