Singer Nikki Yanofsky is Bringing Jazz to a New Generation

 

When you think of jazz music, you might think of really old classics sung by really old singers–beloved, but a little obsolete. That’s not what 23-year-old Montreal native Nikki Yanofsky thinks. This rising star is bringing jazz to a new generation with her fresh blend of jazz and pop. So far she’s performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, worked with artists like Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, and has recently released an EP. Read on to meet her!

 

R: Hi Nikki! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

N: Hey! I’m Nikki Yanofsky, I enjoy long walks on the beach (preferably with like, five dogs), painting and a good book!

 

R: When did you first get into singing?

N: I’ve been singing since I could talk…I started to put on little shows around my house for my family as far back as I could remember. I started performing for a real audience (that weren’t obliged to tell me I was good) at twelve.

 

R: Who are your biggest inspirations?

N: Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse, and Bruno Mars. My favourite songwriter is Rod Temperton.

 

R: What are some of your future goals?

N: I want to bring jazz to a younger generation.

 

R: What’s your favorite song?

N: That’s very hard. I don’t have a favourite song! I would feel too bad singling one out. Songs represent snapshots of different moments for me. That’s like picking a favourite moment in my life. And when you think about it, life is just one big collection of moments, you can’t have one moment without the moment that came before or after it.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

N: Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. Pretty much everywhere.

 

R: Do you have any social media, and if so, what are the addresses?

N: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter: OfficialNikkiY
We Heart It: NikkiYanofsky

 

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

N: Without you there is no this. I mean that. So thank you so much for listening to my music!

 

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credits: Alchetron, Donna Hopper

Chit Chatting with Pastor/Author Tabitha Caplinger

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing an amazing pastor, author, and overall wonderful woman, Tabitha Caplinger. She is the author of the TCO3 trilogy, which I cannot wait to read. Read on and hear her advice if you have walked away from God, her books, and what #LiveChosen means.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

T: I don’t want to just ramble out my standard bio, so…I’m a wife, mom, youth pastor, and author. I’m also a confessed TV addict. I spend most days in Tabitha Caplingermy pajamas, writing and drinking coffee. Also, I like to think I’m pretty awesome (I tend to think everyone is pretty awesome in their own way).

 

R: How did you decide to get into student ministry? What is the best thing about it?

T: My dad was a pastor. I’d like to say that I had this super inspiring calling experience, but in reality, I didn’t want to have anything to do with vocational ministry, so I pushed the idea of it out of my mind and ran away to a secular college for two semesters. God, being patient and gracious, kept speaking to my heart and showing me His purposes for my life. Eventually, I realized nothing outside of His will was going to make me happy and fulfilled, so I relented. The cool thing now is looking back and seeing how God redeemed those two semesters and is currently using them in my ministry (I was a creative writing major, though I had never once thought of being a writer prior to college. Now I’m a pastor and an author!).

 

R: You are also an ordained minister. How did that come about?

T: The moment I really yielded my will to God’s and began to walk out the call to student ministry, I knew I wanted to be credentialed as a minister–not for the title, but the training. I am ordained with the Assemblies of God. The classes involved in getting ordained are challenging, but they teach you so much about ministry and about God’s Word. I am also so thankful to be part of a fellowship that values women as equal so that I could become ordained. It was a super cool experience. My husband and I were ordained at the same time and my father surprised us by getting to be the minister who prayed over us at the service.

 

R: It is not easy being a teen. What advice would you give a teenager who has turned away from God and Jesus?

T: I would say to give Him another chance. I’ve been doing student ministry for a lot of years and those that started out with Jesus and turned away either went through something difficult and grew angry at God, or they never really had a personal relationship with Him to begin with (I’m not trying to cast everyone in general categories because our struggles and situations are all unique, but I think a lot boils down to these two arenas.). But while we may walk away from God, He never walks away from us. He is right there, waiting for us to just see Him, to reach out a hand for him. So give Him another chance, a real effort, ask Him to reveal Himself, to speak to you. I believe with all my heart that He will. And don’t confuse people with Jesus. Often we limit God by only seeing him in the light of other Christians. Look for Him, the real Him.

R: Tell us about your book The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline.

T: Basically, it’s some pretty cool and sassy girls who fight demons and are trying to save the world. There is also a stoic angel and pie.

 

R: How did you come up with the ideas for your books? What is your writing process? 

T: This book was a dream. That might sound clichéd, but it’s true. I woke up with this idea. Actually, it started with a vision of The Chronicle and the story just went from there. As for the writing process, I am an outliner first. My initial outlines are pretty broad and basic, and then as I go they get more specific. I do like to be flexible, though. More than once, my characters have gone off-script, and that has led to some of my favorite scenes.

