Chit Chatting with Singer-Songwriter Bree Taylor

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Canadian singer Bree Taylor has been writing songs since she was young. She says it has helped her get through hard times by writing songs about what she has gone through, or even what her loved ones go through. Keep reading and learn more about her, her music, her favorite karaoke songs, and find out what RiseUp TV is all about.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in the music business.

B: I’m a singer-songwriter and actress from Toronto, Ontario. I’ve been writing songs since I was a little kid and have always had a love for music. Music has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life – having been bullied all throughout my school years, music and writing are what helped me cope. My parents enrolled me in piano and voice lessons when I was a kid, and I participated in choirs all throughout grade school. I put my music ambitions on hold while pursuing my degree in University and after I graduated, I started pursuing my dream of performing and recording music. This is what I have been doing the past couple years and I’m really fortunate to have come as far as I have.

 

R: Tell us about your single “What You’re Looking For.”

B: Well, like all my songs, this song is based off a specific experience in my life that inspired me. I write from the heart, and I like my lyrics to reflect honest emotions. However, this song has become about so much more than the experience that inspired it initially. It is about how so many guys nowadays don’t know what they want when it comes to a relationship or dating, and end up wasting a great girl’s time playing games. With all the dating apps now, guys find it so easy to meet girls and are so often looking for something casual, with a fear of commitment. They’ve gotten lazy when it comes to romance, pursuing a woman, letting a relationship develop naturally over time, and getting to know someone.

This song is about having the self respect to walk away from a situation or person that does not fulfil you or give you what you want. We all deserve to feel loved and wanted and to be someone’s number one, and that’s what I want people to take away from the song.

 

R: Tell us about some of your other songs.

B: I have released two other singles before this current one. My first single, “Broken Dreams,” came out in September 2016 and is about a breakup I went through that felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath my feet. It’s about when you spend time with someone, get to know them, start falling in love, and they just bail and leave and end things with no explanation. My second single that came out in February 2017 is called “Perfect,” and it is about the pressures we put on ourselves and feel growing up to be perfect. It’s about how we never feel good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough – just never enough. Regardless of that, the message of the song is that imperfections are beautiful and to love yourself first no matter what. At the end of the day we are all strong, resilient, beautiful women and are our own versions of perfect.

 

R: Do you have any upcoming tours?

B: Yes! I will be part of the RiseUp TV tour in May 2018. We are touring across Canada starting in Vancouver, BC and ending in Montreal, QC. There are lots of shows booked over the span of two weeks and it is all being filmed for RiseUp TV, airing in Fall 2018. We are also in the process of booking more of my own shows for next spring and summer, so updates will be up on my website www.BreeTaylor.com as they get added.

 

R: Not only do you sing, but you write your own music. What is your writing process?  

B: Yes! I love songwriting – it is such a therapeutic process for me. I usually write about a topic that is close to my heart, which is why my music is so personal. I get inspired by things that I or my friends and family go through – mainly my life experiences and interactions. There really isn’t one way that I approach songwriting, to be honest. I typically start with an idea or concept of some sort – what I want the song to be about – and then go from there. I also love to collaborate with other talented writers, which is such a great experience; it brings another element and voice to the song and helps it in a cool direction.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

B: My music is available everywhere – Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc. Wherever you love to stream or download your music, you can find me! Links to everything can be found on my website www.BreeTaylor.com

 

R: Tell us about RiseUp TV.

B: RiseUp TV, as I briefly mentioned earlier, is a TV show following artists and bands behind the scenes as we tour and perform across Canada. You get to see what goes on during the tour, our performances and how we prepare, what it’s like touring with other artists, and all the behind the scenes stuff along the way. It is going to be extremely exciting and fun to be around so many talented musicians, performing and connecting with fans.

 

R: Who are some of your favorite singers?

B: I love so many artists! I grew up listening to various genres of music. Both my parents were big music fans, so I listened to all of their albums. Some artists I love are Elton John, Stevie Nicks, The Eagles, Blink-182,  Sum41, Amanda Marshall, Shania Twain, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Halsey, Kelly Clarkson, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Michelle Branch, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett…seriously, the list goes on!

 

R: If you could travel back in time, where would you go, what area and why?

B: That is such a tough question – there are so many possibilities! I am a bit of an old soul, so I would probably want to go back to the late 50s or early 60s to the golden age of Hollywood. Considering my love of music and film, it would be so incredible to go back to the time when it all started growing into the culture it has become and when some of the best music and films were created. I would love to grow up in that era and get to experience the 70s and 80s – some of my favorite musicians and movies were from those time periods.

 

R: What are your top five karaoke songs that you like to sing?

B: “Man! I feel like a Woman” – I love singing anything Shania Twain, but this is a classic.

“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus – it’s one of my all time favorite songs.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey – one of those songs that you just can’t help but sing along to.

“I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett – one of my long time favs to sing since I was a kid

“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood – I love all her music, and this song is so much fun!


R: I read that you are a social media/ PR guru. How did that get started?

B: Well thank you – I try! I was obsessed with social media at a young age; the digital world always fascinated me. Whenever something new like Twitter came out I would be on it – I remember the day Twitter first became a thing, no one in my school even knew what it was. I also went to University for Media Studies and I specialized in Public Relations, so we learned a lot about marketing and social media and its benefits in the media world. I chose my program because as a singer-songwriter, I wanted to take something that would give me knowledge and skills that would benefit me in this career (knowing I would be pursuing music once I graduated). I also got my first job out of school as a social media manager, so that helped as well.

 

R: It is not easy being a teenager these days. What advice would you give them?

