Ni­a­gara teen star Lalama is ‘for real’

The Welland Tribune - - Local - JOHN LAW [email protected]­a­garadailies.com 905-225-1644 | @JohnLawMe­dia

There’s home­work. There’s record­ing stu­dios. And then there are mu­sic videos that get mil­lions of views on YouTube.

And in-be­tween, St. Catharines teen Chris­tian Lalama still tries to hang out with some friends. Which isn’t easy when peo­ple are stop­ping him in the mall ask­ing if he’s ‘that’ singer.

“I make it seem like I’m just a nor­mal kid as well,” says the 15-year-old ris­ing pop star. “It’s hard to ex­plain, but I keep the two sep­a­rate.”

But Lalama’s 2018 was any­thing but nor­mal. In ad­di­tion to school there were U.S. con­certs, in­ter­na­tional me­dia, and a YouTube chan­nel closing in on 300,000 sub­scribers. His video for the R&B-heavy “Tic Toc” soared past a mil­lion views, tee­ing up last week’s re­lease of the funky fol­low-up “FRFR,” (For Real, For Real) his first song since win­ning the EMERGE young tal­ent search. More than 7,000 artists from the U.S. and Canada sub­mit­ted mu­sic, with Lalama among the singers earn­ing a la­bel deal with At­lantic Records.

For what could be a life-chang­ing event, Lalama sounds easy­go­ing about it over the phone. Like it’s just more home­work.

“Hon­estly, it just comes nat­u­rally,” he says. “Since I’ve been do­ing it for a while, I’ve got­ten used to be­ing ner­vous. I kind of cope with it way bet­ter now.”

A Grade 10 stu­dent at a school his pub­li­cist once again asks not to be named be­cause of safety con­cerns, Lalama comes from a fam­ily of mu­si­cians. His grand­fa­ther played sax, his un­cle Mark leads The Mark Lalama Trio and has per­formed with sev­eral ma­jor artists, and his dad Paul plays with Ni­a­gara bands Jonesy and Up Yer Kilt.

Lalama has played piano since he was four, and was win­ning mu­si­cal con­tests at 10. While his 2018 was mostly spent per­form­ing, he plans to de­vote more time to writ­ing in 2019.

“We’re go­ing to be do­ing a tonne of songs, a bunch of orig­i­nals,” he says. “A lot of my songs lately have been R&B. That’s the style and the au­di­ence I’m go­ing for.

“There’s so many songs I’ve recorded lately. I’ve taken so many trips to L.A., so yeah, there’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be an al­bum com­ing soon.”

SPE­CIAL TO THE NI­A­GARA FALLS RE­VIEW

St. Catharines singer Chris­tian Lalama capped a break­through year with the re­lease of 'FRFR' last week, his first with At­lantic Records.

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