From singing and playing her guitar on the streets and in the subway stations of Madrid to Grammy-winning success, Natalia Jiménez has been living the dream.
"It was pretty cool when you're 15 and you've got nothing to lose," laughs Jiménez as she recalls her teenage metro days. "I would just go out, take my guitar and little tamborsitos, and play like a hippie. People would throw money at me. I would walk away with like $150 in coins. It was a good deal, you know?"
Sure, la cantante "met a lot of weird people" during that time, but her exposure to such diverse crowds was a glimpse of what her future would be as an international music icon, both with Spanish pop rock crew la 5ª Estación and now as a solo artist.
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Jiménez will be performing her latest hit single "Creo En Mi" this Thursday at the American Airlines Arena for Telemundo's Premios Tu Mundo.
"I'm excited about singing my song again!" she says. "I wanna sing it every day.
"I never thought it would get so far," she claims. "There are songs about loving other people, but not yourself. It's important to love yourself first, because you can't love anybody else or let anybody love you if you don't love yourself."
Though "Creo En Mi" is blowing up Billboard charts right now, Jiménez's fame has long been established, thanks to her success with la 5ª Estación throughout the 2000s.
"I met them when they were in Ritmo y Compás, a studio in Madrid. One of my friends told me they needed a singer or they were gonna split. She asked me if I wanted to try out, so I did.
"I got there and they were sitting supersad in the rehearsal room. A lot of singers had already tried out. They told me they didn't have any guitars or anything for me to use, so I told them I would sing a cappella. I sang Janis Joplin's 'Mercedes-Benz' and afterwards that were like, 'OK, we have a new singer.'"
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