Freestyle Singer Cynthia Isn’t Changing For Anyone

Think of Freestyle music, and Cynthia is one of the first names to come to mind. As one of the First Ladies of Freestyle, Cynthia has scored countless hits with classics like, “Change On Me,” “Endless Nights”, “Thief of Hearts”, among others. Sitting down with Cynthia, now 37, you find a woman who is wiser, dishing about the rise and fall of Freestyle, her family and fun karaoke nights.

Growing up in Spanish Harlem, Cynthia Torres dreamed of becoming not a singer, but a pediatrician. “Instead of buying a doll for Christmas, my mother bought me a stethescope,” Cynthia says. She studied opera, but ditched the vocal classes, which she found boring. After a brief stint in the short-lived girl group with fellow Freestyle artist Safire, Cynthia’s big break came in a Bronx club stairwell, literally. She auditioned for producer Mickey Garcia and was signed almost on the spot.

Success soon followed. At 17, “Change On Me,” was released, and everything changed for Cynthia. Playing 3-4 shows per weekend, she dropped out of school to dedicate herself to her newfound career. Cynthia penned several of her own lyrics and even wrote a song for Johnny O. called “Memory.” Affectionately known as the Duet Queen in the Freestyle industry, Cynthia collaborated with Johnny O. for “Dream Boy/Dream Girl” (which went gold), Safire, and K7. After a brief hiatus, Cynthia released “If I Had the Chance” in 1998, from Thinking About You, which rocked the #1 spot for 4 straight weeks on New York radio station KTU 103.5 Top Eight at Eight. Not bad for an artist who has never had a music video, much less toured outside the U.S.

But as Freestyle took a backseat to the emergence of rap and hip hop, many Freestyle singers, including Cynthia, found they could not grow as artists. She credits Freestyle’s demise to money-hungry producers less interested in artist development than making the next Big Hit. “Freestyle never reached its peak,” laments Cynthia. “It just disappeared off the face of the earth.” She adds that many Freestyle artists are recording new tracks, but are getting shot down by record labels and radio stations, who have placed the moniker of “Freestyle Artist” on them.

Today, Cynthia works as a financial adviser for JP Morgan Chase, which she loves. But she hasn’t abandoned her old Freestyle roots. Cynthia just released her new song, “I Can’t Change Your Mind,” a duet with close friend and fellow Freestyle artist Lisette Melendez. Cynthia is still very close to many other Freestyle artists. In fact, on any given Saturday night, Cynthia hosts karaoke parties at her house, where you might bump into George Lamond, K7, grabbing the mike and belting out one of their hits.

Apart from her huge fan base, Cynthia’s two favorite fans are right at home with her. Cynthia is a single mommy to Matthew, 7, and CJ, 2. At this point in her life, Cynthia has her priorities set. “I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished,” says Cynthia. “I will sit here thirty years from now and discuss with my kids what Freestyle was, and how their mother performed, and I am content with that.”

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