Sixteen-year-old Natalie Weese, a Fort Wayne native who already has 11 years of dance experience and has had roles in two films, now has launched a musical career with her debut album, Make Believe. Mostly co-written with her father, much of the album deals with the world as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl, with topics that include relationships, video games, faith and the difficult process of making decisions that affect your life. The album starts off with the title track, an up-tempo rock song with a catchy guitar riff. This song is about taking charge of your life and not making excuses for the decisions you make. "Pound it Out," a funky, keyboard-dominated song with a great hook, sounds similar to songs by newer artists like Paula DeAnda and JoJo and makes for a nice transition into "Every Time I Open My Eyes," a ballad written about love gone wrong by her dad, David, when Natalie was eight.
Other standout songs include "Fight the Good Fight," a song that encourages girls to stay strong in the face of everyday pressures; the funky and fun "Pacman"; and "Glimpse of Heaven," a song written about a dream Weese had about dying, complete with big, Journey-esque guitar licks. Additionally, Weese also does a nice job while covering the Bangles' "Hero Takes a Fall."
Although the album is primarily a pop/rock effort, Weese also delves into the area of hip-hop with "All About You," a song that would fit on the radio alongside most of today's popular hip-hop and dance songs, complete with the smooth rapping of Natalie's next door neighbor, Michael Ford.
With Make Believe Natalie Weese serves notice that she is an artist who has something to say. Her faith and ideals come out in her songs, which makes the listening experience all together more personal. Not only does she have a great voice and a knack for writing songs with a good hook, but she also writes lyrics that are meaningful and realistic. If this album is any indication, it's safe to say that Natalie Weese has a bright future ahead of her in the music industry. With a second album already on the way, it will be exciting to see where Weese goes from here.