At just 19-years-old, Selena Navarro Soto, aka Lil’ Lena, has been signed to NastyBoys Records, a record label owned by MC Magic from the N.B. Riders.

Lil’ Lena has come a long ways, but has been chasing her dream of performing since she was little.

“I have always wanted to be an entertainer,” she said during an interview with The Recorder on Monday..

She explained when she was little, what she wanted to do when she grew up changed every couple of years, but always revolved around being an entertainer. She went through phases where she wanted to be a dancer, and then a comedian, DJ and YouTube mogul. She had been writing her own lyrics for a while, but it wasn’t until some friends encouraged her to put her talents on center stage she really began to shine.

“When I was in high school, I would always be updated on the new music, and I just paid attention a lot to music and it interested me to do my own and that’s where I kind of started,” said Lil’ Lena. “I met some friends at a concert in Fresno and they were doing music. I started hanging out with them and going to the studio. They were encouraging me to do it but I was a little iffy at first. After watching them perform a couple of times, I knew I wanted to do it.”

Lil’ Lena recorded a song with local rappers Sufy and Trey Hunnid, which they put together with a group out of the Bay Area. After receiving positive feedback about her part in the song, it encouraged her to continue chasing her dream of being a full-blown entertainer.

Lil’ Lena has played several shows including Active Fest at Charlie’s Night Club, a performance at the Azteca Theater in Fresno and performances in Arizona.

After one performance in Arizona, Lil’ Lena and her family sent a video of her performing to MC Magic, who quickly responded to negotiate a recording contract over the phone. After discussing the contract, MC Magic and Lil’ Lena met at Peter Piper Pizza in Tucson, Ariz., in May to officially sign her to the label.

“As soon as I started, it just hit off,” she said about her budding rap career. “It was like it was meant to be because everything has been going good since then.”

Lil’ Lena’s father, Albert Soto, is excited to see what the future holds for his daughter, and is proud to say he’s the father of an up-and-coming rap star.

“I’m happy for her,” said Soto. “She did it, and plus she put Porterville on the map.”

Lil’ Lena’s career is just taking off, but there are big things on her horizon. She has already shot video footage for two music videos that have yet to be released. Some of the footage for the videos was shot here in Porterville, and feature Lil’ Lena sitting on top of the old Porter Theater.

“The first time I performed I got this adrenaline rush and I was like ‘I want to feel this way all the time.’ It was so dope,” Lil’ Lena said about her breakthrough in the entertainment industry.  “Right now we are in the process of recording an album. I only have two songs left to record and then we can drop it.”

Lil’ Lean finds inspiration from other rappers including SOB, YBN, Shoreline Mafia and Tupac. All of the lyrics she performs are her own original works.

“I write all of my own songs,” she said. “I find my own beats. I do it all by myself, and then I record with [MC Magic].”

She currently has six songs out on SoundCloud, but is hoping to release her first full album by the end of September. 

As her career is just beginning to bloom, Lil’ Lena wanted to send some words of encouragement to those who aspire to make it big in the entertainment industry, like she does.

“Keep pushing and chase your dream because it could happen.”

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