 

R: Where can people get your books?

T: Amazon is a good place to start. Bloodline is available to order in both paperback and digital in other places online. You can even walk into your local bookstore and they can probably order it for you. I am waiting for the day it makes the Barnes & Noble shelves.

 

R: What advice do you have for someone who wanted to become a writer?

T: Write. Sit down and do the work. Even if you don’t have the whole book laid out, it’s okay–just start somewhere. Also, do your homework on the publishing and marketing process. There is a lot I have learned along the way that I wish I had known earlier. Writing the book is just the beginning.

 

R: Tell us about the book The Chronicle of the Three: Armor Bearer. When will this book be released?

T: Armor Bearer is the continuation of the TCO3 trilogy. It picks up a little while after Bloodline ends and we get to dive a little deeper into Claire’s history and Zoe’s present. Some new characters appear, too, which is always fun. And you don’t have to wait for it because Armor Bearer was released February 7, 2017!

R: Do you plan on writing more books?

T: Yes! I am finishing the third book in the TCO3 trilogy right now but I have two other book ideas that are swirling around in my brain. I can only focus on one story at a time, so as soon as Book Three is sent off to the publisher to get the process started, I will being outlining the next book, which I am really looking forward to.


R: Tell our readers about your blog.

T: My blog is like my brain, a little all over the place. I write about what’s on my mind that month. Some posts are funny and some are serious. Some are about writing or my books. Some are about my kids. Some are about Jesus. It’s a good way to get to know me because it’s just me, my thoughts on the page.

 

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

T: This might be it! I get asked what my favorite type of pie is a lot…or how I like my tacos. Doing an interview in character as Claire from Bloodline, I (or she) was asked what shoes she was wearing.

 

R: What is #LiveChosen?

T: For over 15 years of youth ministry I have discipled young women. After writing Bloodline, I put together a devotional resource that is its companion, Daughters Arise. But I didn’t feel like it was enough. I want the stories I write to open conversations about our relationship with God. I was reading Girls with Swords by Lisa Bevere one day and praying about how I could take the ministry part of all this one step further and #LiveChosen flashed in my mind. My TCO3 characters get branded with the word “chosen” after slaying their first demon. While we won’t slay any physical demons, we do have purpose–we are chosen. #LiveChosen is my initiative to help young women learn to live for their purpose on purpose. I have some resources on my website for girls and leaders and I have several #LiveChosen videos on my YouTube channel. (If you don’t mind watching me talk about Jesus in my kitchen or bedroom.)

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? Which ones and what are their address? Do you have an official website?

T: I am on all of them. Probably not really but a lot of them.

My website is tabithacaplinger.com and it links to all my social media.

 

R: Anything else you would like to add or say to your readers?

T: Just that you are chosen, powerful, loved, and never alone.

 

Say Howdy to Up-and-Coming Country Singer Carly Pearce

 

Hey y’all! I’m Carly Pearce and I’m a country singer and songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee. I can’t wait to share “Every Little Thing” with country listeners everywhere and I’m so excited for people to learn more about my music!

 

R: When did you first get into singing?

C: My parents say I was singing before I could talk. Growing up in Kentucky, music was a huge part of my life. I naturally gravitated to country and really, I have never known a day when I didn’t want to be a country artist.

R: Who are your biggest inspirations?

C: On a personal level, my mom is a huge inspiration; she keeps me grounded. Musically, I love really amazing female voices with a lot of character like Alison Krauss, Trisha Yearwood, and Faith Hill.

R: What are some of your future goals?

C: I would love to have a number one hit on country radio, be nominated for New Artist of the Year at the CMAs or ACMs, and one day become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I’ve got work to do!

R: What’s your favorite song?

C: Ah, it’s so hard to pick a favorite song! One song I always say I wish I had written is “Born To Fly” by Sara Evans.

R: Where can fans find you on social media?

C: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.com/CarlyPearceMusic

R: Where can people get your music?

C: Right now, my debut single “Every Little Thing” is available for download on iTunes and streaming on Spotify!

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credits: Carly Pearce Press

Meet Dance Moms Choreographer Gia Martello

 

If you’ve watched Lifetime’s hit TV show Dance Moms, then you’ve probably been amazed by these talented young dancers and their spectacular performances. Behind the crazy dance moves and beautiful choreography is Gianna Martello, who has worked with the Abby Lee Dance Company for years and is the main choreographer for the show. Find out how long she’s worked with Abby, her favorite styles of dance, and what inspired her to pursue it as a career.

