Claudette Ortiz, formerly the lead vocalist of the Grammy nominated group City High, and veteran R&B diva, is back in the game, aggressively pursuing her dreams.
Claudette recently dropped the first single “Automatic,” a proclamation of expectations in a lover, from her upcoming album. The R&B Divas: LA star showcased her bold, silky vocals while belting a trenchant and sassy message of what she expects to come automatically, in a relationship. We were able to catch up with Claudette and see what she’s been up to, and what she’s getting into.
Hip-Hop Digital: For those who may not have been on the scene, or missed out on City High, the billboard hits, and the Grammy nomination, can you please tell us: who is Claudette Ortiz?
Claudette: I was in a group Called City High, in my teenage years, I took a break, had three children, married, divorce, opened and closed businesses. I’m now a part of a T.V. reality series, called R&B Divas: LA, in which I co-star with Chante Moore, Lil Mo, Chrisette Michele, and Lila James; the first episode, of the second season, just aired two weeks ago. I’ve also just released “Automatic,” my first single as a solo artist.
Hip-Hop Digital: How exactly did the opportunity to be apart of R&B Divas: LA, come about?
Claudette: You know what, I was in a really low place; trying to pull through a struggle and provide for my children. I was prepared to go to the Air Force reserves, after years of doing other things – as well as music. I randomly received a phone call about being on the show [R&B Divas: LA], and to this day I don’t know how they got my number! I had heard of R&B Divas: Atlanta and a friend of mine told me, “Just try it, you never know!” So I looked into it; one phone call turned into another phone call and, after three in depth phone calls, it was officially on the table. After some prayer, and consulting my friends and family, I felt it was the best route to go- I could bring my children with me, be with them, and work; it was the best option.
Hip-Hop Digital: Now that you have the platform and fan base behind you, what’s your next move?
Claudette: R&B Divas has already opened a lot of doors. There are opportunities that haven’t been there, like having my face saturated in the market where I can reach more of my fans, and have more opportunities to play music and get interviews. Just like now, if I wasn’t on the show, we wouldn’t be having this interview now; that just goes to show that doors have been opened, doors that were hard to reach these last couple of years.
Hip-Hop Digital: During a recent interview, you discussed some of the ways the show is less like reality than some viewers realize. Last season you were a quiet, reserved even, but this season you came out with a very inviting, upbeat-girl-next-door vibe. Do you feel that the Claudette you portray on R&B Divas: LA is more, or less, like the real “Claudette.”
Claudette: When I don’t know people, like that, I’m not going to give you all of me. I like to get to know somebody before I let all of me out there. During the first season, I didn’t know any of the ladies like that, I didn’t know the film and production crew, and I had never filmed before. I was also relocating myself and my three children across the country- it was a very big move that happened in a short period of time. Then, in the middle of filming, my daughter had an injury and mind was just somewhere else. Now that it has been a year, before we started filming the second season, I’ve gotten to know the other ladies, I know how they film, and the way they go about; everything was in a better place, so I was able to be myself. You will definitely see more of the person that my friends and family know, portrayed in this season.
Hip-Hop Digital: I’m glad that everything is well with your daughter, and that things are in a better place, that is good to hear. Do you have any plans music-wise; is there anything on your mind, on your plate, in the works?
Claudette: Yes, absolutely! I’m finishing up my album, and I just put out the first single, called Automatic. We have a few more songs that we’ll release throughout the episodes of [R&B Divas] season two. An actual date for the album will be decided upon once we see the response of the fans
Hip-Hop Digital: Do we have a name for the Album?
Claudette: We’ve thrown around some ideas, but we haven’t completed the album. Since we haven’t completed the album, we haven’t heard it as a whole. Once we hear the album as a whole, we’ll throw around some more ideas, and then decide.
Hip-Hop Digital: Are there any collaborations we can look forward to; can you tell me which producers you worked with?
Claudette: I worked with RocCity, Polo, Jerry Wonda, which are all amazing producers; and I’ve worked with other writers as well. As far as features, I do have features; however we haven’t actually laid them down since we’re still working on agreements and things like that.
Hip-Hop Digital: Understandable. What was the motivation behind this album? You said you’ve had highs and lows, these past couple of years, what kind of influence, emotionally, has that had one the album?
Claudette: A lot! So many emotions and personal experiences went into this album. Knowing what the struggle is, to raise children as a single mother, going through a divorce, and trying to date again – I’m singing about all of that. I remember being in a really low place, and having nothing to but gospel music to really keep me going every day. I decided to make music like that, to inspire people and tell them not to give up; that there’s light at the end of the tunnel – it’s coming from my heart and the things that I’ve experienced.
Hip-Hop Digital: Sounds like real life! Where would you imagine yourself, career & personhood wise, in ten years?
Claudette: Funny you ask that. I don’ try to predict anything anymore! What’s that saying: “If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans”; yeah, I don’t do that anymore. I make goals, of course, and I work towards them but it’s never what you think it is, so I don’t try to focus on where I’ll be in 10 years.
Hip-Hop Digital: Definitely words of wisdom. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me this afternoon; I look forward to hearing the album, and seeing you succeed. I wish you the best on your journey.
Claudette: Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time out. I really do appreciate the love and support.
Interview by Tatiana