B: I completely agree. It wasn’t easy for me growing up either, so I can definitely relate. I would tell them to be themselves no matter what – to not be afraid to shine, or to be different, and to not let someone else’s opinion of them define them or make them want to change who they are. Love whatever and whomever they want to love, embrace whatever makes them unique or different, and love themselves no matter what. Know that whatever they are going through, especially the bad, they are strong and they will get through it. Keep a positive outlook no matter how hard it may be and always try to see a silver lining in any situation.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

B: I don’t get asked very many strange questions actually. If I really think about it – I guess the strangest question I have ever been asked is probably “are you aware that you look like Katy Perry?” I get that ALL the time. People are always asking me if I know that I look like her or saying that I look like her, which is a HUGE compliment because she is gorgeous, but it gets super awkward sometimes, especially when I hear it a lot.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

B: Yes! My official website is www.BreeTaylor.com and I am on all social media sites!

YouTube: www.youtube.com/breetaylor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/breetaylorofficial

Twitter: www.twitter.com/breetaylor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/breetaylorofficial

Snapchat: @BreeTaylor4

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

B: I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for loving and supporting me and my music, especially this new single. I really pour my heart and soul into my music and to know that people are enjoying it and connecting with the song really means a lot to me and makes me feel like I am doing my job. I can’t wait to see you all at a show or event in the future!

 

R: Bree, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

B: Thank you so much! It’s been great talking with you as well – I am so grateful to be here.

 

Picture credit: Bree Taylor

 

Chit Chatting with Singer Alabama Luella Barker

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Up and coming singer Alabama Luella Barker is REALLY talented. You may know her as the daughter of Blink-182’s Travis Barker, but when you are listening to her new song “Our House” you will be able to tell that she is going to have an amazing career and make a name for herself. Read on and learn more about her, her music, who she would like to work with, and who her biggest influence is. Also, don’t forget to check out her video below for “Our House” after you are done reading this interview.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start singing.

A: I always used to dance and sing when I was younger, and that hasn’t changed. It’s fun!

 

R: Tell us about your song “Our House.”

A: I worked on it with Rachel West, my dad Travis Barker, and John Feldmann. It’s really fun and chill, and just about having fun with your friends.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

A: Everywhere! iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud…wherever you get your music.

 

R: What is your favorite song to belt out in your room or in the car?

A: Currently, it’s “Hold On” by Janine.

 

R: If you could work with anyone who would they be?

A: Oooh. Definitely Beyoncé or Rihanna.

 

R: I read that you were credited for writing “She’s Out of Her Mind” by Blink-182. Is that true?

A: That wasn’t really supposed to happen. I just went in there and started playing, and they were recording me. Then my dad told me that they were going to put it on the album. It was so cool.

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

A: Getting to see my dad perform and tour has been a big influence.

 

R: What are your future goals?

A: I want to keep working on music and fashion! I can’t wait to get started on my next single.

 

R: What do you do in your spare time?

A: I love doing makeup. It’s so fun.

 

R: tell us about your pet pig!

A: I used to have a pet pig named Chad, but he got too big so he lives with my aunt now. He’s so cute, and I still see him a lot!

 

R: It is not easy growing up these days. What advice would you give teen girls today?

A: To just do your own thing and not worry about what other people think.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their handles? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

A:  Yes! I’m on Instagram at @alabamaluellabarker and I have a YouTube channel too where you can check out the music video.

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

A: Thank you to everyone who supports me and my music.

 

“Our House”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6s1BTEr1WQ

 

Chit Chatting with Adam Campbell

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Adam Campbell is a well-established actor. Some of his acting credits are from Mixology, My Life As an Experiment, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Now this UK native is on the comedy show Great News, which can be seen on Hulu. Keep reading and learn more about him, his show, five things you may not know about him, and a tip on how to memorize your lines.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start in acting.

A: Well, my name is Adam. I am a rather small Englishman. I started acting in school doing plays and various amateur productions. I then went on to study theater at University before going to drama school in London. Six years training – I could have been a doctor!

 

R: Tell our listeners about your show, Great News, and about your character Greg Walsh.

A: Great News is a comedy series on NBC – it’s extremely funny because it’s from the team behind 30 Rock. It’s set in a cable news station. I play Greg, the executive producer. He is a rather small Englishman.

 

R: What is it like working with the cast and crew?

A: Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Horatio Sanz, Nicole Richie, and John Michael Higgins make up the cast – they’re absolutely brilliant in the show, and are truly so much fun to work with. The crew is also amazing, and in many cases, funnier than the cast.

 

R: Do you have any anecdote from the set of Great News?

A: The cast is quite gassy. During many of the takes, they have to stop filming because of uncontrollable burps. Especially the females.

 

R: What kind of roles do you prefer? Comedy? Drama? Horror?

A: I really enjoy comedy roles because I tend to watch comedy in my free time. My favorite television show is The Office. I don’t really watch much drama or horror as I get enough of that from my one-year-old son.

 

R: What character was the toughest for you to change into?

A: Although I’ve never really played a role that’s too far removed from myself, I did a horror movie last year called Wolves at the Door about the Manson murders. I had to play a Polish guy, so it was a lot of work to get the accent right. If you’re Polish, I recommend you don’t watch me in it.

 

R: Do you have any other upcoming projects you want to talk about?

A: I’m going to plug my wife’s TV show – it’s called Trial and Error. It’s also on NBC, and she is absolutely fantastic in it.

 

R: Do you have any secrets on how to memorize your scripts?

A: YES! Read the lines right before you go to sleep – in the morning, they should be lodged in your memory. Not sure why it works, but it does.

 

R: What is it like communicating with your fans? What is the nicest thing a fan has done or said to you?

A: I don’t really have that many fans, apart from my mother. The nicest thing she’s ever done is give birth to me.

 

R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to become an actress?

