Cristina Bertuldo caught herself singing—and lowered her voice to a slight hum.
“Sometimes, I’m very selfish with my gift,” she explains. “So many of my friends ask why I don’t sing as often.”
She’s a sensitive soul, that Bertuldo, always looking for the good in others even after she’s been burnt. She’s an Omaha singer-songwriter who battles depression and anxiety.
Bertuldo has the unique ability of conveying the passion and pain in songs yet somehow maintaining a playful mood. She preaches from her scars. The local 101.3 FM radio personality, yoga instructor, photographer, and mentor uses music as a healing force.
“I just want people to know that they aren’t alone and not to be afraid to reach out,” she says. “If I could preach one thing…be kind because you have no idea what another person is going through.”
Bertuldo, now known as Lady Scientist, is (by all appearances) a well-adjusted woman whose voice dances with delight as she recalls a favorite anecdote or takes stock of her good fortune. In college, however, Bertuldo encountered her first bout with depression after her best friend’s parents died in a car accident. Overwhelmed by emotion, she returned home early from college. She turned to music, which soothed her soul.
Shortly after that brief stint in college, Bertuldo attended a Nikka Costa concert at the Music Box, a now-closed Omaha venue, and met producer Printz Board, who put her in touch with musicians to sing backup.
In 2006, Bertuldo sang onstage with Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda Lindo of the Black Eyed Peas at a Council Bluffs concert. She met Lindo when recording in the same studio as the Black Eyed Peas. He was on the video shoot of “Don’t Lie,” when Bertuldo approached him and threw her spiel about her talent. He asked her to freestyle. She did. They linked up, and Bertuldo moved to LA, but the pressures of the music business, and the big city, brought back demons.
“I was dealing with depression and anxiety on top of that,” she says. “When you’re caught up in that…you can’t grow.”
In 2008, she moved back to her Nebraska home to heal. By way of random and not-so-random connections, she was occasionally booked as an opening singer at area concerts and music venues. Her sultry yet soulful voice kept her on stage. In 2011, she won an Omaha Hip Hop Award for Best Female R&B singer.
“Whenever I tried to push music out of the way,” she explains. “It always fell in my lap.”
Right now, she prefers to be behind the scenes helping others. She helped a friend broaden her reach in fashion design with pop-up boutiques. She began consulting another friend through the use of her photography. And she began mentoring Chikadibia Ebirim, a local self-produced musician whom she assisted with music promotion.
“I wasn’t trying to heal myself,” she says. “But I was healing myself by helping other people.”
Life has been a roller coaster, she adds. “I’ve hit rock bottom several times. [Because] I deal with dark thoughts, I think people who are capable of so much light have this darkness they also battle.”
Follow @ladyscientist on Facebook for more information.
This article was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.