Natomas Teen Emerging as an International Pop Star

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NATOMAS -- It's hard being a teenager, between juggling schoolwork, sports practice and trying to find time for a social life.

But imagine, on top of all that, being an international pop star.

"I like to stay busy and just set my priorities straight," 17-year-old Jay Ulloa said.

Like many young artists who shoot to fame, Ulloa got his start on television.

"I auditioned thinking, 'I'm not gonna make it, but then again, who knows?'" he said.

When he was just 14, Ulloa sang his way to become a semi-finalist on the Univision music competition show La Banda.

"From there I was super motivated and I started posting covers online and that’s when my management team found me and we’ve just been growing from there," he told FOX40.

Three years later, he has fans all over the world. His 280,000 followers on Instagram (and counting) are seeing his music career take off.

But behind the scenes, Ulloa is trying to soak up what's left of his childhood.

"You want to be a superstar and stuff but at times, with so much work and stuff, you just want to be a normal kid," he said.

His music aside, Ulloa is far from an average kid.

A senior at Inderkum High School in Natomas, Ulloa holds a 4.4 GPA and is in the honors program.

After his AP classes, his day is far from over.

Next, he hits the pool with his swim team. He had missed several weeks of practice because of his music career.

"Trying to stay fit while in LA has been very hard," he said. "It’s really all about putting in the work. If you do, good things will come."

And if school and swim practice don't keep him busy enough, he also makes time for soccer.

"Being able to balance at his age is very difficult and he's been very successful balancing everything," coach John Torres said.

Ulloa's coaches say he stands out both on and off the field.

"His personality, his fire, his charisma," Torres said. "He's a good kid to have around."

And to them, he's just a player on the team.

"He's still expected to be on time, he's still expected to check in and do all the other things the other kids do," coach Derek Dykstra said.

That is until they turn on the radio or surf the web.

"We were on a bus ride back from a game and it was the first time I had heard one of his songs. One of the guys pulled it up on YouTube and I was like, 'Wow, that's our player right there.' It's been a crazy ride for him I'm sure and it's been exciting to watch," Dykstra told FOX40.

And as Ulloa kicks through the last soccer game of the season, he remains focused on his future, making a name for himself in the music industry.

"There's really no one who is my age, who’s young and does Latin pop, that does English and Spanish," he said. "So I really want to fill that market myself."

Ulloa is currently putting the finishing touches on a web series set to debut in March and is juggling a few other projects that are still under wraps.

He adds that no matter where his music career takes him, graduating college is a must.


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