A: I highly recommend getting as much experience as you possibly can: trying out for school plays, getting involved with local amateur drama productions etc. It’s the BEST way to figure out, truly, if that’s what you want to do with your life. Acting is a tough profession, as I’m sure everyone says, so it’s definitely worth being honest with yourself if it’s really what you want to do. By getting involved in school productions, you might discover that you’re more suited to writing, directing, set decoration, etc. Explore as many different avenues as you can before making the commitment to just one path in the entertainment industry.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

A:

1. I am quite good at handstands. It’s how I make a living when I’m not acting.

2. Apparently I talk to myself a LOT. It freaks my wife out.

3. Put me in a swimming pool and I will spend the day in there. Try getting me out. You can’t.

4. I am extremely competitive playing sports or games with friends. I try to give the impression that I don’t care and that we’re just having a bit of fun, but my face goes red and my laugh sounds fake because I NEED TO WIN.

5. I’m Batman.

 

R: Do you have any charities that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them.

A: The Union Rescue Mission is a wonderful organization in downtown Los Angeles that serves the enormous homeless population down there. I am trying to get more involved with them. Homelessness is a growing problem in LA – I feel helpless as an individual, but URM provides shelter, meals, counseling, safety and love for the community in ways that astound me. If anyone is keen to get involved, please visit www.urm.org

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website?

A: I am on twitter (@adamcampbelly) but I don’t tweet much.

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

A: Mum, stop calling me at 2am, we’re on a different time zone out here.

 

R: Thank you for the interview. Have a great day!

S:  Thank you!

 

Photo credit: Sarah Dunn

Meet Up and Coming Actor Milo Manheim

Actor Milo Manheim is only sixteen years old, and already he has an impressive resume. With multiple plays under his belt, he is making his film debut starring alongside Meg Donnelly in the Disney channel original movie Zombies, set to be released in 2018. Keep an eye out for it! And keep an eye out for Milo, too. No doubt you’ll be seeing him more and more on the big screen.

R: Tell us a little about yourself.

M: I was born in Los Angeles, and I have lived in the same house for sixteen years. I grew up near the beach, and I love surfing, playing soccer, volleyball, and skiing. I play five instruments- some better than others. My favorite thing in life is to hang out with my friends. When we’re together we love to cook, write music, and make movies.

R: When did you first get into acting?

M: My best friend growing up was named Jyan. I saw him in a community theater production and I decided right then I wanted to act with him. We did fifteen plays together at that theater. We loved doing it so much, in our spare time we used to put on musicals in the garage. We’d even make fliers and sell tickets. The home videos I have are pretty hysterical.

R: Tell me more about your work in theater. What’s different about acting in plays versus acting in movies?

M: Acting in a play requires a different kind of energy and is a lot more nerve racking, because you only get one chance to do it. You have to be a lot more expressive on stage because you have to be able to reach a large audience, even the people in the back row. On the screen, you can be a bit simpler and smaller, but both require the same level of honesty, focus and commitment. Becoming a new character is the same no matter what medium you’re acting in; you just have to adjust your physical level of energy.

R: Tell me about your new movie Zombies. What’s it about? What was the audition process like? What was the filming like? Any fun stories?

M: Shooting Zombies was by far the best experience of my life. It’s like a dream come true. I got to do everything I love-singing, dancing, acting, rapping, tapping, and flips. I didn’t have an agent at the time and I wasn’t perusing auditions. A few years ago, a casting director had seen me perform in the musical Rent and she remembered me. She hunted me down and asked me to audition for Zombies. I had to audition about ten times, but it was all worth it. At first, I just made an audition tape, but the casting director saw something in me and pushed to have me seen by the director. After that, I had to go a bunch of times to read for different producers and the head of the Disney Channel. I then read with a few really talented girls to play Addison, but when Meg and I met at the callbacks, we totally clicked. After we got cast in the movie, we met a couple of times for lunch before we started shooting. Once we got to Toronto, we were inseparable. Not only did I love making the movie, but I met some amazing people who I know I will keep as friends forever. We went through something very special together. Right after we finished Zombies, I did a play called Generation Me in New York City. Meg and a lot of the cast came to New York to see me in it. We are all really supportive of each other.

R: What are some of your future goals and plans?

M: My plan is to go to college, so I can continue to learn how to be a good actor and work on my craft. I want to study Shakespeare and contemporary drama. I would also love to learn how to run my own business and how to be an entrepreneur. There is so much I want to learn.

R: If you could work with any five actors, actresses, or directors, who would you choose and why?

M: Jim Carrey is my number one. It’s been a dream of mine to be in a movie with him ever since I was a little kid. I wrote a letter to him when I was twelve telling him what he meant to me. I probably read his autobiography ten times. You can quiz me! He is the only one in the world with his amazing physicality and it makes me feel like I won’t have to lose all the craziness I have now. People just see him as a whacky comedian, but I know he is so much more than that.

Tye Burrell – He is brilliant and makes me laugh every single time I see him.

Melissa McCarthy – Needs no explanation. She is incredible.

Ryan Gosling – His subtlety is very unique, and I really admire his acting. When I’m watching him, I forget I’m watching a movie and I just fall into that world. I also love that he sings and dances.

Meryl Streep – I learn things from her just by watching her performances. I can’t imagine what I’d learn if I was actually working with her. She really is the queen of all actors.

R: What are some charities that you’d like to raise awareness for?

M: There are so many charities that deserve support. The ones that I have focused on in my life are:

Waterkeepers Alliance – I have been supporting the Waterkeepers since I was a kid. They are dedicated to protecting everyone’s right to clean water.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline — No matter what problems you’re dealing with, whether you’re thinking about suicide or you need someone to lean on for emotional support, call the Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255. People call to talk about lots of things: substance abuse, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and loneliness, to name a few. There is someone out there who will listen and can help you.

Pediatric AIDS  – I have been attending the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids fundraisers for most of my life. I hope that in my adulthood we will find a cure for AIDS, but until then we need to find a way to prevent AIDS in children.

