Rebecca De La Torre, a composer, musical artist and child prodigy knows what it takes to overcome the fate of a career and an abusive marriage.
From the “bible belt south”, Rebecca is an all-around musician who first learned to read music at the tender age of four. Rebecca’s incredible talent for pop, jazz, Latin/salsa, and R&B is perfecting how music is performed. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.
As a young teen, Rebecca picked up a brass instrument and quickly became the all-state 1st trombonist in her hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. At age 15, she took on the world of classical singing, began starring in numerous local musical productions and garnered a bookcase full of awards for voice and trombone. However, while Rebecca had a love of music getting there has been no easy feat.
During Rebecca’s early years, her parents encouraged her to pick a “more solid career”. After marriage, she then quickly climbed the corporate ladder to become a Senior Engineer with one of the world’s largest defense contractors, but music always called her name.
During an interview, Rebecca talks about the fate of her career, and a girl who was terrified about coming home every day for fear that her husband “would lay a hand on her”.
Q: When did you start working on a solid career, was it prior to your marriage?
A: I started working in engineering when I first got married. My husband actually encouraged me to not pursue music, because he wanted me in a more lucrative field. I got that kind of “encouragement” from all around – family, friends, etc. I didn’t start pursuing my music career until after I divorced.
Q: How long were you married?
A: I was married for seven years the first time. I am now happily married again.
Q: How did the abuse start?
A: It started with name calling and him saying cruel, nasty things to me. Of course he would either apologize afterwards or the whole incident would be swept under the rug and not mentioned again. Then he began to get really manipulative and controlling. If I didn’t agree or talked back, he made my life difficult and chastised me. This affected all aspects of my life, especially sex. He eventually became very sexually abusive and it deteriorated into pushing when we would fight. He constantly threatened to divorce me. He even tried to brainwash me into believing that no one else would put up with me.
Q: Can you tell women, what are the signs that you are in an abusive relationship?A: Never allow anyone to call you names. This is verbal abuse. Never allow yourself to be isolated or manipulated into avoiding or failing to maintain healthy friendships outside of your marriage/partnership with someone. This is a sign that the other person is trying to control you. If you feel you cannot express your own opinion or have your own ideas for fear of ridicule that is another sign of a controlling, abusive relationship.
These are just the beginning signs. If the things I mentioned above are happening to you, then your relationship is heading in a bad direction and is what could be considered severely codependent. Name-calling and manipulation can lead to pushing, shoving, and eventually hitting and sexual assault.
Q: Based on your experience, what is your advice to women who are in an abusive relationship and see no way out?
A: Don’t be too proud to admit that you need help and/or have made a mistake by staying in the relationship. Reach out to whoever you can, parents, siblings, coworkers, and friends. Realize that you cannot change the person, and that he will most likely not change nor improve his behavior, especially not while you are still in the relationship.
Although women are statistically less likely to be physically abusive, they are more than capable of being verbally abusive, which no one should ever tolerate. You need to believe that you are not alone and that life really can be better; no one deserves to be treated badly. It is not your fault.
Also, assuming you’re already married, don’t feel ashamed to be divorced. Being divorced is better than being beaten down (physically or mentally).
Q: What steps did you take to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
A: Well, seeing a counselor regularly has been a huge help. My current counselor is certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and that seems to work like magic. It’s amazing how EMDR therapy has helped me separate those extremely intense emotions from the event. I still remember things that happened, but the overwhelming fear, grief, anxiety, etc. is gone. Those memories are no longer a crippling part of my past.
Q: How have you benefited from changing careers?
A: Well, the best part is sleeping in on Mondays. Of course, that’s a joke! For one, I’ve had to learn how to run my own business. But more important than that, I’ve improved immensely as a musician. Not being in a cubicle 40-60 hours a week freed up some serious time for me to improve my musician skills. I am so much more fulfilled and happy as an artist.
Q: Talk about your new release “Incognito,” where do you see this album going?
A: Realistically, I’d love to get some placement in film, but have already a great fan base and I see myself continuing to get popularity in radio play. Perhaps a more famous artist will want to sing one of my songs. The majority of artists who receive any amount of acclaim don’t do it on their second release. That’s what this is for me: my second release. I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic while still aiming for the sky. The most important thing I’ve gotten from this album is a better grasp of songwriting.
In her second album called “Incognito” the album tells the story of overcoming a physically abusive relationship and the struggle that arises with self-doubt. She is self-taught and naturally inspired to create her moving, original music. Incognito will be released worldwide in May 2013. The eclectic LP infuses elements of pop, rock, county and blues influences. All 13 songs on the album are original compositions with lyrics written by executive producer T. Siering. The album is described as a personal reflection on the struggles, survival, and redemption of De La Torre’s life having been recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.