Jeannie Ortega

Teenage singer Jeannie Ortega terms her music "hip-pop," a blend of straightforward chart pop in the manner of Christina Aguilera or Natasha Bedingfield with hip-hop, reggaeton, and Latin influences. Born Jeannette Ortega in the tough Bushwick section of Brooklyn on November 19, 1986, Ortega devoted herself to a career in show business at an early age, busking as part of an adolescent song and dance duo called Sugar and Spice by the turn of the millennium. While attending the Brooklyn High School of the Performing Arts, Ortega had her first single, "Got What It Takes," placed on the soundtrack of the 2003 Nick Cannon teen romantic comedy Love Don't Cost a Thing. Signed to Hollywood Records, the Disney subsidiary that released the film soundtrack, Ortega spent several years on the tween-pop Radio Disney circuit of radio interviews, live mall shows, and other promotional activities as she recorded her debut album, No Place Like Brooklyn, with a series of producers. Ortega's second single, "It's Our Time," featuring guest spots by Gemstar, N.O.R.E., and Big Mato, was released in 2005, followed by her first charting single, "Crowded," featuring Papoose, in the spring of 2006. The release of No Place Like Brooklyn in August 2006 was accompanied by the album's third single, the kiss-off ballad "So Done." In tandem with her budding pop music career, the multi-talented Ortega also began a second career as an actress, appearing in a bit part in the 2006 teen romantic drama Step Up. ~ Stewart Mason

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