R: What advice do you have for other young people that want to pursue a career in acting?

M: If acting is something you are really serious about, you can’t be afraid to mess up and take chances. You’ve got to be able to fail, and when you do fail, great things come out of it. If you love it, go for it. I know it seems impossible, but if you truly want it and are willing to work for it, it can happen. Take classes, make movies with friends, audition for plays. Experience is your best teacher.

R: Is there anything else you would like to add?

M: Thank you for letting me be a part of this interview. It’s exciting to tell my story. I just want to thank everyone who made it possible to be in the place I am now- all of my teachers, directors, family and friends who supported me while I failed and succeeded and got to where I am now.

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

Chit Chatting With Singing Duo Wild Fire

 

Written by Jill Sheets

I first found out about the singing group Wild Fire from my Instragram account, and decided that I would check out their music.  I am glad that I did.  These amazing sisters have been singing sense they there young and they have not stopped. Continue to read on about these talented sisters, about their music and their favorite theater acting roles.

 

R: How did you two get into singing?

Kelli: I started singing and taking professional voice lessons at age five, and Kayla at age six.

 

R: Tell us about your EP “Wild Fire.”

Kayla: Our “Wild Fire” EP is our debut record that was released in March of 2017. We wrote all of the songs on it ourselves, along with a couple other cowriters. The title track “Wild Fire” is a song about our arrival on the music scene. It is a hard-hitting, high-energy country rock song. Our song “Southern Summer” was inspired from our love of the Texas Gulf Coast. Our song “Social Media Lovesick” is a humorous song about relationships in the modern age with social media, texting and instant communication. Our most popular track is “Believe,” which is an inspirational song of hope. We wrote this song as a means to encourage others to pursue their dreams and never give up.  This has been our most popular song by far.  It has been featured on two TV shows, FM and AM radio and internet radio. We had a great time writing and recording our “Wild Fire” EP.  It took us about six months to complete it from start to finish.

 

R: I heard that you are recording tracks for a new album. Is that true? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it and do you have a release date?

Kelli: Yes, that’s true. We are currently working on a seven-song album. We started on it as soon as we finished our first EP. Five songs have been completed with two remaining. We think our fans will really love this album. The first single, titled “One,” will be released in early November. Let’s just say if you loved “Believe,” you will love “One.” For our fans who want to be the first to download “One,” they will be able to find it at http://www.wildfiresings.com/music. We do not have an official title for the new album yet, but will soon. Just like our first EP, you will hear elements of country, country rock and pop infused in the tracks. We are also heavy on the harmonies, of course. As far as a release date, we are targeting January 2018.

 

R: Not only do you sing, but you write your own music. What is your writing process and how do you come up with the ideas?

Kayla: We have different approaches. Sometimes it starts with a chord progression we come up with on the guitar, and then we begin writing lyrics. Other times, we like to write without an instrument. We hear the song in our heads, record it into our phones, and go from there. There are also times that we will overhear a conversation and that sparks an idea. Then we quickly write it down or record it. So we use various methods, but our main instrument we write on is guitar. We draw our ideas from our life experiences as much as possible. We feel it is important to be as open and honest as possible with our art. When you hear our songs, you will know that you have peeled the layer back and learned even more about us.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

Kelli: You can find us at all the usual distribution channels such as iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify, and so forth. We encourage our fans to purchase directly from our the music page on our website, which is: http://www.wildfiresings.com/music

If you want to connect on social media, our website etc., here are some links:

EPK:  https://youtu.be/csNpwg7Z0uw
http://www.wildfiresings.com

http://www.facebook.com/wildfiresings

http://www.twitter.com/wildfiresingers

http://www.instagram.com/wildfiresings

http://www.soundcloud.com/wildfiresings

https://www.youtube.com/c/WildFireSings

http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/WildFire12

iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/jr34g9p

Google Play: http://tinyurl.com/hcrj67f

Spotify:  https://tinyurl.com/n63yg8m

SnapChat:  wildfiresings

Musical.ly:  wildfiresings

 

R: What are some of your favorite songs to belt out in the car or your room?

Kayla: Anything by Sam Hunt, such as “House Party” or “Cop Car.”

Kelli: I would have to say right now it would be Carly Pearce’s “Every Little Thing.” Yeah, that’s my current jam.

 

R: Tell our readers about Upbeat Kidz Rock.

WF: Upbeat Kidz Rock is a TV show that features young artists under the age of 17 that write, record, and perform their own original music. We were selected for the show in 2016 and filmed our episode in Cleveland, Ohio. The show featured two music videos from our first EP: “Believe” and “Social Media Lovesick.” The show also featured some short interviews of us and our parents. We had a blast on the set, and the people were just awesome to work with. Our episode aired this summer in seven states and Canada. We recently were cast in another TV show called Houston’s Own Country. It is a local access show here in Houston, Texas, that also airs on cable TV. We filmed five music videos which will soon be aired on TV. We will also post these to our YouTube channel once the editing has been completed.

 

R: I read that you have performed in many theater productions. Is that something you would like to do in the future?

Kayla: Yes, we sure have. We began theater and dance at the age of 5 (Kelli) and 6 (Kayla) and fell in love with theater. We were cast in numerous plays up until 2016 when we started Wild Fire. I think this really shaped us as performers, as we were constantly in front of an audience speaking, singing, and dancing.

Kelli: I think in the future we would definitely love to audition for roles in theater, TV, movies and so forth. We love being in front of an audience!

 

R: What was your favorite role?

Kelli: I would have to say my favorite role was Gretyl in “The Sound of Music.”

Kayla: My favorite role was Alice Beineke in the “Addam’s Family.”


R: What are your future goals?

Kayla: Our short-term goals are to continue to write, record, and perform original music here in Texas and grow our fan base. There is a lot of ground to cover here in Texas. In the long-term, we plan to move to Nashville after high school and attend Belmont University. We plan to major in music and continue performing our music in Nashville.