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

G: My name is Gianna, but most people call me Gia. I don’t have a middle name. I’m twenty-seven years old and a Gemini. I am bi-coastal; I split my time between Los Angeles and my hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. I am currently the choreographer on Dance Moms, but I grew up dancing at the ALDC under Abby Lee Miller, so that’s how it all fell into place.

R: How long have you been dancing?

G: I have been dancing since I was four years old. I started in a church basement taking only ballet and tap, but I wanted to take all styles, which is why I switched to dance under Abby. The rest is history!

R: When did you decide you wanted to be a choreographer?

G: I started teaching and assisting Abby when I was sixteen. She trained her older students to teach her lesson plan and pass it on to the younger dancers. Once I went to college, I started coming home on the weekends to teach and choreograph, and I knew that this is what I loved to do.

R: Tell us about Dance Moms. How did you get involved with the show?

G: I grew up dancing for Abby and started working for her while I was still in high school. Some of the girls on the show were the first students I ever had, when they were very young. I was teaching and choreographing dances for the girls way before the show started. I used to go to competition with them, get them ready, warm them up, and make sure they were stage ready, so it was only right that I did the same on the TV show.


R: What’s your favorite style of dance?

G: My two favorite styles are lyrical and contemporary. I grew up as a strong lyrical dancer, and contemporary became more popular as I was older.

R: What are some of your other interests besides dance?

G: Shopping, makeup, fashion, music, sushi, massages…y’know!

R: What advice do you have for young dancers?

G: I wasn’t always the best dancer in my group, but I know I was the most passionate. Dance was the only thing I cared about when I was growing up. If it is your obsession, being the best doesn’t matter. Stick with it!

 

Check out Gia on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

 

Written by Anna Tallarico

Photo credits: Ryan West

Chit Chatting with Singer Matt Moseley

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently I had the honor of interview dancer Matt Moseley. Some of you may have seen him in Sia’s music video for the hit song “The Greatest.”  Matt is trained in jazz, hip-hop, tap, and even swing. This multitalented young man can also sing and act. Read on and learn more about him, what it was like working with Sia (and Ariana Grande) and about his EP.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the entertainment business.

M: I can’t really say the day I remember starting in the entertainment business, because it was so long ago! I’ve been apart of this business since as long as I can remember.

 

R: What were your parents’ reactions when they found out you wanted to perform?

M: They’re both very loving, supportive, and forgiving parents. Almost all the time, I’m being told how proud they are, but they try and make sure they’re not too involved in my own career since they both have their own lives and matters to worry about.

 

R: You where featured as a dancer in Sia’s recent music video for her song “The Greatest.” Tell us about that. What was like working with Sia?

M: You can’t imagine just how much fun the filming and downtime process was. So many memories were made during that time. I remember we had to get our heads shaved almost hours before the shoot, and I was the first to volunteer! It may not seem too crazy, but to have to lose all your hair that fast in that short amount of time is quite a lot to handle. Sia was (and is) a phenomenal woman, though. Her smile completely brightens a room, her personality is one of a kind, and she has the mindset to be only creative. She’s a wonderful woman and loves all people.

 

R: You also have been on some network shows. Which shows have you been on?

M: Some shows you might’ve seen me on recently are critically acclaimed shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, and many others!

 

R: Not only do you dance, but you are an actor and singer. Tell us about your cover of Jack Miller’s “Dazed and Confused.”

M: The process of filming the video was very fun and a huge learning process. I got to understand the way that the filmmaking process works and it was quite interesting. My co-star was very easy and fun to work around. We’ve actually been apart of the same dance team studio in the past!

 

R: Do you have plans on recording an album or EP?

M: I’ve been working on a couple of originals. I have a couple of melodies stuck in my head, but I definitely want to make 2017 the year that I release my first EP/album.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

M: I post new content on my YouTube channel about every other Friday, I have a SoundCloud page that I post almost all of my covers on, and I also put out small covers on my Instagram (link below).

 

R: I read that you got to work with Ariana Grande. If so, tell us about it.

M: For the past couple of winter seasons, I’ve worked on very engaging and exciting Disney-styled panto productions with a couple of A-list celebrities–Ariana Grande, Olivia Holt, and Jordan Fisher to name a few. I got the chance to work and partner with them, and they are just fantastic! They’re extremely talented people with amazing personalities and I’m looking forward to working more with this company in the future!

 

R: What are some of your upcoming projects?

M: I recently got the opportunity to sign with the social media/TV/movie production company, AwesomenessTV! They’re helping me achieve my dream and work with some of the artists I look up to. I also recently competed in an episode of a popular dance show called Dance Off Juniors on the DanceOn app!

 

R: Do you have a girlfriend? What do you look for in one?

