NEW YORK (Billboard) - When you’re the subject of a high-stakes bidding war while still a preteen, expectations will be extra high for your debut.
But so far, 16-year-old Karina Pasian is making good. The Dominican-American singer, who signed with Def Jam in 2006, has just scored her first chart ink with “16 (at) War,” which entered Billboard’s latest Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 93.
The track comes from Pasian’s debut album, “First Love,” due June 3. She has been taking piano lessons since the age of 3, started studying classical music in kindergarten, and met her current vocal coach at 8.
Pasian’s big break came five years ago, when music mogul Quincy Jones -- to whom she endearingly refers as her “Godfather in music” -- invited the teenybopper and her family to his Bel Air, Calif., home after hearing her nascent recordings. He took an immediate liking after an impromptu performance.
Things took off from there. In 2003, Pasian won on “Star Search.” Appearances at Jones’ “We Are the Future” concert in Rome and at the White House quickly followed. Now Pasian is sorting through more than 70 songs for “First Love.”
“My dad used to tell people he was going to take me to Hollywood. He would always say that I was going to be a star,” an excited Pasian says. “To be here now is really, really crazy.”