Kelli: Our goal is to become a major artist in the country music world.

 

R: Do you have any charities that are close to your heart?  If so, which ones and tell us about them?

Kelli: The charity closest to our heart is the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Our Nana passed away from this terrible disease and we hope and pray for a cure.

Kayla: We also support St. Jude’s and Texas Children’s Hospital.  Kids are very special to us!

 

R: If you could go back in time, where would you go, what time period, and why?

Kayla: I think the 80’s would be fun. Yeah, I would go back to the 80’s. We love the music from that era.

Kelli: I would have to agree.

 

R: It is not easy being a teen. What advice would you give them?

Kelli: The most important piece of advice I would give is be yourself. Don’t try and mold yourself into what your peers think you should be. You are an original masterpiece and there is nobody like you.

Kayla: I agree and would also say don’t listen to the haters. You will encounter negativity and people saying you can’t achieve certain goals. They are either jealous or they do not have enough confidence to reach their own goals. Believe in yourself and you will succeed.

 

R: Anything else you would like to add?

Kayla: We would just like to thank you for this interview and we are so glad that we connected.
Kelli: I agree. We would also like to tell all our fans that we appreciate all of you! God bless!

 

Photo credit: Molly Young, Rob Iutzwig

Chit Chatting with R5’s Ellington Ratliff

 

Written by Jill Sheets

If you are a fan of the band R5, then it is hard to miss Ellington Ratliff. He is the drummer and singer of the group, which has been together for eight years. Read on and learn more about him, R5’s new album, and five things you may not know about him.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start singing?

E: I grew up in an entertainment family. My grandma is a dance teacher (still teaching, now on her 71st year), Mom’s a choreographer, and Dad produces shows in Japan, so it’s safe to say I was born into the industry. I’ve been singing and acting since I can remember.

 

R: Tell us about your new album New Addictions. What are some of your favorite songs from this album?

E: Picking a favorite song is like picking a favorite child, but I do like “Trading Time” and “Red Velvet” a lot. Even though it’s not technically on New Addictions, our new single, “Hurts Good,” is out and it’s definitely one of my favorites.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

E: Everywhere. Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube, etc. If you have a computer, you can listen to R5.

 

R: What is it like working with R5? What has been your favorite memory so far?

E: We’ve been a band for eight years, so there are too many memories to have a favorite. I always love being in the studio or on the road. I think that’s where we gain the best stores. We are very lucky to be able to do what we love and to have fans coming to see us all over the world. We are very grateful.

 

R: You play the drums. How long have you been playing and why did you decide to play them?

E: I didn’t pick up the drums until I was eleven, but I’ve loved them ever since. They’re a great way to put out energy–like if you’re having a bad day or if you’re extremely excited about something, drums are always there to be hit. I didn’t start drumming every day seriously until I met the guys (and girl) in R5.

 

R: Are you currently on tour? If so, how long is this tour?

E: We are currently on tour in Europe until late October, and then we head to South America. You can check our website for all tour dates.

 

R: What is the best thing about touring and being on stage?

E: I love being able to travel and experience other cultures and meet fans from around the world who have been touched by our music. Being on stage is also great, especially when a show is electric and the fans are totally in it with you, there’s nothing better.

 

R: You are also an actor. Is this something you would like to do more of in the future?

E: Yes, I’d love to be on a comedy series like Parks and Rec. Whenever I’m on a set it seems like so much fun.

 

R: Who is your biggest influence?

E: I look up to people who succeed in all types of entertainment, especially people like Donald Glover, who has his music project Childish Gambino. He’s also playing Lando in the new Star Wars film.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

E:

1. I was named after the famous jazz musician Duke Ellington.

  1. When I was thirteen, I did the workshop and LA company of 13: The Musical by Jason Robert Brown (famous composer in the theater world). Later, Ariana Grande did the same show on Broadway.
  2. I can juggle.
  3. I started out playing guitar before I got fully into drums.
  4. I’m an avid music finder.

 

R: Do you have a girlfriend? 

E: Yes, I do–she is the keyboardist in R5 and her name is Rydel. She also has a YouTube channel. You all should check it out. It’s about all things, from baking to tour life.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

E: It wasn’t necessarily towards me, but while doing a signing after a show somewhere, a mother of a fan asked Ross to give her the gum he was chewing. We were just like, “uh…no.”

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which one and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

E: I’m on Twitter and Instagram under @ratliffR5, and new episodes of R5 TV are back on the R5 YouTube channel. R5 TV pretty much is our POV of what our everyday life is like on and off the road.

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

E: Thank you for listening to our music and coming to our shows. We wouldn’t survive without you guys, and we’re going to keep releasing music, so stay tuned!

 

Photo Credit: Valentina Socci

 

Meet Rising Star Jenna Calandra

 

Hey guys! My name is Jenna Calandra. I’m from Long Island, NY and I’m 22 years old. My passion is music, and I want to be able to inspire everyone around the world.

 

R: When did you ​first​ ​get​ ​into​ ​singing?​ ​What​ ​made​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​seriously​ ​pursue​ ​it?

J: I was about eight years old, I was in a class choir in elementary school and I said to myself, “I want to be a singer.” I did plays in fourth and fifth grade, but I wasn’t a really good actress. I just wanted to sing!

 

R: What​ ​style​ ​do​ ​you​ ​sing?​ ​What’s​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​song?

J: I sing pop and R&B. My favorite song at the moment is “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore” by Demi Lovato from her newest album. She is my inspiration.

 

R: Tell​ ​us​ ​about​ ​your​ ​single.​ ​What’s​ ​the​ ​story​ ​behind​ ​it?

