I learned four-part a cappella singing to perform with the Hollywood High Tones at Universal Studios. I am so not a pageant girl, but I signed up for the Miss Junior Florida contest because I thought it would be good experience. I was so nervous at the contest; I went to the car and said to my mother: 'I'm not going to do this.
Are you going to be upset? I was the only brunette, but I won. And that's taken me to now. Latona picks at her sandwich. She is wearing jeans and a white peasant blouse that sets off her Florida tan. She is an unusual combination of malleable and confident: she is willing to be coached but never seems to doubt that her stardom is a certainty. Perhaps this is because she has had so much proximity to pop fame in Orlando. She is friends with the members of 'N Sync and dated A. McLean of the Backstreet Boys for two years.
She went to awards events with him, and she saw the screaming throngs at close range. People would pay for that. When Latona left her girl group, Innosense, she knew she wanted to be a solo artist. I think of my career almost like a research project. I try things and look at what works and what doesn't work. I want this album to be right, and if that means six different looks that look nothing like me, I'll still give it a shot.http://copegus.top/murder-in-mesopotamia-hercule-poirot-book-14.php
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She pauses. She likes ''Can't Take It Back'' and the other three songs that are in contention for the first single, but she isn't sure about the Shania makeover. J took test photos a few weeks ago, and Latona was posed wearing a fluted jacket that was frillier than anything she'd ever pick for herself. The pictures were taken in a bar with a country-western-honky-tonk ambience, and Latona agreed to J's plan, although she didn't feel the photos matched her idea of herself.
But since she wasn't certain what alternative to suggest, she went along. It's a wintry day in mid-March, and Latona and her manager, Larry Mazer, are walking through Times Square on their way to the W Hotel, where Latona is staying for the week. Mazer, who is in his late 40's, wears aviator glasses and is overgrown in an appealing big-dog sort of way. He has managed musicians from Pat Benatar to Kiss to Peter Frampton, but always on the downward slopes of their careers. I always wanted to find that one artist who could encompass movies, TV and music.
I hadn't seen her sing or dance, but when you saw her, you just got it. Her looks often have this effect.
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Mazer, Diener and Davis all circle back to the power of her appearance. It is probable that men in their 30's and up will find Latona's almost chiseled features more compelling than teenage girls will, but her looks were a big part of her appeal to J Records. And her star power comes from that presence.
Today, Latona is bundled into a down parka, and she mostly looks like a tourist. Mazer turns her around and points at a bus stuck in traffic. They arrive at the hotel and take the elevator to a lounge on the seventh floor. Mazer perches on a tiny stool, while Latona, who takes off her parka to reveal a flowered chiffon blouse, sits on an equally low sofa. They met in October , when Mazer was trying to sign the Backstreet Boys. The group went with another management company instead, but Mazer was fascinated by the Orlando scene.
As Seattle was to grunge and Manchester was to house music, Orlando was to teen pop. Latona's parents -- her dad is a retired truck driver, her mother currently works the graveyard shift as head of security at Planet Hollywood in Orlando -- eventually decided to home-school their two kids and moved the family to Florida so that Amanda and her older brother could pursue entertainment careers.
It was so great. One day, we're leaving the auditorium after seeing it the millionth time, and Joey Fatone was standing there. This was before he was in 'N Sync, and he started flirting with me. He said: 'I do this show.
I'm Wolfman. Fatone directed Latona to Dr. Fatone suggested that Latona audition for a new girl band, Innosense, which Harless was managing.
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By now dating Backstreet's A. McLean ''I love bad boys'' , Latona started rehearsing with Innosense. The group went through several stylistic incarnations, which may have prepared Latona for J's persona shopping. First, Innosense was conceived as a Spice Girls clone. The group never took off. Latona left the band before an album was recorded.
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We were all like, Give me chocolate. Mazer laughs. He knows the teen-pop world is fading, but he still views Britney Spears's early career as a template for Latona ''Her single '. Baby One More Time' came out in November ,'' he recites from memory. They shipped ,, and it debuted at No. That's how to do it. Latona nods, as she usually does when Mazer or Diener dream aloud about her possibilities.
She believes what they believe: that she will be a star on the order of Mariah Carey or even Madonna. Even though she has never recorded an album, Latona has an online fan base that has followed her for years, primarily because she was the girlfriend of a Backstreet Boy. She claims to have 40 Web sites devoted to her. There is something suspicious, however, about how often the specifically Amanda word ''Yay!
They can't wait for my record. Not convinced the teen thing is over, he thinks this song has a broader pop appeal. And he's shying away from the Shania idea. He and Latona have seen the photos, and they don't present her well. Diener, who keeps one of the Shania-style shots on his desk, realizes they make Latona look too old. But he is still enthralled with ''Can't Take It Back.
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Making the decision is complicated, because the pop audience is shifting before J's eyes. The reigning sound has gone from flirty and soft Britney to rebellious and loud, as personified by the year-old singer Pink, whose current hit, ''Just Like a Pill,'' has an angry-girl rock chorus: ''Instead of makin' me better, you keep makin' me ill! J, Mazer and Latona want to pick a song and image that will fit this new pop mood. Latona may have been signed to be J's answer to Britney, but she can just as easily be J's answer to Pink.
Mazer and Latona discuss her first video. I want to relate to the girls as being a cool girl, not someone they are intimidated by. Mazer agrees. Same with Britney.
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