“5’5″ with brown eyes” from the 2001 track “Caramel” became a very popular line from the artist, Mother and new star of TV One’s “R&B Divas LA” Ms. Claudette Ortiz. I recently had the great opportunity to talk with the former member of the Gold certified group City High about her life as a single Mother navigating through LA, while giving millions of television viewers a rare visual of herself alongside a handful of other divas.
How exciting was it for you to enter the music business at such a young age?
It was very exciting to travel and do all those things. I definitely learned a lot in a short amount of time from so much travel, working with contracts and things like that at a young age. I signed my first track when I was sixteen, so it was definitely a learning experience.
Looking back at your career in the group City High, do you feel the success came too fast to handle? How much did the personal relationships within the group affect the creative aspect?
Umm…No…it didn’t come too fast at all. We were actually working on it for a long time before it came out. I had been on the road when I was fourteen years-old with the Delphonics and then I got into City High. It was a long & hard working process. I mean, we just didn’t come out and have a whole bunch of success from the door. We had to work very hard. We started from the bottom and worked our way up. As far as the working relationship creatively, it came out natural and worked out fine. Going on the road is what became difficult because one of the members of the group struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse. Working with someone struggling with that was very hard.
How do you juggle Motherhood and your aspirations for wanting to pursue your goals in the business?
Jesus!! (LOL)…Nah really it’s the support of my family and friends. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Being a parent is a 24-7 job! It’s a sacrifice where you can’t put yourself first when you’re a parent because it takes a lot of your time. The only way I could do it is with the support of my friends and family, especially with the time consumption of this business. In order to be able to do this, you have to put a lot of time into it.
How did you initially feel about participating in TV One’s “R&B Divas LA”?
It was scary at first because there are no guarantees with anything obviously and I was at a point in my life where I needed to make a decision not just for me but for my children and my career. It was a family decision I had to make. I also didn’t know how much they wanted to expose my kids you know? They’re kids. I didn’t want them to feel later on like “We didn’t want to be on TV” or anything like that. We kept it to a minimum and it worked out so God is good!