M: The main thing in a girl that I look for is honesty, reliability, humor, trust, and understanding no matter what situations you both may face.

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence?

M: Coming from a teenage boy this might sound clichéd, but I truly believe that Justin Bieber has been a very large influence, not only for me, but for boys and girls around the world who want to spread their talents.

 

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

M: I have a really excellent talent for impressions, I practiced the art of Tai Kwon Do when I was younger, I have three very adorable and quite yippy dogs, I’ve been dancing all styles professionally for over fourteen years, and I’ve also starred in a couple of major short films during my early teen years.

 

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

M: It’s not a super odd question, but at the time I thought it was borderline strange and I still do. I was picking out a toothbrush from the store because I had to replace my old one, and this guy comes up to me and asks me what color toothbrush I used. I kind of just stood there for a moment and was just taken back, then I responded, but that was probably the strangest question I’ve ever been asked.

 

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?

M: All of my social media tags are the same across all platforms. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube. They’re all @realmattmoseley.

 

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

M: I want to just say to every single person that’ll come across to meet me, and find out more about me, that I thank you for your continued support, and that with most of my career, it wouldn’t work without any of you all being there for me. Thank you all, and much love.

 

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

M: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking to you! Have a good day as well!

 

Chit Chatting with Singer Ashley Brinton

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently I had the honor of interviewing the singer of the catchy song “All I Need,” Ashley Brinton. This native of Florida not only can sing, but she can act. She has been in national TV commercials for Banana Boat sunscreen and has had appearances on Animal Planet’s show World of Dogs and the movie Broken Vows. Read on to learn more about her, her music, and her advice for teens. Don’t forget to check out her new video that co-stars Tenzing Norgay Trainor, who plays Rooney on the Disney Channel series Liv and Maddie.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into singing.

A: I am 15 years old and was born in Florida. I’ve had a passion for singing for as long as I can remember. I used to sing in my mom’s car and she’d say I ruined all her favorite songs, but today she begs me to sing along with all the artists. My two favorite things are my two goldendoodles, Healy and Jojo. I got into singing because when I was ten, I wrote a song and wanted to do a music video. I had braces and the video was corny, but I loved it. I then followed it up by doing another song at age eleven and one at twelve. I was then blessed to be discovered by Tommy Mottola, who introduced me to world famous producer Cory Rooney. Cory is amazing and has produced so many hits for stars such as Michael Jackson, J-Lo, Bruno Mars, and Destiny’s Child. I love working with Cory. Words can’t even describe how lucky I am.

 

R: Tell us about your song “All I Need.”

A: “All I Need” is a song about how you need a network of people in your life as a support system. Girlfriends, boyfriends, family to get you through, anything. I felt this is especially important being a teenager, since it’s not always that easy.

 

R: How did you come up with the idea for making the video?

A: My vision for making the video was to show a glimpse of that support system and film it in a magical city like New York.

 

R: Tell us about some of your other music. Do you have any plans on recording an album or EP?

A: I have been recording for the last two years and have some really cool music. We are just finalizing which songs will be on my EP and album. It’s so exciting!!

 

R: You are also a songwriter. Tell us about your writing process–do you start with the words? How do you come up with the ideas for your songs?

A: I am blessed to be working with some of the best songwriters in the business. I am in the studio with them learning every session and taking it all in so I can create with them. My goal is to one day to be as talented as they are. I always throw my ideas out for songs and then when we are in the studio the creative process just starts to flow!

 

R: Where can people get your music?

A: You can buy my music on iTunes and listen to it on YouTube.

 

R: Who are some of your favorite singers and what are your favorite songs by each one?

A:  My favorite singers and songs are:

Halsey – “New Americana”

Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You”

Lana Del Rey – “Young And Beautiful”

Taylor Swift – “I Knew You Were Trouble”

 

R: Tell us about the movie Broken Vows and about your character.

A: In Broken Vows I played Daisy, one of the bridesmaids for Jamie Alexander’s character. It was so exciting because it was my first movie. I got to work with Wes Bentley and actually carry Jamie Alexander’s train on her wedding dress down the isle. These big stars were so nice to me and it was a great experience.

 

R: Would you like to continue acting? If so, who would you like to work with?

A: I would love to have acting be a part of my career. It would be amazing to work with Jennifer Lawrence. Her energy on camera is striking and she seems like a blast.


R: What are some of your future goals?

A: My future goals are to be recognized as an artist that inspires people. I want to be a good role model for teens.

 

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

A: It’s not easy being a teen–that is so true. I would say, don’t listen to negativity from your peers. Bullying has to stop. This world needs to love. Be yourself and don’t let anyone try to change you. It’s ok to be different.

