Last updated: 11/12/2007 11:00:00 AM
Few singers can say that basketball is responsible for their quick rise to pop stardom, but if it weren't for the NBA, the sultry Natalie would probably have a desk job. The sounds of Jadakiss, Usher, Gwen Stefani, and Beyoncé filled the headphones of the Clear Lake, TX, resident as she was commuting back and forth to school. She dreamed of becoming a singer, but without knowing anyone connected to the music industry, she chose to study criminal justice. One of Natalie's rare whims told her she should answer an ad for Houston Rockets cheerleader auditions. She got the job and was soon getting calls to dance for various Houston rap and R&B artists. She was also working on her lyrical skills during this time and decided to add a couple raps to her performances. Second time out, she drew the attention of Charles Chavez, the man behind Latium Entertainment and the successful careers of Frankie J., Baby Bash, and Chamillionaire. Chavez hooked Natalie up with producers Happy Perez and Play N Skillz. The sessions yielded many possible hits, but it was the ballad "Goin' Crazy" that Chavez and Natalie chose to put on a single. The heartfelt number was lighting up request lines on R&B and pop radio in March of 2005. Universal quickly signed the artist and released her debut album in May.