Pop star Luna Blaise discusses latest single Camera Roll, and bringing diversity to the hit sitcom Fresh Off the Boat
Rising pop star Luna Blaise discusses her latest single Camera Roll, and bringing diversity to the hit ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. Luna also gives the low down on her nationwide tour with Jacob Satorius.
You've currently had a recurring role on the hit ABC sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" playing Nicole the tough girl who moves next door to the Huang family. Can you take us through your audition process for Nicole, and do you remember what you were doing when you got the role?
I remember exactly what I did for the audition. I actually didn’t want to audition at first because I was going to have to do a hip-hop dance number for it. I’ve been trained in ballet since but, had never danced hip hop before. For the audition, I danced to a Janet Jackson song and made up my own choreographed dance. When I found out I got the roll, I was actually coming out of a dance class. My manager called to tell me, and I was so excited about it!
"Fresh Off the Boat" follows the story of Eddie Huang's Taiwanese family as they make their way from Chinatown of Washington, DC to Orlando, Florida, to open a cowboy-themed steak restaurant in 1995. What does a typical day on-set look like, and can describe your character of Nicole?
On a typical day on set, I arrive half an hour early to settle into my trailer. Then I go grab some breakfast or tea -- sometimes coffee since it’s usually super early in the morning. When it’s my call time, I go to hair and makeup and then rehearsals. Then I go back to my trailer and use my downtime to read through my lines, and sometimes go live on my Instagram or Snapchat until it’s time to go to set and shoot.
You just released your new single “Camera Roll,” which is currently available on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify. Can you tell us about the recording process of this song, and how you started singing?
The idea for my new single “Camera Roll” came about in a recording session. My producer was on the phone and I told him to put his phone down and focus. And then thought of the lyrics, “put your phone down now.. and focus right on me.” It was really catchy, and we played off of that to make it more of a pop love ballad.
You're currently on a nationwide tour with artist "Jacob Sartorius" playing in selected cities. What did you do to prepare for the tour, and do you ever before get nervous on stage?
I had a bunch of rehearsals before going on tour. Preparing for this tour was a little different than the ones I’ve been on in the past because I decided to perform my new single “Camera Roll” before it was released. I took a risk, but I’m glad I did because the response has been incredible. I’m so excited for it to come out on February 2nd!
You started working professionally at the age of 5 doing commercials and modeling, working on many advertising campaigns for brands that included McDonalds, KFC, Dunkin Hines, Target, Gap, Juicy Couture. Can you tell us how you get started acting?
I started out modeling when I was a child actually for a lot of those brands! I’ve always wanted to be on TV and in movies. When I went to the movies as a kid, I used to run down the aisles in front of the screen when the credits rolled because I thought that made you a part of the movie. So I started auditioning!
In June of 2016 you starred as the love interest for Internet sensation Jacob Sartorius in the "Sweatshirt" music video. Which, actually started a firestorm in the digital space of fandom sparking rumors that you two were dating. Why did you receive multiple death threats and massive hate from young fans all around the world?
Jacob has a huge fan base that is very loyal to him. It was upsetting to receive a bunch of negative social media feedback for it. People take hate in all different ways, and I chose to not really take it personally. A person will hate all they want on social media behind their cell phone, but probably wouldn’t come up to you in person and say the same mean comments. Luckily, I have a great support system around me and was able to turn the negative situation into a positive one.
You're a big advocate for educating teens about anti-bullying and LGBTQ community issues. Can you tell us about makes you so passionate about these specific issues, and were you ever bullied?
I’m a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community! My character ‘Nicole’ on Fresh Off the Boat came out as a lesbian this season, and it’s been an honor to portray her. When I found out about my character’s new plot line, I teamed up with GLAAD to become a better advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and help make coming out easier for other teens.
I think nobody should have to feel like they’re in a dark place. People should be accepted for who they are and not feel ashamed to be their true selves. We should always treat each other as human beings and equals. Nobody is better than anyone else and nobody should be treated differently for the choices they make.
What can you tell us about your upcoming feature film Surviving Theater 9 which, is scheduled to come out next year, and your character Luna?
Surviving Theater 9 is based on the real-life events of the 2012 Aurora Theater shooting. The film is a narrative seen through the eyes of one of the survivors, Tim McGrath. Tim wrote, directed and acted in the film. I play his childhood love interest who tries to help him through his PTSD following the incident. I love being a part of such a positively impactful project with a strong social message.
Watch full episodes of Fresh on the Boat on ABC.com.
Buy Luna Blaise's latest single Camera Roll on itunes.
See a full list of Luna's current tour dates with Jacob Satorius below.