J: My single “I’ll Be” is about finding the truth about yourself and discovering the path of your dreams. Basically, it’s about not giving up on your dreams and instead living fully, falling in love, keeping yourself happy, and doing what you love most.

 

R: I​ ​also​ ​heard​ ​you​ ​have​ ​an​ ​EP​ ​coming​ ​out​ ​next​ ​year.​ ​Tell​ ​us ​about​ ​it and your recording process.

J: I do an artist development program in Plainview at The Loft Sound Studio, a.k.a. Artist Factory NY. That’s also where I record my music. I have two songs out now, and my third single is going to be out in 2018. Right now, I just want to take my time recording and songwriting for my self-titled debut album, Jenna, which will be coming out in about two and a half years. It’s about my darkest times, chasing dreams, and inspiring messages that I’ve learned from other people. I can’t wait to show the world this record!

 

R: Who​ ​are​ ​some​ ​of​ ​your​ ​inspirations,​ ​both​ ​musically​ ​and​ ​personally?

J: My biggest musical influences include Tori Kelly, Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift, but my main inspiration is Demi Lovato. Personally, I like her for who she is personality-wise, because she seems funny and cool to hang out with. She is very talented, and her vocals give me chills every time when I hear her song “Stone Cold” off her recent album Confident (one of my favorite albums). She also inspired me to keep chasing my dreams and keep myself healthy.

 

R: What​ ​are​ ​some​ ​of​ ​your​ ​future​ ​goals?

J: My future goals are to keep myself healthy, strong, confident, and inspire girls of all ages with my music. I want my songs to help others who are suffering emotionally. I’ve been there, so that’s why I sing and write songs to get those emotions out.

 

R: Is there any charity or cause close to your heart that you want to raise awareness for?

J: I want to start a charity in the future for people who are suffering with mental illness or who are disabled. We are all humans, and we should be respected as humans.

 

R: What​ ​advice​ ​would​ ​you​ ​give​ ​girls​ ​that​ ​want​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​a​ ​career​ ​in​ ​singing?

J: Never give up! You are beautiful, talented, and worth it. You can do anything if you put your mind to it because you’re strong and you can achieve anything. If you are bullied, don’t listen to the haters, because they’re just jealous and they don’t know who you really are inside and out. You are amazing. Keep your head up and listen to your heart!

 

R: Where​ ​can​ ​people​ ​get​ ​your​ ​music?

J: My single “I’ll Be” will be back on Spotify soon. I had some difficulties with a website that has a distribution with Spotify, but keep an eye out for it!

 

R: Is​ ​there​ ​anything​ ​else​ ​you​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​add?

J: Thank you so much for interviewing me! I had so much fun. To all the readers out there, don’t give up on your dreams. Keep smiling and be happy! Have a wonderful day!

 

Chit Chatting with Trinitee Stokes

 

Written by Jill Sheets

I first saw Trinitee Stokes on the Disney TV show K.C. Undercover–she plays a member of the Cooper family…a robot member. I was surprised when I watched the show how perfect her comedy timing was and how great an actress she is. She looked perfectly comfortable in front of the camera. She is going to go far in her career. But don’t just take my word for it–check her out for yourself! K.C. Undercover is aired every day on Disney channel.

R: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting

T:  I am 11 years old and originally from Jackson, Mississippi. I When I was two years old, I was watching an episode of That’s So Raven and it was really funny. That’s when I told my mom that I wanted to be on TV, so that I could make people laugh, too. I started out in theater at the age of three when my mom created me a role in her first stage play. When I turned five, I landed an agent in my hometown in Mississippi and my professional acting career began.

 

R: You are in K.C. Undercover. For those who have not seen it yet, tell us about it and about your character.

T: I play the role of Judy. Judy is the youngest sibling of the Cooper family, disguised as a sophisticated robot. She is there to assist the family when solving missions. Judy is cute, sassy, no nonsense, and very intelligent. She has started to feel some human emotions, which is something she hasn’t been able to do in the past. Some of the lines in her scripts would be something that I would say, so it makes it that much easier to come across in a natural way. Judy also has great fashion sense.

 

R: What is it like working with Zendaya and the other cast? Has she given you any advice?

T: Its wild working with the cast. We work hard, but we also laugh a lot. We always find time to start a dance party on set. Since I’m the only kid on the show, I get treated like everyone’s little sister. Something Zendaya always says is that we have a voice, so we should use it for good.

 

R: Tell us about Teachers and about your character Lauren.

T: Teachers was so much fun to shoot. It was the first TV show outside of Disney Channel that I had the privilege to work on. My character Lauryn is a very intelligent girl, yet funny in her own way. Her character was totally different from Judy.

 

R: If you could work with any five people, who would they be?

T: Viola Davis, Beyoncé, Denzel Washington, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansen.

 

R: Who is your biggest influence?

T: My mom is my biggest influence because her life motivates me to believe the impossible and to pursue everything God has for me.

 

R: I read that you also sing. Tell us about your song “Win Now.” Where can people get your song? Do you plan on recording more in the future?

T: “Win Now” is a song about learning to be comfortable with the way that God made you. Sometimes God has a special anointing on you and no matter how hard you try, you just won’t fit in with the crowd. “Win Now” encourages you to embrace your gifts and know that the moment that you believe you are who God says you are, you win! “Win Now” is available on iTunes.

 

R: I read that you are also an author and fashion designer. Tell us about that!

T: I am currently working on my first novel and a children’s series with my mom.

 

R: What has been your favorite memory so far?

T: My favorite memory thus far has been when my parents packed up our home in Mississippi and drove cross-country to California on faith. We made the trip a three-day site-seeing adventure. We stopped and spent the night in different states, and we sang songs like we were the Beverly Hill Billies!

 

R: What are your top five favorite books?