 

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

A: The strangest question I have ever been asked is, “What type of monkey do you want to be?”

 

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?

A: Socials are:

Twitter / Snapchat: @ImAshleyBrinton

Instagram: @AshleyBrinton

www.Facebook.com/ashleybrintonmusic

 

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

A: I would like to say I hope you enjoy listening to my music. I really enjoy making it. I love all of your support!

 

R: Ashley, thank you for the interview.  It was an honor.  Have a great day.

Chit Chatting with Actress Jillian Shea Spaeder

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I was blessed to be able to interview up-and-coming star Jillian Shea Spaeder. Read on as she talks about the TV shows she has been in, her love of singing, and where you can find her on social media.

 

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

J: When I was in elementary school, I had some small roles in concerts and musicals. That’s how I caught the bug! I started with a private acting coach in fifth grade, and that holiday season I was cast in my first equity theater production. I was the only child in a cast of twelve. The following summer, I met my manager while in a performing arts competition in Hollywood. She was teaching a seminar the day before the competition began and told my mom after the seminar that she wanted me to come see her. I went to her office and did a cold read, and she offered to represent me. Because we live on the East Coast, we weren’t sure about living in California, so she encouraged us to come out for pilot season to test the waters. We came for two months, and at the very end of the trip, I had my first audition for Walk the Prank.

 

R: Tell us about your show Walk the Prank and about your character Bailey.

J: Walk the Prank is about four kids who have a popular online hidden camera show. The characters pull the pranks on real-life people, though, which gives the show a unique blend of reality and scripted comedy. Bailey is the only female of the foursome, and she’s the techie who uploads all of the videos onto the group’s channel. She is sassy, sarcastic, and one of the guys, but she’s also like every other girl fawning over the cute new guy.

 

R: What was the audition process like? Where were you when you found out you got the part?

J: The audition for Walk the Prank came up just as we were getting ready to leave California to return home to Philadelphia. We actually had the audition three hours before our flight was set to leave. The casting director told me she was sending me in to see producers the next day, so we canceled our flight. After I saw producers the following day, my manager called to say I would test for the role but it would be another two weeks or so. We stayed in California, and about three weeks later we had chemistry reads. Four girls read for the role of Bailey, and that evening I learned that it was down to another girl and me. We flew home and waited another month before the call finally came. The producers called while we were out to dinner with friends, saying the role was mine, and that we would be shooting the pilot just a few days later. I was jumping up and down with excitement!


R: What is your favorite part of the show?

J: On Walk the Prank, I not only play the role of Bailey, but I get to play all the roles Bailey plays when pranking. I have so much fun with all the different characters, especially when I get to be scary. I’ve always wanted to be in a horror film, so this gives me a little taste of that.

 

R: Do you have any upcoming projects that we can look forward to?

J: We are in the middle of shooting our second season of Walk the Prank, but I hope to do some movie auditions in the spring. I’d love to get into some films.

 

R: If they were to make your favorite book into a movie, what book and what part would you like to play?

J: I would love to play the main girl in one of the stories in A Tale Dark and Grimm. I love that series of books!

 

R: What advice would you give someone who wants to be an actress?

J: Being an actor is a lot harder than it looks! It’s easy to see someone on TV and say, “I could do that,” but actors work very hard. For teens like me, we work nine and a half hours a day and also have to do school during that time (and finish at night if we fall behind). We sometimes have school on Saturdays, as well. Private coaching and acting classes are important, too.

 

R: I read that you sing. Is that true? If so, do you have any plans on release an album?

J: I love to sing. I have been singing my whole life, even with my parents’ band at age nine. I started playing guitar and ukulele the past year, so now I’ve been practicing to improve them and work on some new cover tunes for my YouTube channel. I wrote and recorded my first original song in the studio this past summer, and I hope to release an album at some point.

 

R: Tell us about Children International.

J: Children International is a non-profit organization where you can sponsor impoverished children, sending in a small monthly amount that provides them with medical care, educational needs, or anything else to help them improve their quality of life. We learned about the organization from my aunt, who has sponsored many kids through the organization. My parents then began sponsoring three children when I was little (to match my brother, sister, and me). As a teen, my sister Emma ran a neighborhood camp for five years and donated twenty percent of her profits to CI, which made an impression on me. I hope to follow in her footsteps in some way. A few years ago, my aunt, mom, sister, and I had the opportunity to visit Ecuador to spend the day with two of our sponsored kids and learn more about the wonderful work CI is doing in that and other underprivileged areas of the world. It was truly a humbling experience.

R: It is not easy growing up these days. What advice would you give teenagers in general?

J: Be kind, be generous, and be a friend to someone who needs it. People who bully or say mean things probably do that because they don’t feel good about themselves. Don’t let them bring you down with them!

