Pop and R & amp;B have to leave room for her roots.
By JOHN BENSON
Pop music with an R & amp;B edge is what newcomer Paula DeAnda is presenting the world on her self-titled debut.
While the album's teen-based themes remain familiar -- girl sees boy, girl loves boy, boy leaves girl -- this 17-year-old San Antonio, Texas, native is presenting a different image than the blond-haired Britneys and Christinas of years past.
"I'm very proud to say I'm Mexican American," said DeAnda, calling from Boston. "That's very important to me. There's not many of us out there right now that are Latinas and doing R & amp;B. I just think we haven't been given the chance, basically. This is the Latin year. It's just blowing up."
Over the past year, DeAnda's career has blown up in light speed. After releasing two independent singles -- "What Would it Take" and "Doing Too Much" -- the talented singer showcased for labels, with record mogul Clive Davis instantly signing her to J Records. Her debut effort was released last summer with the whirlwind radio station and promotional tour still in effect. This includes an opening slot for Ludacris at his show at the Chevrolet Center Thursday.
"It's a great show. I have two dancers and you gotta check it out," DeAnda said. "Hopefully, you'll see more of me on tour."
Whether you like it or not, it sounds like you'll be seeing plenty of DeAnda in the upcoming months with the performer recently filming a role in the new MTV Productions movie "My Super Sweet 16," which is due out this August.
So much so fast is familiar territory for rising teen acts, with DeAnda stressing she's humbled by her success. Considering we live in a YouTube.com world where one misstep can result in World Wide Web shame 10 minutes later, the singer said she's well aware of her role model status among America's female youth.
Being a leader
"I pretty much take that into consideration when I do songs and my videos," DeAnda said. "I think that's one of the things that parents like about my music, they can buy it for their kids and not be worried about parental advisories."
She added, "With the paparazzi, there's always going to be tabloid people [following] you. I've always been on a good road, and I don't think I'll ever fall into that trap but I do make sure that I'm not doing creepy things because everyone's eyes are on me."
Already her debut effort has yielded hit songs "Walk Away (Remember Me)" and "When It Was Me," the latter written by hitmaker Ne-Yo, with more singles to follow. DeAnda said she's just holding on for the ride.
"It's not overwhelming for me at all," DeAnda said. "I love what I've done so far. I've been getting real good exposure and since about 6 years old, this has been a dream of mine."