Somers has a star in the making. Meet Kristi Nicole, 15 years old and originally from Brooklyn, she has just finished recording an album, and had an outstanding performance on BET Network’s ‘106 and Park’. Remember her name, because she plans on having three platinum albums by the time she’s 26. ‘Westchester Parent’ talks to her and finds out what it’s like to be 15-going-on-famous.
When did you know you wanted to be a singer?
Since I was little, I’ve been dancing and singing, but I’ve wanted to become a famous singer since I was 10 or 11. I’ve always wanted to be like Britney Spears.
What has been your most exciting performance?
I sang on BET’s 106 and Park and that was really exciting because they’re usually a tough crowd. Going in there, I wasn’t intimidated, but I didn’t know what their response would be, and I got really good feedback from them.
Has anyone recognized you on the street?
Well, originally I’m from Brooklyn, so when I go there, all my Brooklyn friends and all their friends know about me. Everywhere I go around here, somebody knows about my singing. I get comments on my myspace page from people from everywhere.
How do you feel about the whole myspace phenomenon; has myspace helped your career at all?
Well, I really wasn’t into it at first, because a lot of trouble starts from it and a lot of people have had problems with it, but it actually did help me because now that I’ve had so many people comment on my myspace, I’ve had thousands of hits to my website, especially since my two big performances. I mean, a lot of people got started on myspace. One singer, Kathy, got famous off myspace. I think it’s a good way to get out there. It definitely helped me.
Do you think the ability to acquire music so easily and all the free downloads on the Internet will hurt your chances of making it big?
Well, I’m only going to put up one song to download. So, I don’t think it will hurt me at all. It just helps to make the music spread really quickly.
What’s your favorite thing to do in NYC?
When I go to the city, I love to shop. I’m definitely a shopping girl. I also love going to shows. I love Broadway. My dream is also to be on Broadway. I love going to dinner, but shopping is the top one.
What other teenager activities do you like?
I love to go ice skating. It’s so weird. My friends always ask me where I get this crazy desire to go ice skating, but I just love it. In Westchester, there is only so much that you can do unless you drive. I’m going to be driving in August, thank God!
Being your age, do you feel that people in the music industry take you seriously?
Well, a lot of people start out when they’re young, but I know that I’m really young. I had meetings with record labels when I was 13, and at that point I don’t think people took me completely seriously. Now I have a lot of confidence and I think that really helps. Since I’m young, people might doubt that I’m dedicated or that I can really work hard, so when I go to interviews I let them know that I can do that. I hope people take me seriously.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years? I hope to have at least two or three…no, three platinum albums by then. I hope to have a house in New York and a house in California. I don’t know if I want to be married? I want to be doing movies when I’m 26. I want to get a lot of music out in the next 10 years, and then I want to take a break from music and do either Broadway or movies.
What would you want to do if performing wasn’t an option?
Well, I really love foreign language actually. My dad’s side of the family is Italian and I pick up on it. I would love to do something in Italy, maybe with the fashion industry. I also love working with special ed children. I’ve worked with them through a program at my school, and they really like me. Something along those lines. I know there’s a big difference between the two, but I have a lot of things that I want to do.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your music career?
I would have to say, my grandpa, Papi, who always calls me his little princess, tells me to always follow my heart and to always be honest.
You’ve said that you’ve received a lot of compliments about your music, but has anyone in the business been really rude to you? Any harsh rejections?
In the business? No. I haven’t gotten bad feedback, but I’ve gotten, “We’ll get back to you,” and they haven’t. I guess you could call it rejection, but I don’t think of it like that; it could be that I’m just not right for someone.
Would you want to go on American Idol with Simon?
Ah, the infamous question (laughs). Honestly, I love Simon. He is so honest and I would listen to anything he said, unless he said something completely ridiculous. But I wouldn’t be scared of Simon. I would try to get some criticism from him, whether it would be good or bad.
Besides a good voice, what else is required to make it big?
It depends. Overall, you have to be hard working and you have to seriously love what you do, because if you don’t, you’re not going to make it. Sometimes I get discouraged, but I really love what I do. You have to be very, very determined.
If you could meet one person in the music industry, who would it be?
Oh no, one person? There’s about five. The top three would be Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey. But if I had to choose one? Christina Aguilera. She has been my inspiration forever. I was a part of her fan club when I was little. Her voice is just incredible. I listen to her music the minute I wake up in the morning until when I fall asleep. My dream has always been to do a duet with her.