A native of the Bronx, Reina said she has always wanted to be an entertainer. "I was a little girl watching 'Solid Gold' and other music shows, and I just knew this is what I wanted to do," she said with her signature bright smile and friendly demeanor.Reina (Spanish for "queen") studied voice on her own at home and later attended Lehman College in the Bronx, where she was active in many vocal performance groups. She participated in the musical "Fame" with the song "Out Here on My Own," and has worked with R&B diva Deborah Cox. Reina stepped into the scene in 1998 with her debut single, "Find Another Woman," produced by Hex Hector. The song climbed to No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and was nominated at the Winter Dance Music Conference in Miami. She followed it up with another Top 10 hit, "Anything for Love."Reina is an eclectic mix of Panamanian, Portuguese, Cuban, Italian and Native American, and her musical influences are just as diverse. The Who, Led Zeppelin, Curtis Blow, Run-DMC, Miles Davis and Donna Summer are just a few of the artists she grew up listening to, she said. Then, there are the powerhouse divas (Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey) who influenced her powerful voice. Before taking the stage at DNA, Reina felt the love of her devoted fans, who according to her, "are an even split between males and females, who come up to me saying how much they love my songs." This was evident when a group of fans (three men and one woman), after begging the club manager, came into the dressing room to meet her. "I love you. I've macked so many girls to your songs. Thank you so much," said one of the guys.After vocalizing and warming up her voice (she actually sings live!), Reina was ready to hit the stage. "DNA, welcome your dance diva, REINA!" screamed the announcer. A sea of young adults, with camera phones in hand, were ready to capture this special moment (and Reina's image) forever.Reina started her set with "No One's Gonna Change You." Although the DJ was still adjusting the sound system, which was not loud enough, her strong voice projected the lyrics with booming resonance and help from the audience: "No one's gonna change you, and I won't even waste my time. I'm gonna find someone who will treat me right." The sound was much better for the second song, which was a preview of Reina's new single "Forgive." But the crowd was already familiar with it. Girls with their boyfriend's hands around their waists clutched their chests and closed their eyes as they sang along to Reina's powerful notes.Total chaos erupted when Reina closed the set with her current hit, "If I Close My Eyes." The excitement, which was already high, doubled as the crowd cheered and sang loudly while Reina belted her hopeful anthem. Deemed "the new Donna Summer" by Regis Philbin, Reina can sure give any diva a run for her money with her powerful pipes and she proved it with an electrifying live performance. All hail to the REINA!
©2005 Community News Group
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