There is this idea of overnight success, but Nataylia Roni knows and would tell anyone that success is a journey. For Nataylia this journey began as early as seven years of age when she began writing songs. It was then that she discovered her F.A.M.E. No, not “Fame” as we would term it in being known for your, art or craft, though that would come, but F.A.M.E., according to Roni, of Finding A Meaningful Endeavour. As she explained in her interview with The Caribbean Current, “I really feel your purpose and desire to succeed is a process and one must not be disheartened if it does not happen instantly. We have to persist and be tenacious in our efforts.”
We can only find a meaningful endeavour when we know what would be a meaningful endeavour for us. Fortunately, it was only two years after she began writing her songs that Roni had that knowing within her. How did that happen? Well, we asked Nataylia and she smilingly said, “Thankfully my mom brought me to a dance class with my sister when I was 9; so from then, I continued exploring the arts and taking classes. With the right guidance and information, you will make it.”
So the journey continued. This Birmingham, England native began performing with National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT). Nataylia also performed in a music video for an Asian Bhangra artiste alongside six other professional dancers—an experience she describes as fun and exciting. It was a street and contemporary dance where the dancers were fully clothed in Indian attire. As for Nataylia though, she was also clothed in what she might best describe as that “Tenacious Spirit.” Why ever would you need that “Tenacious Spirit” if you have found a meaningful endeavour—(F.A.M.E.)? Because, as Nataylia explained, “In the business I am in, we have to count ourselves blessed to work and do what we love for competition is fierce and times can be challenging. So, I choose projects that I feel are right to do; I can confidently show all and not have to hide. Also, I enjoy film and television the most. Live theatre you can’t beat, but you always want more of what you desire the most.”
Nataylia has been blessed to work on numerous projects: co-presenting on Boogie Beebies, a BBC song and dance program for preschool children worldwide, which won a Bafta Award; working for Little Samurai Warriors, a children’s self defense and confidence building DVD, performing Don’t Stop Believing on Channel 5 in the U.K.; working in New York on BCAT Sports Games where she interviewed a professional female boxer; working with Moon Dance Production’s on a pilot called The Open Road and the Opposite Sex; co-presenting the MVSA TV/Film Awards held in Birmingham ICC; performing at the Screen Nation Film & TV Awards; and also with musical appearances on Ann & Nick, Big Breakfast, Blue Peter, while also getting to number five on the dance charts.
What evidence of her F.A.M.E.! What might have been the source to support such blessed opportunities? In her own words, “God’s Grace, and nothing is possible without him.”
From such a response, it is evident that Nataylia draws some of that “Tenacious Spirit” from her spirituality. So it’s no surprise that her EP is inspirational music with a Gospel message. Who or what influenced this? Roni said she was influenced by those who were in the genre before her and the pop artistes she grew up listening to even while she was already writing her songs at age 7.
For those of you who have yet to hear any of Nataylia’s offerings, you might be wondering if it’s worth a listen. So, we asked Nataylia to tell some more about this genre. She helped us understand that her music might best be described as music with a commercial feel and a Gospel message, sounding like pop-soul, but with a deeper message, which is well suited to those who hold a certain belief, of course, but essentially, for all. Just in case you are wondering what she sounds like; here is how The Independent Newspaper described her voice after a theatre performance, “Tall & Elegant with an electrifyingly sensuous voice also entertainingly ballsy”.
When it comes to her finding a meaningful endeavour, let’s be careful not to limit Roni to her vocals; for her endeavour, her F.A.M.E is within the performing arts. According to her, “The Arts to me is a fantastic arena where you can indulge and express yourself freely. What other field enables you to do this?”
Nataylia’s acting credits include playing Tracy in a feature film Afua’s Diary and playing Mahogany in Tell Hell I Ain’t Coming. She was also cast in Caroline, Change, and The Genius of Ray Charles.
Nataylia also acted in the Jamaican production, The Harder They Come; and in a short film One In The Chamber, where she enjoyed the opportunities to use accents. She has also played the role of Benson on a BBC Radio drama.
How then would Nataylia advise someone who thinks they might be inclined toward performing arts, F.A.M.E.? Her three-step guideposts are:
- Starting: Be clear about who you are and what you want.
- Surviving: Be Strong and focused on your goal and train to be your very best.
- Striving: Persist and be Tenacious and Don’t Give up.
That’s not all the advice she would share. Roni says, “The lesson that everyone you meet is somebody, and that we are all human beings in the same race called the human race, that we can all get along if we only decide to communicate with one another, removing all the isms and schisms.”
Where is Nataylia now on her F.A.M.E. journey?
She says, “Now I am all about my own music videos; thankfully, I have done one and looking forward to doing more.” No surprise then for 2018, she has put forward some of that tenacious spirit shown on her journey into an EP entitled Tenacious Spirit, which is incorporated into her The Original One Woman Show, an original musical play. The Original One Woman Show, inspired by my music, transforms mindsets and gives hope to those who feel they don’t have any, to uplift the broken-hearted, and to bring energy and life in the stagnant.” This production is staged in churches, theatres, and festivals.
Yes, a ‘One Woman Show’! How does such a show happen? Roni explained, “Well, with my corporate entertainment one-woman show—Corporate Entertainment shows of soul & Jazz, solo or with live musicians—I perform with live musicians most of the time, and it simply is the FEEL GOOD factor for all audience members to enjoy themselves and feel free to sing and dance along. This show is performed at hotels and on cruises.
Nataylia also shares in the experience of some of her mentors. For the first few months of 2018, we can enjoy The SOUL LADY Concert where she celebrates Tina, Whitney, Aretha, and Diana, all in one night. She notes that those who have already experienced it usually sing and dance along. To allow more people to have this experience, she hopes to bring this show to the Caribbean in 2018.
It must be obvious by now that sharing in the experience of Nataylia’s F.A.M.E. can lead to us also finding a meaningful endeavour, be it in moving from being stagnant to seeking out our own endeavour or simply discovering memorable and meaningful past times.
What more can we expect as Nataylia continues her journey? She says, “Expect collaborations with music artistes.” She has worked in Jamaica on a commercial and a feature film and says she is always interested in more suitable roles.
Working for charities and choirs have given Nataylia the chance to sing at the Dorchester Hotel, the O2 Arena, Wembley Stadium, to travel the world and run and finish the Flora London Marathon, raising funds for charity. No doubt this along with her speaking engagements will continue.
Curious to learn more about this young lady’s journey to finding a meaningful endeavour aka F.A.M.E. Well, she says, “Feel free to find me on social media: @iamnataylia and also view www.nataylia.com.”
By Kerriann Toby
Kerriann Toby holds a Master of Counselling and Bachelor of Psychology. She is a dynamic therapist, trained mediator; and educator since 2000. In addition to being a trained educator, mediator, and therapist, she is a certified Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Professional. Kerriann has also trained in cyber counseling and holds clinical registration with Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) & Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).
In mid-October 2015 she initiated operations of KarryOn geared toward the provision of a variety of enhancement and developmental services for the individual, groups and the organization; e-Coaching/Counseling, Mediation, EAP Services and the creative presentation of psycho-social information. She can be reached at email@example.com.