Texas Country .Live
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The first time I remember performing, it was on top of my family's coffee table with my back turned to my aunts, uncles, cousins or any one else who'd take time to listen to my renditions of "Coat of Many Colors" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Occasionally, I'd do a big finale with "My Way". They weren't allowed to clap, or I'd cry. I thought clapping was only something you did when someone did a really bad job, but you still wanted to be nice. (Apparently it turns out I was wrong! That's good to know.) Now the first time my parents remember me performing, it was most likely as soon as I could form sentences. I can't remember that far back.The first time I remember performing, it was on top of my family's coffee table with my back turned to my aunts, uncles, cousins or any one else who'd take time to listen to my renditions of "Coat of Many Colors" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Occasionally, I'd do a big finale with "My Way". They weren't allowed to clap, or I'd cry. I thought clapping was only something you did when someone did a really bad job, but you still wanted to be nice. (Apparently it turns out I was wrong! That's good to know.) Now the first time my parents remember me performing, it was most likely as soon as I could form sentences. I can't remember that far back. I was super shy, super tiny, and skipped two grades. Which is why I was a perfect target for little bullies to surround on the playground and call names. (I had also lost all of my front teeth, so that was probably another reason. Also, glasses.) That didn't change for quite a few years. Luckily I had my best friend that I'd met when we were 3 months old. (12 days apart, our mamas met in a doctor's office.) She was always there to stick up for me. (and still is!) I still ended being homeschooled, because you know. Getting to color and sing at home was more fun than being called ugly every day. So, with my newfound freedom, Mama thought it best that I do all sorts of wonderful things with my super talented 5 year old self. (sarcasm, in case you didn't catch that.) So she put me in Karate, Ballet, Gymnastics, SoftBall, Swimming, Horseback riding, and Music. Guess which one I liked most. I'm still kind of fond of it, I guess. I took piano lessons for 5 years, and my Mama was so proud of me! Until she found out that I'd conned the music teacher and never learned to read a single note. How did I do it? You see, I can play by ear. So I would ask my sweet, unsuspecting teacher if she would play the song, so I could hear how pretty it sounded. So she would. Then I would just copy her, while pretending to read the music. I'm glad the piano bench was cushioned, because I needed it after my Mama found out! To this day I still kick my own booty for not actually learning, because that would actually kind of come in handy now. I started performing with karaoke tracks when I was 8. My favorite joke to use was when anytime the cd skipped, I'd say, "One day I'm going to fire this band!" Who knew that'd be a recurring statement to this day! (JK, Mucho Amor to you guys) I mainly performed in my parents restaurant, Capparelli's, on Friday nights. (Try the Cannoli!) I also joined a cool group in San Antonio where a bunch of us singing children with crazy dreams got to perform at all kinds of places and events (with karaoke tracks.) A day that I will never forget is the car accident. Mama, my pregnant sister-in-law and I were on our way back from her baby shower. We were pulling in our gate when suddenly there was a loud crash and the car started spinning. I was knocked out instantly. We narrowly missed the 12 foot drainage ditch by a couple feet. (There is now a guard rail there.) We were hit by two 15 year old boys whose grandmother let them take the car. It was night, and they didn't have the headlights on and hit us full speed. My niece was born happy and healthy 7 days later. My Mama ended up with herniated disks in her back and neck. She hasn't been without pain since. I ended up with PTSD. While seeing a Psychologist for the PTSD, I discovered a thing called "OCD". I apparently have that too. I also have simple Tourette's. (Cue occasional rapid blinking and funny tongue click noises.) So I kept performing. (Which was sometimes difficult due to the fact that I had to be physically dragged to the car because of that little thing called PTSD. I still get a little anxious about riding in small cars) My first trip to Nashville came about when I was 11. Mama, Daddy, my Papo and I drove up there to record a few songs. Thanks to my producer at the time, I was able to go backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. I remember the butterflies in my stomach, and the rush when the doors opened. WHOOSH. I was gone. My feet had never moved so fast in my life. My parents panicked looking for me. They eventually found me singing with Diamond Rio in their dressing room. Little Jimmy Dickens was also present for our show. When I came back, I was presented with the opportunity to open for Ronnie