T: The Great Chocolate Chase, Judy Blume and the Not so Bummer Summer, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Story of Josephine Baker, and Land of Stories.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

T:

1. I like country music

2. I love to do different experiments

3. I enjoy cooking

4. I love solving murder mysteries

5. I am a young minister of the gospel

 

R: Do you have any charities that are close to your heart?  If so, tell us about them.

T: I recently “adopted” a child in need through Compassion International.

 

R: What are some of your future goals?

T: I have so many short and long term goals, but here are a few. I definitely want my own TV show and to star in feature films. I also want to travel the world performing and selling out arenas. Also, I look forward to walking into a department store and seeing my clothing line on display!

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

T: www.thetrinitee.com

Instagram: @the_trinitee

Twitter: @the_trinitee

Facebook: Trinitee Stokes

YouTube: Trinitee Stokes

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

T: I would tell all of my fans to always believe that they can accomplish whatever dream they have. Even if it looks impossible or they think that it is too big, still believe. Also, always work hard and have integrity. Lastly, always be true to yourself. Don’t try to be like anyone else. There is no one else in this world that can do you, so JUST BE YOU!

Photo credit: BOBBY QUILLARD

Chit Chatting with Sister Group Cimorelli

 

Written by Jill Sheets

A few years ago, I was blessed to see Cimorelli in concert. When I got to meet the sisters in person, they were nice and down to earth. They would talk and take pictures with their fans. They were also amazing in concert and hopefully I will be able to see them again! The sisters write their own music and play instruments. It is great to watch them develop in their music career. Soon they will be releasing a new album called “Sad Girls Club.” Read on about them, their music, and their new book.

 

R: Tell our readers about yourselves. How did you get into the music industry?

C: We are six musical sisters originally from California, but now we’re living in Nashville. We also have five brothers and we were homeschooled, so we grew up singing together all the time. We started our band at 10 years old in our hometown (Sacramento area) as a full instrumental band with electric guitar, bass, drums, and two keyboards. Then we started our YouTube career in 2009 and switched to more of an a capella thing, uploading weekly covers of popular songs to YouTube. In 2010 we moved down to Los Angeles and got a record deal with a major label. We worked in the music industry there for five years. It was exhausting and very frustrating trying to be ourselves in an industry where it felt like we didn’t fit “in the box.” Finally, we left our label and moved to Nashville in 2015. Since our move and going independent, we have recorded and released two albums of music, written and published our first book, and toured all over the US, Europe, and South America. Our third album, “Sad Girls Club,” comes out October 27th!

 

R: Tell us about your new album “Alive.” What are your favorite songs off this new album?

C: I think each of us has a different favorite for different reasons. My (Katherine) favorite is “Alive,” as I wrote a lot of the lyrics and it’s my personal story based on a poem I wrote.

 

R: You write your own songs. What is your writing process? Do you write things together? How do you come up with the ideas for the songs?

C: Each song is uniquely different. Some we write together, some on our own. Usually it’ll start with lyrics, and if someone has some lyrics but no melody, they’ll have a different sister finish it out. Sometimes one of us will write an entire song on our own.

 

R: Do you have any plans on touring soon?

C: We have been so focused on recording our new album this year and creating content for our YouTube that we haven’t made touring plans this year, but we are going to make some soon! Stay tuned!

 

R: Where can people get your music?

C: Spotify, Apple Music, Pledge music and iTunes.

 

R: Tell us about your book Lessons Learned.  Where can people get it?

C: We wrote it last year! It’s a book of advice and life lessons written for young girls and women. We get tons of questions and people asking us for advice on social media, so we decided to put together a book of the questions we get asked the most. You can get it on our Pledge music page.

 

R: What do you like to do in your free time?

C: We each have our own individual interests but I would say collectively, we like having dance parties and BBQs with our friends, watching movies, going on walks, and writing music.

 

R: What are your future goals?

C: We would like our new album, “Sad Girls Club,” to reach as many people as possible. We also want to plan another tour around the world! We haven’t been to Australia and a lot of Asia yet, so we need to get there!

 

R: It is not easy being a teenager. What advice would you give them?

C: I know it sounds like a promo, but I genuinely would tell them to get our book Lessons Learned on our Pledge music page! It is packed full of advice for teenagers on things like friendship, family, body image and self-esteem, career advice, spirituality, and even saving money.

 

R: What are your social networking sites?

C: Twitter: @cimorelliband, Instagram: @cimorelliband Snapchat: @itscimorelli

Our website is Cimorellimusic.com and our YouTube is YouTube.com/cimorellitheband

 

R: Is there anything you would like to add or say to your fans?

C: Thank you for supporting us all these years and for sticking by us through the ups and the downs. We love you guys with all our hearts and we’re so grateful we get to do this for our career!!

 

Picture credit: Acacia Evans Photography/ Founder at Big City Thoughts Magazine

 

Chit Chatting with Ali B

 

Written by: Jill Sheets

Up and coming 16-year-old Ali B started her singing career in school talent shows and after-school programs. She was 13 years old when she decided that she wanted to start recording. A couple of songs that she has recorded are “Kiss Me Goodbye” and “Strangers In Love.” Keep reading and learn about her, those songs, and what it was like recording for the first time.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start in the music business.

A: I am 16 years old and currently a senior in high school who is living the double life of quiet school girl by day and singer/songwriter by night. I have always had a passion for music and I am so thankful that I am on my journey to conquering my dreams. I’ve always sang growing up, but nothing big, just school talent shows and after-school programs. It wasn’t until I was around thirteen that I decided that I wanted to start recording music. I began searching online for local recording studios and I came across The Loft Sound Studio. I had my dad call up and we began going in there. The loft sound studio is one of the studios I go to all of the time and I am so proud of all the progression I have made over the past three years. After recording cover songs for a while, I started working on original music and now I have so many exciting projects I’m working on that I can’t wait to share with everyone.

