Rosella chases the spotlight

Rosella Nunez, 14, sings at various community functions and hopes to make a career out of it someday.

Rosella Nunez, 14, sings at various community functions and hopes to make a career out of it someday.

Dressed in pedal pushers with her ponytail tied up in a scarf, 14-year-old Rosella Nunez bebops to the oldies hit, "My Boyfriend's Back." However, she can just as easily belt out "Como la Flor" in hip-swaying Latin pop fashion.

"I've been singing since I could hear music and have been able to talk," she said.

And dancing came just as naturally.

"She had so much rhythm," said her mother, Emily. "I would laugh at her and say, 'Rosella, where do you get those moves?' She was only 4 years old."

Her first performance was in front of her peers at Fritsch Elementary School where she and her sister Rosalia performed "I Just Can't Wait to be King" from Disney's "The Lion King" for the school's talent show.

Rosella dressed as the lead character Simba, the lion.

"It was really fun being in costume and the feedback I got from the crowd," she said. "I love it. It's so much fun how people get into the songs I'm singing."

Since then, she was hooked. She's been singing to anyone who will listen -- and there are plenty who are willing.

She performs all over Carson City at events ranging from Salsa y Salsa to school performances and the college's multicultural festival. While visiting relatives in Los Angeles, she also books performances where she can make up to $100 in about 10 minutes.

She has also entertained crowds of up to 700 people in Reno casinos including the Hilton, the Silver Legacy and the El Dorado.

But she has her sights set even higher with Jennifer Lopez as a role model.

"I like Jennifer Lopez because she's Latina," Rosella said. "She acts but she sings in English and in Spanish. Selena's one of my big idols, too."

Like the former Latin singing superstar Selena, Rosella does not speak Spanish but can sing in the language. Her father, Danny, speaks Spanish and helps her with the pronunciation.

Onstage, Rosella's voice can fill a room but offstage, she's more timid, preferring to flash a smile rather than speak at length.

She will be a freshman at Carson High School in the fall and plans to continue singing and pursuing her other passion: basketball. She will also be auditioning for various roles in television commercials and other modeling jobs as a student of the John Robert Powers Modeling and Acting School.

The family is in the process of transforming their living room into a studio with recording equipment, hardwood floors and full-length mirrors where Rosella can practice and she and Rosalia, 17, can choreograph new dances.

"Especially in the summer, we'll stay up until like 1:30 in the morning and throw all these moves together," Rosalia said.

Rosella cut a demo CD after winning a singing contest in Reno, her first step in the journey to stardom where she wants to write, produce and sing her own songs -- with Rosalia dancing back-up. And those who know her now will be singing, "Fue un placer conocerte."


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