Nataylia Roni, whose diverse CV includes her being a singer, songwriter and actress was born in Birmingham but is now based in London. Roni has worked in the Tina Turner Workshop – meeting the legend herself, has won leading role’s in musical theatre and has performed on shows like, The Box TV, Blue Peter and the Sister Act show in Amsterdam.
More recently Nataylia has found herself working alongside charities and singing with choirs which has led to her performing at the Dorchester hotel, o2 Arena and Wembley stadium we decided to reach out to Nataylia to discuss her career to date and what’s happening now.
You recently performed at a Gospel Rock Concert what was the concert in aid of and how did you get involved?
Gospel Rock is a ministry set up to provide a platform for artist to spread the Gospel through different genres of music. I had to audition to enter the Gospel Rock vocal competition in which I gratefully got to the finals.
What was it like performing with more established Gospel singers?
To perform with the members of Gospel Rock was a pleasant experience a great atmosphere and we all encouraged each other.
Your career spans music, singing, acting and you’ve even written a few books how old were you when you realised you had creative talents and which came first?
I can remember being pre-school age and performing with my sisters, we would make up songs about anything. However, I am the only one who has continued. When I was young everyone thought I was going to be a comedian… yet to do.
It seems like you’re going with the flow of wherever your career as an all-round artist takes you, but as a musician how have you navigated the industry especially in a niche genre as Gospel do you consider yourself a Gospel artist, or an artist who happens to sing Gospel songs?
To be honest in America they would not class me as a Gospel act. Over here I would say my message is the gospel, positive lyrics. My music is inspirational…
You’ve also met and worked with Tina Turner what was the project, and what did you take away from working with someone with over 30+ years of experience in the industry?
When I got the call I was in my kitchen cooking and I jumped up for joy! I remember doing my best at the reading and I even was bold enough to ask for a quick photo with the legend herself. I seized the moment and have no regrets. When you are in the presence of a legend they no longer seem so unreachable. You realise they’re human just like you.
As mentioned you’re an author. You’ve written a few children’s books, can you tell us more about them, and why you chose children as your audience?
My books are yet to be published. I had one with a publishing company which closed down, so I am going to self-publish that book and the others I have written. From working with the BBC CBeebies on BAFTA Award winning Boogie Beebies I started to do children’s events and birthed the books. I love children and have a lot in my life from family and friends.
Now acting, you’ve performed on The Box TV, Blue Peter, in The Lion King on stage and you’re about to be seen in the new romantic comedy, Afua’s Diary…having worked across multi-platforms which resonates most with you as an artist?
I love to do what I want to do; my thing is I want to do more of it. It is about opportunity, location, and a lot of things that at times we have no control over. I feel blessed. I now am focused on the next level.
You played, Nala in The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End, that’s an amazing opportunity especially as it’s one of the longest running musicals, celebrating a 15 year run, what was that experience like?
That was a dream come true and my first lead musical theatre role. I found it a rewarding experience that I embraced in many ways and learned a lot. This was years ago and my how I have grown. To this day it has opened many doors.
Tell us more about Afua’s Diary and when it will be released…
Afua’s Diary premieres this year. To find out more, follow me on Twitter and I will tweet about the Leicester Square premier and retweet info about all the premiers happening worldwide.
What was the audition process like for the part?
It was pretty standard. I was given a script to learn in which I delivered my scenes in front of the panel – producer, writer; director. Thankfully I got the part. In actual fact I initially applied for the lead role and rightfully was given the role of Tracey.
What was your time like working with the other cast members? Had you worked with any of them before this project?
It was a really great positive experience. One that makes me enjoy meeting the cast time and time again. We have met up several times for various filming, awards, nominations & events to promote the film. It was my first time working with the whole cast. The youngsters in the film are probably all grown up now it’s been a few years since we initially filmed.
Afua’s Diary and What’s Love Got to do with it? both have women who strive to succeed abusive relationships what is the message if any do you want people to take away with them after watching Afua’s Diary?
It’s about love and immigration and much more. I am yet to enjoy the film. I haven’t seen the film yet. So the premiere this year will be my first time. I was working in the states last year when the London screening happened at the Odeon Cinema Greenwich so I missed that occasion.
Is there a moment in your career that you’re most proud of and why?
I was happy for the opportunity to work in Jamaica a few years ago meeting sir Richard Branson and Usain Bolt, it’s the country of my parents and also getting to the finals for BBC Radio 2 Voice of Musical Theatre competition and winning the semifinals. I believe more moments are still waiting to happen. Once I get management/agent again in the UK the sky is the limit.
What do you do in your spare time?
Do you have any targets or goals you plan to achieve in the next couple years?
Yes, I believe anybody who is going anywhere must. Now that would be telling what my goals are, it does involve TV, theatre, UK and the States…so watch this space.
What’s next for you?
Just to keep persisting keep believing and keep achieving and to truly enjoy the process. I also have a one woman show I will performing at festivals and would like venues interested to get in contact.