Capitol Region fans of Kristina Lachaga, a pop singer known as “The Girl with the Big Pink Heart,” are heading to Albany on Saturday to hear her perform “R.S.V.P.,” her soon-to-be released new single.
Lachaga, a New Jersey resident who shows up in our area quite a bit, will take the stage at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center during the Back to School Expo, an event that also features celebrity appearances by Calum Worthy (“Dez”) from the Disney Channel’s “Austin & Ally” and Peyton Meyer (“Lucas”) from the Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World.”
On Sept. 5, Lachaga was in Troy, singing the national anthem at a Tri-City ValleyCats game.
She has performed twice at Proctors in Schenectady. The first time was in 2007, on the Main Stage, when she played Baby Louise in the Broadway touring production of the musical “Gypsy.”
In May of this year, Lachaga sang in the GE Theatre at a benefit concert for the victims of Schenectady’s Jay Street fire.
She also has a grandmother who lives in the Capital Region.
Lachaga, 20, has been performing since age 3, but her career really took off five years ago when she went to a Justin Bieber concert and held up a large cutout of a pink heart. Bieber singled her out from the crowd and sang his hit “Baby” to her.
In 2013, she traveled around the country on a 17-week anti-bullying concert tour.
Last month, she performed at a pre-party for a One Direction concert in Baltimore.
Three of Lachaga’s singles — “Wait Forever,” “No Doubt” and “Calendar” — have been released on iTunes and she is working on her first EP.
The Gazette talked with Lachaga by phone in late August, when she was getting ready to sing at the New York State Fair in Syracuse.
Back to School Expo
WHAT: Hands-on math, science and engineering experiments and activities. Kristina Lachaga, “The Girl with the Big Pink Heart,” will sing. Appearances by Calum Worthy (“Dez”) from Disney Channel's “Austin & Ally” and Peyton Meyer (“Lucas”) from Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World.”
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19
WHERE: Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany
HOW MUCH: $8 at the door, $7 in advance. Children 2 and under are free.
MORE INFO: www.backtoschoolexpo.com, www.kristinalachaga.com
Q: What will you be singing at the Back to School Expo?
A: I’m going to be singing my original songs and a couple of covers, and I’m actually going to be singing my newest soon-to-be-released single called “R.S.V.P.” I’m really excited for my fans in Albany to hear it.
Q: Why are your fans called “heartbreakers”?
A: It came about because I’m called “The Girl with the Big Pink Heart.” We thought of the fan name “heart breakers” and it just really stuck. My fans absolutely love it. They actually created their own hashtag, which is #heartbreakersforlife.
Q: What was your message when you were on the anti-bullying concert tour?
A: My personal message was my “sticks and stones” message. [“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”] Well, it’s not true because words hurt and so do rocks. I like to break that saying, let kids know that basically all the different types of bullying have an effect, like any type of physical bullying. I talk a lot about cyber bullying. With social media, kids are exposed to bullying even when they leave the school. I talk about if you are being cyber-bullied, like what you should do.
Q: Were you bullied?
A: I was bullied all the way up from kindergarten through middle school. When I was in third grade a group of girls actually threw rocks at me, a group of girls who were my friends and turned on me.
Q: What was the response to the tour?
A: The kids, when they see people who are out there traveling and performing all over, when those artists talk to the kids, they think “my gosh, you went through that, too? If you got through it, I can get through it, too.” They relate to it so much, they open up and they really are willing to share their stories, too.
Q: Are you still out there with your message?
A: I still talk about bullying if people come to me and want to share their story. With October coming up, anti-bullying month, I want to raise my voice and reach out and help spread my message. I want people to stand up for themselves and make a difference in their school.
Q: You were 12 years old when you played Baby Louise in the touring production of “Gypsy.” Are you interested in doing more musical theater?
A: Yeah, definitely. Right now I’m really focused on my music career. But if the right role came along, especially on Broadway, I would definitely love to go right back into that. Musical theater is something that’s really stuck with me.
Q: Did you go to Broadway musicals as a kid?
A: Yeah, I did. The first show I saw on Broadway was “Peter Pan.” Then I saw “Seussical.” I saw “Beauty and the Beast,” “Little Mermaid” and “Billy Elliott,” which is definitely my favorite.
Q: And you’ve been in the audience at Proctors?
A: We actually go up to Proctors all the time. We take my grandma. She’s 92. She just saw “Newsies.” My friend was actually in the tour and so we took her to meet him. She was so excited. And we saw “Flashdance” and “Mama Mia” just this spring.
Q: You were 14 when you held up the pink heart at the Bieber concert. What do you think of Bieber now?
A: The experience of Justin pointing me out at his concert in 2010 was so memorable. It was such a surreal moment because it ended up transitioning into my musical career. He followed his heart’s dream and I followed my heart’s dream. His music is still something that resonates with millions of people around the world and resonates with me.
Q: I listened to you sing in Spanish on YouTube. Did you grow up speaking Spanish?
A: No, but my last name, Lachaga, is Spanish from Spain. When I was little, my mom enrolled me in Flamenco dance. I did that from when I was 5 until I was 12 or 13. Eventually I would love to record a song in Spanish. It would be really cool to write a song in Spanish.
Q: If you could perform a duet with any singer, who would it be?
A: There’s four people I would choose: Demi Lovato from “Camp Rock.” Justin Bieber, just because of the big pink heart thing. The third would be a group, One Direction. And Kendall Schmidt, because I actually got to open with him.
Q: What’s next on your calendar?
A: “R.S.V.P.” is going to be on iTunes this fall. And as 2016 comes around, we’re going to be releasing new music and new videos. I’m going to be working with GlamourGals, as part of the GG Movement. It’s high school and college girls who form chapters. They go to nursing homes and senior centers. They do makeovers and manicures for the elderly. It’s great because it connects the generations.
Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197 or [email protected]