 

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

J: I love communicating with my fans, especially on Live.ly, where they can post their questions and I can answer them live. I’m not sure if this is one of the nicest things a fan ever said to me, but it was definitely memorable. She said she was being bullied and had become very depressed, but when she watched me on Walk the Prank, she felt like something clicked, and she decided to get into acting. She says she has gotten a few leads in school shows and is much more confident about herself now.

 

R: What are your future goals?

J: In the near future, I hope to be shooting a third (and even fourth!) season of Walk the Prank, appear in a film or two, and release an album!

 

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

J: Someone actually asked if I was the girl from Stranger Things (Millie Bobby Brown)!

 

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?

J:  My official website is jilliansheaspaeder.com and my social media links are:

Instagram:          @JillianSheaSpaeder

Twitter:               @JillianSpaeder

Facebook:           Jillian Shea Spaeder

Snapchat:           Jillbean1982

Musical.ly:         Jillian.Spaeder

Live.ly:                Jillian.Spaeder

 

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

J: Yes…pranks a lot for watching the show!

 

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

J: Thank YOU!

 

Photo credits: Ryan West Photo

Chit Chatting with Actress Grace Kaufman

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing multi-talented actress Grace Kaufman. She plays Kate on the TV show Man with a Plan, a  popular CBS comedy about a contractor who starts spending more time with his crazy kids, who he has to wrangle all by himself while his wife is at work. Read on to learn more about Grace, her love of singing, what people may not know about her, and why she loves to act.

R: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into acting.

G: I’ve always had a vibrant passion for acting. Both of my parents are actors, so I guess you could say it runs in the family! I used to put on plays as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz for my friends and family. I started in my mom’s acting classes when I was two years old, and began auditioning when I was six. I landed my first role playing Tootie in a production of Meet Me in St. Louis at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach. From there, it began!

 

R: Tell us about your show Man with A Plan and about your character Kate.

G: Man With A Plan is about a family in which our mom, Andi (Liza Schneider), goes back to work after staying home for thirteen years raising my younger siblings and I. Now, our dad (Matt LeBlanc) must really step up to the plate and become our “warden.” The show focuses around our crazy adventures and shenanigans. My character Kate is a blast to play because she has a little sass and rebelliousness in her, but she loves her family too, which is where I feel I can relate to her.

 

R: What was the audition process like? Where were you when you found out you got the part?

G: I received the audition script from my agents, and instantly fell in love with the character Kate. I went in and auditioned, then got a callback. When I came in for the callback, I got to read with Matt for the first time. I was so excited to meet him and even more excited to get to read the scene with him. I found out I got the part as I was getting picked up from school. I hopped into my mom’s car, and she filmed me as she told me the news. I was absolutely over the moon!

 

R: What is it like working with Kali Rocha and Matt LeBlanc? Have they given you any advice so far?

G: They are awesome, and I have learned so much from both Kali and Matt. It is an honor to get to work with such talented actors. Matt has given me lots of good advice, specifically in comedic timing, and that the funniest moments are always the most honest and real moments. I love watching both of them perform. They are brilliant, and have really helped me grow in my work.

 

R: What is a normal taping day for you?

G: Well, I normally get to set around noon, and we rehearse/camera block for a few hours. Then, after I go to set school, I go to get my hair and makeup done and get some food. After eating dinner, I change into my wardrobe and head down to the hair and makeup trailer again to do a speedy run-through of our lines with the rest of the cast. Then we go out and tape the show for the live audience.


R: Tell us about your film Sister and about your character.

G: Sister is a film that revolves around a family and their dark troubles. I play Nikki, a girl who suffers from ADHD, who is adopted into the Presser family. She struggles to cope with her new life, living with her older adopted brother Billy and fitting into a new environment. In the end, however, she realizes that she loves her brother and that family is everything.

 

R: What do you love most about acting?

G: I love that when I am acting, I forget about everything else happening in the world. I just get to live in the moment as someone that is not Grace Kaufman. As an actress I get to explore other people and different lives through the roles I play. It is one of the most magical and magnificent feelings in the world.

 

R: Not only do you act, but you sing and dance. Do you have any plans are releasing any music?

G: I love singing so much, and I think it would be amazing to get to release music. I have been writing some songs, and I can’t wait to see what happens!

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence in your life and why?

G: My mom and dad have been the biggest influences in my life. They love me and are always there for me in everything I do. They also push me to constantly try my hardest. I would not be where I am today without them.

 

R: Are there any charities or causes that are close to your heart? If so, which ones?