Milsap. He was super sweet. He told me I looked pretty. I also had the honor of opening for Ray Price. We were both super sick with high fevers and shared a box of tissues and a makeup artist. He told me to never give up my dream. Charley Pride and Roy Clark were the next two I was able to open for. Once again, they were super sweet. What else can I say? There isn't anything but down to earth, grateful souls in those legends. They worked hard and are thankful for everything they've achieved, and you can tell. Things were going great, but in the midst of all the excitement, we found out something that wasn't so great. My daddy had cancer. I don't remember too many details because I blocked these memories from my mind. I didn't like to think about those things. It was a very difficult time. I'm happy to say that my daddy is cancer free, and still as grumpy as ever! I opened for Ray Price a second time. We weren't sick this time around. It was his birthday, and the venue threw him a birthday party that I was able to attend and help him pass out the cake. If I would have known at that time that it would be the last time I'd ever see him, I would have thrown my arms around him and said thank you. That gig was also the first I had played with my own band. I'd played with various bands before, when they would invite me up, (I was 12 when I sang in a bar for the first time) but never my own band. I was 16 when we practiced, 17 a week later. I started performing regularly, and began to get serious about songwriting. I had written songs before, but lacked confidence in myself so I pushed them all to the back of my drawer. I didn't like any of those. I did however grow fond of some lyrics I had jotted down. "If there's no one to love you, if there's no one to hold you, if there's no one to give you all you need." I called on my lead guitarist to help me put some music behind it, and he helped me finish it. We named that song "Lonely Home". It later became my first single to Texas Radio reaching #46 on TRRR, #49 on TMC. "Lonely Home" got me nominated for "Best New Female Vocalist of the Year" at the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards. I didn't win, but it was so great being a part of that. We also wrote another one called "Better Off Without You" that was my fourth release. I wrote that song about two friends that really broke my heart. But that's a story for another day. It reached #38 on TRRR, by the way. I had two singles in between those, written by super talented songwriters. "Shivers" and "Promise Me Beautiful". Both of these reached #25 on TRRR. I recorded all four of these songs at Bismeaux Studios in Austin, TX. Ray Benson was my producer. I remember him bending down to get through the doorway. He was super nice and found out I had saved up to purchase front row seats at a Martina McBride concert, so he surprised me with backstage passes to meet her. Holy Shih-tzu was that incredible! I cried the entire time and never said a word to her. (I did get a picture though! I looked terrible because like I said, I cried.) The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is where I opened for Gary Allan and The Band Perry. I didn't get to meet Gary Allan, but I met the Perrys! Out back. By the dumpsters. We waved at her as they left the building, she saw us and pushed past her security guards and skipped over and met us with a tight hug. She must be a little crazy to trust some strangers who are standing by a dumpster. I like that. She made my life with her kindness, and I am forever a devoted fan of The Band Perry and all of their endeavors. A few others I've opened for include Clay Walker (who kissed a starstruck 14 year old Nat on the cheek twice! What a gentleman!) Rick Trevino, Kevin Fowler, Wade Bowen, (Super nice guy!) Aaron Watson, and Crystal Gayle. I'm also proud to have shared the stage with many, many talented Texas artists. I believe I've caught up to where I am now in life. I am currently working with Dolly Parton's Producer and Lead Guitarist, Kent Wells, on my new album. Thanks to him I was able to meet my idol, Dolly Parton. (Come to think of it, I've had the sweetest, most generous Producers any one could ever ask for!) He produced my latest single, "Conformity", which ended up reaching #7 on the Texas Regional Radio Report. I live on the same 20+ acres, in the same small town I was born in. I've got my Toy Poodle named Dolly, and my Husky named Cash. I've got 4 big brothers, 1 big sister, 9 nieces and nephews, 2 of the greatest sister-in-laws any one could ever ask for, my same best friend of 22 years, my wonderful boyfriend, my Papo, all of my wonderful fans, my large, extended family, and of course, my Mama and Daddy. In Heaven, I have my Nonna, Grandpa, Nonnie, Uncle Jim and Uncle Jesse. And of course, all of my little critters who've crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I am shy. I am nervous. I am claustrophobic. I am not perfect. I am human. I am strong. I am determined. I am a minimalist. I am an optimist. I am against bullying, drugs, stress, and conforming. I am for love, life, happiness, and being yourself.