 

R: What was it like being in the recording studio for the first time?

A: Being in the recording studio for the first time was kind of a shell shock to me. It was so professional and was a little intimidating at first. I remember I would go in and not say a word but then as soon as I got in front of that microphone I was like a whole other person. It was a big difference from just singing in my room to a big professional recording studio. Over the years I have discovered that the recording studio is like my second home. I feel happiest there–it’s somewhere where I can really just let go, be myself, and show who I am and what I’m feeling through music. In my opinion, there is no better feeling than that.

 

R: Tell our readers about your songs “Kiss Me Goodbye” and “Strangers In Love.”

A: “Kiss Me Goodbye” and “Strangers In Love” are my latest two singles out right now, and I am so excited about them. “Kiss Me Goodbye” was my first original single that we shot a music video for, which you can find on Indimusic.tv right now! Both of these songs I wrote at a time in my life where I was very much in love and at a time where my heart was broken. Everybody always asks me “who do you write your songs about?” I don’t really have an answer to that question because when I write songs, I write from my heart and about what I’m going through at that time.

 

R: What have been some of your favorite covers to sing?

A: This is definitely a challenging question. Any song I cover I usually wind up building some sort of connection to. If I had to narrow it down, it would be the song “Camouflage” by Selena Gomez. I chose this one because at the time that I recorded this song I was going through something that was exactly what the song was explaining. It was a song where when I sang it I felt like I was telling my own story. Music has always been an outlet for me whether I am sad, happy or just having a bad day. As hard as it was for me to build up the strength to sing the song at the time, it was almost a feeling of relief when I would sing it because I felt like all of my emotions were coming out through the song.

 

 

R: If you could go back in time, what singers would you want to tour with?

A: There are so many incredible artists that I look up to and would love to tour with. If it was a band probably either One Direction or Fifth Harmony, just because I feel like both of these bands have grown together so much and started out as just contestants on a show to now some of the most successful groups ever. Some others would be Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Halsey, and Michael Jackson. Not only would it be an incredible honor to share the stage with them, but I feel like they are all so incredibly talented and worked so hard for where they are now.

 

R: Not only do you sing, but you are also a songwriter. What is your writing process? How do you come up with the ideas for the songs?

A: The process of my songwriting is different all of the time. Sometimes I will come up with a song lyric in my head and think, “oh, that would be a great chorus or hook” and then base the song around that. Other times I will be in a mood and just write out all of my feelings and try to come up with sentences and phrases that can bounce off one another. Being a songwriter is one of my favorite parts of being a singer because it allows me to express myself through my music.

 

R: What has been your favorite song that you have written?

A: I write all of my songs, which makes me have such a special connection to them. I would have to say my favorite one that I have written is an unreleased one which I can’t spill too much about yet! I can promise that it will be out within the next few months and I cannot wait to share it with everyone. This was a song that I wrote when I felt broken inside and didn’t know what to do, or who to even talk to. With that being said I came home one day, sat on my bed and wrote this song in about 10 minutes. This song is a question as to why something ended the way that it did. This song has always been a challenge for me to sing because of how emotionally involved I am in it. I think that this song is something that everyone can relate to, and I want people to know that they are not alone when they feel this way.

 

R: I read that you wanted to visit Greece. Why and are there any other places you would like to visit?

A: Yes! The world is such a beautiful place and there are so many places that I want to visit. Greece is somewhere I have always dreamed of going because I am fascinated by the culture and way of life. I think it would be really cool to go and explore another part of the world that is so different than where I am from. I also want to visit Bora Bora and Fiji.

 

 

R: What has been your first “starstruck” moment? Who was it and what happened?

A: I am thankful to be able to say that I have had multiple “starstruck” moments, but my first one was probably when I met Hannah Montana/ Miley Cyrus. She is someone that I absolutely thought the world of growing up. She was and still is one of my inspirations. I remember I was in line at one of her book signings to meet her and I was so nervous to even look at her. It almost didn’t feel real. She was super nice and we took a picture that I still have to this day!

 

R: Do you have any charities or causes that are close to your heart?

A: I can tell you that I am in the process of partnering up with some charities that I am so excited to start to be a part of!

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

A:   1. I have an obsession with junk food and sweets. I could literally eat ice cream, candy, and cookies every single day.

2. I really want a dog.

3. My dream car is a Range Rover.

4. I have an obsession with Disney.

5. I write all my songs myself.

 

R: What advice would you give teenager girls these days?

A: If there is anything I could say, it would be to never listen to what other people think of you. Growing up I’ve had an endless amount of people make fun of me or tell me I’m not good enough, but I never and will never let that stop me. It’s up to you to make the life that you want and will make you happy.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

A: To be honest I don’t think I’ve been asked a “strange” question yet.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? Which ones and what are their addresses?  Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

A: Yes of course! You can follow my Instagram @alisonberke to see footage from some of my performances, newest pictures, and to keep up with where you might be able to find me next. My twitter is @alison_berke where you can also stay updated on my performances, where you can find me, my funny retweets and also just to see what I’m up to that day. My snapchat is @aliiberke1023 where you will discover I may or may not have an obsession with filters, what I’m up to, and maybe sometimes even some sneak peeks into what I’m working on! My official website is http://alisonberkemusic.com but you can also find my music on my Soundcloud, Facebook, and YouTube, which is Alison Berke Music! My three singles are available for download on iTunes & Spotify now!

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

A: I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supports me, listens to my music, tells their friends about me, takes time out of their day to listen to me, or to even like or comment under one of my posts. I appreciate everything more then you could imagine. I will continue being me and sharing my music with you all and I am excited what the future has in store for us. This is a long and hard journey, but if there is one thing I am certain, it is that I will never give up no matter who tries to stop me.

 

Picture credit: Donnie Klang and Matthew LaPorte at The Loft Sound Studio