G: I strongly support the Autoimmune Disease Awareness charity. Every year there is a walk to help raise money and awareness for the disease and cause. I know many people, including my mom, who struggle with some form of the disease. It is wonderful to help out with this cause.

 

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

G:

1. I have two dogs and a kitten.

2. I play piano.

3. I could eat pizza all day every day.

4. I flew to Hawaii alone for the first time this summer to visit my friend.

5. I have a little brother.


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

G: “If you were a tree, what tree would you be?”

 

R: What advice would you give teenagers these days?

G: Being a teenager myself, I totally know that it can be annoying and mess with your confidence. Believe me, I struggle with my self-esteem all the time. I just want you all to know that it will be all right. I think it is very important to surround yourself with people who constantly support you and what you love. Believe in yourself and never be afraid to follow your heart. They always know the way in achieving your greatest hopes and dreams.

 

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?

G: You can find me on all social media at: @imgracekaufman (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook). I am planning to make a YouTube, so stay tuned!

 

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

G: Thank you for all of the constant support and love I receive! I am so grateful to have such dedicated and awesome fans. I love you all so much, and would not be where I am today without you guys.

 

 

Photo credits: RYAN WEST PHOTO

 

Chatting with Author Laila Jackson

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

L: My name is Laila Lee Jackson and I’m a total dork. I couldn’t survive without my family and, in my opinion, animals are better than people. I am sixteen years old and I started writing back when I was ten. I am very passionate about reading, which I have enjoyed since about third grade when I discovered the Harry Potter series. After finding Harry Potter I started reading more and more. I eventually stumbled across Percy Jackson and the Olympians and fell in love. With books and the stories that came to life with just a few words, I decided that I wanted to share my own stories with the world, so I started writing. It didn’t start off well. I was a decent writer, but I couldn’t give my stories any real substance. Finally, after basically moving across the state, I found not only my incredible friends, but an idea that came to life and after four years, I finally had the story I’d always dreamed of.

R: What is your book about?

L: I’ve never been good at summarizing a story, but I’ll give it my best shot. My story is about a girl who discovers she isn’t quite normal. Her soul is not her own, but rather shared with that of an ancient Greek goddess. One day, alongside Dakota Greene, Whitney Clarkson (the girl) stumbles across a magical clearing and awakens the goddess, as well as the souls of eleven other ancient deities from several different cultures. Whitney and eleven others are whisked away from the mortal world and sent on an outrageous quest that they can’t expect to survive. Between running from monsters of myth and magical beings that deceive the eye, as well as trying to keep her friends alive, (even at the expense of her own life) she discovers that everyone wears a mask and the difficulty of seeing through it. While that is the basic plot, there is much, much more to the story. Hopefully everyone can discover the world of Whitney Clarkson as she attempts to beat the gods.

R: Who are your biggest inspirations?

L: When it comes to my writing, my greatest inspirations are Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling. Rowling managed to give me an unquenchable thirst for reading. Riordan turned that thirst into a fiery passion and a craving to make my own own mark on the literary world. His works made me push myself and developed my dreams of sharing my own stories with the world some day. In life, some of my greatest inspirations and influences are my parents. My mom, whose mantra in life is probably “walk it off,” is one of the strongest people I know. My dad, tough on the outside, but softer than your favorite blanket on the inside, pushes me to always be the best I can be. I love them and honestly, I probably wouldn’t survive without them. My influences would also include my teachers and coaches. They are literally there everyday. They know when to praise and when to give constructive criticism. They help me to grow as a student and an athlete, but also as a person.

R: I heard that you are also into sports. What sports do you play?

L: I run cross country and play basketball, but my heart belongs to softball. Cross country constantly challenges my mental strength. I used to despise running. It was the absolute worst. However, my freshman year I succumbed to peer pressure and joined the cross country team, where my coach taught me how to love running. Basketball challenges my physical strength and sometimes leaves me worse for wear. I mean, a girl my age who is as athletic and healthy as I am shouldn’t already have aches and pains that make her hobble around like an old lady. I played basketball for a few years when I was younger, but then stopped until my freshman year when I joined the high school team. I worked incredibly hard and pushed myself and I finally made split team, where I had the privilege to play with varsity. I have played softball for as long as I can remember. It was a game I fell head-over-heels in love with. Eventually, my family moved to a small town in northern Nevada at the end of my fifth grade year. I continued to play and then at the end of my eighth grade year, one of the other softball player’s dad put together a travel team, the Wells Rage. Now, before that summer I was an average player. I wasn’t incredibly good, but I wasn’t the absolute worst. I understood the game better than most others, but my ability was lacking. After that summer I grew and I turned from average to above average. I had talent, but with good coaching and hard work I developed skill. Now I’m hoping to continue my softball through high school and at the next level.

