This is the Miami sound, too. Not everyone is trying to hear it, though. When JD Natasha previews Imperfect/Imperfecta at Hoy Como Ayer during the songwriter showcase Esencia last month, she is second on the bill before the headliner Kike Santander. As the sixteen-year-old sings, the great man sits in the front row, talking on his cell phone.
Wearing a black top hat with three abstract tear drops drawn next to her right eye, JD Natasha looks more like a character from A Clockwork Orange than the impeccably proper stars Kike produces. Not Thalia. Not Paulina. Not even a Sabado Gigante spokesmodel. JD Natasha is pretty in a punked-out Debbie Harry way. I'm not a Barbie made out of plastic/I have a soul, she sings in Spanish on "Plastico." Tossing her voice from her head to her chest, she veers from a screech to a whisper. Her complete control sounds like utter abandon. A typical teen, she shifts from defiance to despair, asking in English on the title track: What if I didn't scream in public? What if I were perfect?
If she were "perfect," JD Natasha would never reach the legion of young teenage Latinos who ignore Latin music because they think it has to be overly sentimental and cheesy. But as Imperfect/Imperfecta proves, you can be a Latina and still rock out.