It's Poetic Music

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(Poetica, right, will be performing August 19th at the Blowout Lounge at Manhattan Center Hammerstein)

Forced to become a street performer by the age of four, Philadelphia native Poetica, a.k.a Natalie Natema, always knew how to please a crowd as she was coaxed to earn a living as a puppeteer on the streets of Philly.  “We were so poor my father converted furniture into puppets and made us do voices,â€? she says, noting that it was probably the most devastating and painful situation she’s ever experienced but credits this as the reason why she is not afraid of anything.
Poetica, a name derived from haters’ at an open mic night, turned this belittlement into a “term of endearment.â€? 

At 14, she was already a triple threat studying theater, music and visual arts at the local Creative and Performing Arts High School, but it was away from school grounds where she received an understanding of how art and entertainment fit within the lives of black people. As a spoken word linguist, she helped form the United Brown Poets, a group of teens that performed their own poetry pieces in various locations in Philly. “I’d always carry around a book of poetry I called self,â€? she recalls, adding that it was this selfless expression that enabled her to cope with her traumatic experiences as a child.  In no time, the streets began to buzz of her talents so much that she was asked to open up for “The Rootsâ€? label signing party, with MCA, held at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. “Someone was running late and they asked me to stall for time, the crowd went silent when I began talking and free-styling then I started to remember a poem and they loved it. That was the hottest moment ever,â€? she says about the opportunity to perform in front of established artists with an audience of over 600 people. 

She then recognized her extenuating talent and wanted to perform more. Although she went on to study Film and Photography at the University of the Arts she says she kept being pulled in the direction of live performance by hosting open mic nights at popular lounges in PA, lending her voice to drops on the radio and organizing a group called Sista which showcased females in the performing arts. She took the balance of her student loan money and rented a venue with equipment, lighting, and sound. Sista in Support of the Million Woman March had a large turnout, featuring poetry, a fashion show, an African dance troupe and a slew of R&B artists including Jill Scott prior to her record deal. 

By earning local celebrity status with the success of this organization and partaking in endless performance opportunities, her classmates and teachers alike began to become jealous and hateful, suggesting that school wasn’t for her and that she should quit. 

She decided to complete her film degree in New York. “And it’s been wonderful coming out here,â€? says. “I may never go back to school because I’ve worked on so many films.â€?  She credits New York for helping her “come into her ownâ€? as she has intertwined all of her talents as a spoken word artist, singer, actress, songwriter, graphic designer, producer, director and production assistant. Her goal is to continue to work in the arts any way she can.  Poetica has done background work on the films “The Interpreter,â€? and “Freedomland,â€? as well as TV shows and music videos. She has also performed with the Afro beats band “Imo and One Africaâ€? as a dancer and singer and percussion player and frequently reigned as champion of the “Hottest Poetsâ€? a weekly competition that was held at the National Black Theatre. 

“Everything I wanted to do, I came here and I did it,â€? she gleams. Nothing tops songstress Alicia Keyes requesting her to sing at her book signing party for the novel “Tears for Water.â€? Gracing the stage with rappers Common, Kanye West and Mos Def convinced her that she has arrived musically and that it is time to record on her own. She has performed her demo songs “Water for Wine,â€? a house music selection about not giving too much of yourself to the point of discomfort and “Flow Fusionâ€? a rendition of the classic reggae tune “No, No, Noâ€? with her group “The Contraband.â€?  They have performed at numerous venues including the ALCU’s Right to Vote Tour with the political rap duo, Dead Prez.  But it was an entrepreneur with a new marketing and promotions company called Blackline Entertainment, who saw her talent from miles away and offered to record her CD sampler. Poetica is currently in the process of completing a full length CD and hopes to gain more support overseas and here at home.  Her song entitled “Water,â€? a collaboration effort with hip-hop artist Grand Agent, has sold over 30,000 copies in Germany.  Her single “Flow Fushion,â€? an electric reggae/hiphop-spoken word joint is also currently playing on WCADU FM, a college radio station in Philly. “My focus is not for my music to be commercial—I want it to be a slow groove,â€? she says, “because that is where young minds dwell without limitations."

Poetica is also the founder of the Poetic Star Product Line which is a collection of t-shirts, promotional materials, skin slaves and accessories that have been worn by the likes of actress Rosie Perez. She will be performing August 19th at the Blowout Lounge at Manhattan Center Hammerstein 8th floor, 311 West 34th (between 8th and 9th Ave) contact Poetica for more information.

For more information on this and upcoming performances check out or contact Poetica at  Log onto to view her press kit and download her latest recordings.

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