R: Do you have an official website or any social media?

L: I do not have an official website or Facebook page, though we are looking into getting one. The Kingdom of Fire is available on Lulu, which is a self-publishing site. It is also available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

R: What advice would you give to other young writers?

L: All I can tell them is to just keep writing. Find a topic you’re really passionate about and just write. I never brainstormed anything. I did research, but once I pulled up my book I just typed. I lost myself in the story and let myself become a part of it because I cared about it so much. The most important part is to not give up. I have given up on a lot of stories because I couldn’t figure out how to start them or end them or transition to the next chapter. But I finally found a topic that I was so passionate about I couldn’t ever imagine giving up on it. I would also advise that you don’t look at any past work with regret that you didn’t finish. Don’t look at it and only see the mistakes. The more you write the better you get. Without my own failures in the past, I never would have grown into a writer. I never would have dreamed that one day I would have a published book. But because of perseverance and dedication, I do.

 

Chit Chatting with Singer Alexis Gregorie

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I interviewed the adorable 14-year-old singer Alexis Gregorie. When I first discovered her, she was singing “MoonChasers” on YouTube, an original co-written by her and Aimee Proal, who also works with singers like Kelly Clarkson. Read on to find out if she will be releasing an album this year, not to mention what the strangest question she has ever been asked is and what she likes to bake.

 

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

A: My name is Alexis Gregorie, and I’m a 14-year-old Californian that has a passion for music, art, and cake. I’ve been singing ever since I could talk. When I was ten, I posted a video of a music recital and a few covers. These brought me to vocal coach Didier, who also coaches Sabrina Carpenter and Jasmine Thompson. I’ve been creating and publishing covers on YouTube ever since. My covers caught the attention of Jeff Gordon, who introduced me to producer PJ Bianco. PJ Bianco brought in the talented songwriter, Aimée Proal. Together we created the first three songs. Zack Hannah produced the fourth song (to be released soon). My family is very supportive of my music endeavors, and Jeff’s experience in the industry is of great help to us.

 

R: Tell us about your song “Pretty Inside.”

A: Never lose who you are, even when circumstances change; for the better or for the worst. Even though there is good and bad in the world, the lines are sometimes blurred. We might feel tempted to cross that line because of social pressures, but remember to never lose the pretty inside you.

 

R: Tell us about your songs “Classic” and “MoonChasers.”

A: “Classic” is a song that is very close to my heart. It’s about staying true to yourself even if you are a bit different. The song fits under the umbrella of self-acceptance, and embracing yourself as a uniquely beautiful person that doesn’t fit in a category. After all, categories are for cookies. “MoonChasers” is a happy, upbeat song about chasing your dreams and pioneering into the unknown. To be the first person to do something new and different that is against the status quo is both challenging and exciting. Follow your dreams, even if it leads you to a place where no one has gone before.

 

R: Is it true that you wrote and co-wrote those songs? If so, what is your writing process? 

A: Yes. I co-wrote all of the songs with Aimée Proal (who wrote for Kelly Clarkson) and PJ Bianco (he produced for the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lavato, and others). As I am new to songwriting, I have to say that the creative process is so amazing. First, we came up with the overall theme of the song. Then, we created the instrumental and basic melody. From there, we brainstormed ideas for the lyrics, and started writing the chorus. Then we finished with the verses and the bridge.

 

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

A: “Summertime” in the style of Leona Lewis.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

A: My songs are available for download on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, and available for streaming on Pandora, Spotify, AppleMusic, iHeart Radio, Shazam, and Rhapsody. The links are on my website (link below).

 

R: What is your favorite thing about singing live?

A: That moment when the butterflies melt away and it becomes only you and the song.

 

R: Do you have plans on releasing an album in 2017?

A: Yes! It’s in the early planning stages. I have one more single to be released. After that, I’ll focus more on the album.


R: What are some of your other goals?

A: Travel the world, grow a little taller (I guess there isn’t much hope for that), make a perfect batch of French macarons, and learn an Asian language.

 

R: I read that you like to bake. What is your favorite thing to bake?

A: I LOVE to bake. European cookies, chocolate cake, and Crème brûlée are my specialties.

 

R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a singer?

A: Practice. Practice. Practice. Also, drink tea and honey, and give yourself mini pep talks in the mirror (you’d be surprised, it works wonders).

 

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

A: A couple years ago someone asked me if they could copyright my handwriting.

 

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?

A: Yes, I do.

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

My official website: alexisgregorie.com

 

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

A: I love y’all. Keep on being your amazing selves and don’t lose the pretty inside you!

 

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

A: Thank you, you too.