LaSonya Natividad is a powerful, multi-genre singer with a forceful voice. In addition to gospel, jazz singing, and her time with funk band KnuFunK, Natividad is adding rock and roll to her repertoire by joining Leadfoot.
Music also helps her day-to-day with her job as a nurse practitioner in general internal medicine at Mayo Clinic.
What is your first music memory?
I had to be about three years old. My mom and dad were together; we were really poor. We were living in a hotel in Washington, D.C. During the day we would spend time in a park. At night, I slept on a roll-out bed with my brother -- he was at the head and I was at the foot of the bed. The first time I heard a song I remember was by Diana Ross -- "Upside Down."
I laid there listening to it, wide-awake because my brother had stinky feet.
I think it was her voice. Even when I listen to the song now, she’s so sweet, but so powerful.
Do you sing in the shower?
Oh, yeah. That’s practice. Bathrooms have the best acoustics. I live in a townhouse and my neighbors haven’t complained. I hear their dog, so they probably hear me. I also have an open hallway with a nine-foot ceiling. You can just belt and it sounds great. But, yeah, I sing in the shower. It’s those acoustics -- with the water running.
How do you learn a song?
There are some songs I inherently identify with. I’m a lyrics girl. If it’s a song that really speaks to me, I’ll memorize the lyrics. But, a lot of music I’ve learned over the years I learned because somebody asked me to. They say, "Will you play at my wedding -- this is what I want you to sing." Or, they ask, "Will you join our band, these are the songs we play." I don’t mind that. It exposes me to new music I might not otherwise hear. I’m open to learning all types of music.
When you have the choice, what do you listen to?
It’s very mood-dependent. I use music for lots of things. I have a playlist on my iPad called "morning inspiration." It’s a playlist of songs about self worth, integrity, love for others, love for yourself, what happens in life, what lessons you’ve learned from those challenging times.
I let that play while I’m contemplating getting out of bed. It gets me in the mindset I need to be in to start my day. Then I leave for work with that feeling of love, joy and mindfulness.
My job is very stressful and I don’t want to project that when I go to work. I want to feel inspired. Part of my job is to inspire people and bring joy to people’s lives. This helps me be my authentic self.
If you could meet any performer from any time, who would it be?
Ella Fitzgerald -- definitely her. She was one of the few people -- as a black woman -- who was able to push through the barriers of racism. She played everywhere; she played all over the world. This was at a time when it wasn’t popular to do that. But people adored her. She was popular. She invented that jazz scatting.
There’s strength in overcoming and pushing through barriers. There’s also a lot of fear, but she overcame that and helped others overcome their racism and fear.
I’m standing on her shoulders.