On Tour with Jacob Satorius:
FEB 04 , HOUSE OF BLUES, ORLANDO, FL
FEB 18, THE NEPTUNE , SEATTLE, WA
FEB 20, REGENCY BALLROOM, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
FEB 23, THE VAN BUREN, PHOENIX, AZ
FEB 25, THE WILTERN, LOS ANGELES, CA
Rising teen singer Caroline Roman talks exclusively on the We Blab Entertainment Podcast about, the High School Nation Tour, and her latest single Gold. Also, Caroline tells us about her what her fans mean to her.
Per order Caroline Roman EP "Gold" exclusively on carolineromanmusic.com
Watch the music video for her latest single the Heat of the Summer below.
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Emily Rawlings, Michelle Moore,
Shane "Lord Fotog" Williams
- Los Angeles, California
Producer Josh Rawlings talks Macklemore's The Heist, and being nominated for a Grammy. Also Josh talks about touring with Soul/R&R singer Allen Stone while playing for 60,000 people.
Josh, I met you when I was young, maybe 9 to 10 years old, when you and your band were playing live music for us to tap to at Jessie Sawyer’s TAP JAM dance events. I feel like I’ve been aware of how talented you are and the power of your music for all my life! How old were you when you started learning piano, do you play other instruments, and please share with us the journey that led to a GRAMMY nomination for your piano work on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s album, THE HEIST, which won 4 individual Grammy's.
Thanks so much Rachelle. It’s hard to believe you were 9 or 10 at the time we first met, but I definitely remembered your spark and smile! Believe it or not, I started playing piano when I was 3 years old. My parents got me my first keyboard that I still have to this day. It set me on a path of musical discovery that continues to this day. That keyboard had maybe 20 keys on it, but it also had a drum machine that I could program drumbeats and play around with. It was pretty cool for a kid’s toy keyboard.
I remember sometimes sneaking it under my pillow so I could turn down the volume and play it at night! So yeah, basically I was hooked on piano and music very early. I didn’t really start studying music until I started kindergarten around 5/6 years old. I wasn’t a great student most of my young life and caused my piano teachers a lot of headaches with them trying to get me to learn to read music. Eventually, when I started taking it more seriously in high school, I did make major strides in my musical education and sight-reading that lead me to get excited about studying music in college. I went to Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle from 2001 to 2005 and since then I’ve been working as a professional gigging/working musician in Seattle.
Along with the piano I play guitar, drums, all kinds of percussion and I also sing. My parents actually said that I started playing drums before piano…basically at the point where I could hold wooden spoons in my hands and dig into my Mom’s kitchen cupboards. It makes sense why they wanted to move me to a melodic instrument and have me stop banging on all the kitchen equipment!
The journey that lead to my GRAMMY nomination with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis really came through a weekly jam session I played with my group The Teaching here in Seattle. We played every Thursday night in town and lead a jam session called ‘The Hang’ for nearly 4 and ½ years. Along with my bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and drummer Jeremy Jones, we were the house band for these jam sessions, but we also had our group that gigged around town under the name The Teaching. Long story short, a local trumpet player name Owuor Arunga (who went to Garfield with Ben Haggerty/Macklemore) knew us from the local Jazz scene, but he also happened to frequent our jam session when he was in town.
Anyway, Macklemore’s producer Ryan Lewis was looking for a jazz trio with a special vibe/sound to create a sort of Nina Simone thing in the studio and Owuor said he knew just the cats…well I got the call and we went in to Avast! In the Greenwood neighborhood a little over 5 years ago to record for him. Ryan loved my piano playing so much that he continued to call me for studio work. We’ve built quite an amazing relationship over the years and now I get to help co-write a lot of music with Ben & Ryan. I also played piano/keyboard on ‘Same Love’ and ‘Neon Cathedral feat. Allen Stone’ on their multi-GRAMMY winning album. It was really exciting to be a part of that break-through album and no one could have ever predicted (especially me) it would have been as successful as it was and lead me to the GRAMMY’s just like that. So yeah, the rest is really history now, but it honestly all started with that inner-connection within the Jazz community here in Seattle and Owuor recommending us for that first session with Ben & Ryan. That tune we recorded turned out to be the only instrumental track on their album – ‘Bom Bom’. Pretty cool huh?
Your piano style adds so much emotion and beauty to songs such as “Same Love.” Since you played two live shows with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the Summer of 2015 in Germany for audiences of 60,000+ people, tell us about how that song was received, as well as the rest of the music you performed on The Heist Tour.
I appreciate that Rachelle. I unfortunately didn’t get to play ‘Same Love’ on stage with them, but I did do a little featured keyboard thing on another tune I recorded called ‘Neon Cathedral’. It was really fun and super exhilarating as I’m sure you can imagine playing in front of all those music lovers…however, the show was very tightly knit since the entire set was linked to Ryan’s computer playing the foundational track of each song. So while it was exciting playing and feeling the energy of all those people – musically speaking it didn’t blow my sails back playing to a “click track”. That’s mainly why I continue to focus on the songwriting/studio-recording side now. I also have 3 little children right now so touring isn’t a big interest at the moment for me.
That all said, Ryan and Ben are fantastic human beings and it was really amazing to watch first hand how they work on stage for live shows. They really do put on an amazing high-energy performance that feels authentic and fun. Despite not having a lot to play and do for those few performances, I still consider my experience playing live with them a major highlight of my performing career. But yeah, speaking of the emotion that I love to put into my playing, it was hard to really relate that in front of so many people and playing a keyboard…if I had a grand piano however and a bigger song feature where the room/audience kind of came to a lull for a moment…I could imagine that would feel pretty incredible. We’ll see what the future holds! One thing I’ve learned now from being a gigging musician for almost 20 years is there are always opportunities to perform if you want to and sometimes the smaller more intimate shows have the biggest effect. It’s quite a gig!
You also toured nationally with Soul/R&B singer Allen Stone during the summer of 2013. What is a typical day on tour, and can you share some of your experiences on that tour? Has being on tour impacted your ideas/concepts about your style for creating new music?
My tour with Allen Stone in a way was a longtime dream of mine. I really wanted to experience what a National tour would be like riding around in a tour bus and the whirlwind performance schedule city-to-city. What I learned about that musical path and lifestyle was incredibly eye opening for me. The things I thought about the day-to-day and how awesome it must be playing cool venues and festival stages flipped after the first few weeks because I didn’t factor 2 important things while I was admiring the so-called “Rock-Star” touring life. Those factors were: 1) What it feels like longing to be back with your family and not being able to be there whenever you want – and 2) The hard work that actually goes into every aspect of the putting on these show on a given day will have you wanting to collapse into your tour bus bunk the moment you leave the stage…it’s a lot of work!
A typical day on the road would be spent sleeping on the tour bus early morning and sometimes waking up at a gas station or pit stop for food and bathroom breaks. The normal morning drill would be to nurse the hangover (sometimes) from the night before, search for the coveted morning coffee and start to piece together where in the world you were now. Ha! Let’s just say it was a little slow going in the morning – however, sometimes we’d already be at the venue and only a few hours from having to start loading all our equipment/instruments in. We were the first opener for O.A.R. for their National summer tour and that meant we got stuck with having to deal with strange hours for load-in, waiting for what seemed like an eternity sometimes for the 2nd opening band to finish sound check (or the headliner) and jumping to the quick when it was time to do anything. It was a privilege to support O.A.R. and see the huge crowds they’d pull out to their shows, but we sometimes got treated like ordered/pushed around and that didn’t always feel great. Nonetheless, after load-in we’d often get a staff catered lunch. What was amazing was that the staging, lighting, sound, cabling, etc. etc. was all setup early, early in the morning by the stage hands before we even got off the tour bus…so those guys ate first…and everyone had incredible respect for the hard, hard labor intensive work they had to do for every show. So we’d have lunch and then sometimes have several hours to kill.
Congratulations to you and your band of 11 years, Industrial Revelation, for winning the 2015 Stranger Genius Award for Music! You just toured in in Italy and will be headed to Switzerland next. What elements do you think have contributed to creating such a strong, long-lasting team? Please introduce us to your band mates and tell us about how each gear makes the machine work.
Thank you! It amazing to me that over a decade can pass of making music with people you love just like that. Seems like we started playing music together a few weeks ago! It’s true that there have been some incredible opportunities, breakthroughs, successes and press in recent years for Industrial Revelation and I couldn’t be happier. We just played to a near full house at a venue in Milan, Italy last March. That trip was like a dream-come-true for me because I had a vision almost 10 years ago (shortly after the band had formed) and having an almost chance meeting with the bassist Evan Flory-Barnes in Paris, France – I dreamt that we’d eventually play in Europe as a band.
It’s something I really believed we could do and that audiences would be incredibly kind and receptive to our music. That’s exactly what this Milan trip ended up being. It was so successful that the booker/promoter who discovered us and invited us out to play invited us back for a festival in Switzerland this September. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, it appears that we won’t be able to attend the festival this year. Nevertheless, it really seems like we just broke the ice and some really exciting things are on the horizon for us to potentially gain more and more opportunities to perform over there…that is the hope at least!
Jam sessions seem to have played a major role in your career. Tell us about how jamming with friends have led to amazing personal and business relationships and has led to you creating some of your greatest work?
Jam sessions for me were really the training ground where I felt safe to try new things I was learning in my music degree program at Cornish College of the Arts. They also challenged me when I’d play with musicians who were better sight-readers, improvisers or just more experienced that me. It was also at these Jam Sessions that I really networked meeting countless other live musicians on the scene and getting my name out there. It’s this training ground that I encourage all my students over the years to try to find the courage to go to. No mater what genre of music you gravitate toward, Jam Sessions are just a wonderful, pure and open-hearted way of creating music with strangers, practicing your craft and meeting all kinds of people.
Now that I have 3 kids and spent a great number of years playing at Jam Session and leading them, I don’t tend to get out as much, but I will still hop down to a spot like Owl ‘n Thistle on a Tuesday night to jam with some of my fellow Jazz musicians or a Monday night at Mo’ Jam Mondays at Nectar or music at Capitol Cider on Capitol Hill. There’s an abundance of all kinds of jam sessions around town but sometimes you just need to be a little savvy on finding the right one that fits you. There used to be a jam session I think on Tuesdays at a spot up in Shoreline’s Richmond Beach that used to love going to because it was always filled with locals and they’d play classic Folk tunes. They had this old beat-up upright piano and I’d just help myself and join in the fun…always got greeted with friendly smiles and a warm welcome whenever I’d pop in. That’s what Jam Sessions are all about for me…the fun…the gathering.
You are working with both Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on their upcoming solo projects. What can you tell us about the upcoming collaborations?
Yeah, now that they’re working on their solo projects I’ve essentially split myself into 2 Josh Rawlings! Kidding! I’m lucky that I forged a strong relationship with both of them and continue to work with each of them now they’re on separate musical paths.
At this point I tend to work most closely with Ryan Lewis and I’m currently gearing up for a month long writing camp out at his private residence/studio cabin out near Leavenworth, WA. I’m super excited about it because I’ll get to work with a lot of other writers and artists during this time and most importantly I’ll be getting writing credit on any songs that go somewhere after this writing camp. That’s in a nutshell my new trajectory as a working musician and I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity to write music with so many professionals in the business…let alone with Ryan Lewis. Over the past year I’ve been flown to London, LA and Priest Lake Idaho to name a few places – all with the purpose of writing music for prominent artists and furthering songs Ryan and I have been grinding on to make masterpieces.
All of the music at this point has been a work-in-progress with the goal of getting it to that “perfect” place in order to have that “something” that will hopefully find it a home on an Artist or Group’s upcoming hit album…or to write a hit single. It’s crazy because a song could get picked up in 2 weeks or it could be years until it sees the light of day. Nevertheless, we keep working and digging for gold hoping that something really catches. The most recent single “Praying” that KE$HA release in anticipation for her soon-to-be-release album was a BIG success for Ryan. While the piano playing on the track didn’t end up actually being my handy work, I did do some work in the studio on the song and I feel it’s a sign that things are only going to get better now. Super excited.
You are a husband and father of 3 beautiful kids, ages 6, 3 & 1. How do you maintain a balance with family life and all the amazing musical opportunities that you have worked to achieve with such dedication and hard work? Do your children show musical abilities and are you doing anything special to nurture a love of music in them?
Balance!? What balance?! Kidding. It is quite a juggling act, but honestly I don’t know how I’d do anything I’m doing today without the amazing help and support of my wife. We’re both self-employed, which feels incredibly risky with 3 kids, a home-mortgage and everything else, but we do it. People ask us all the time how we do it – there really isn’t a great answer for either of us other than we just do it. I will say that it does absolutely take a village.
For instance, both our nanny’s we use throughout the week are both former Cornish Music grads. I went to school with one of them and another I met via Facebook when we were scrambling to replace a long-time nanny of ours. It’s amazing that we can support them in their music career development and they can in-turn help us pursue ours. Week to week is always changing drastically and we have to be pretty quick to make last minute plans and be as malleable as possible, but all in all we do it and in certainly helps too that both sets of parents on either side live about 30 minutes away and love their time with the grandchildren.
Do you still offer piano lessons to aspiring musicians? What advice would you give to young people who would like to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
My advice for young people wanting to pursue a career in the entertainment industry is really pretty simple…just make up your mind what you’d like to do and try doing it. Try doing the thing that scares you the most…try doing the thing that excites you the most. Whatever the case, you’ll be surprised at what you learn. The road to life is never a straight path, but it’s who you know (people you meet and form life-long relationships with, etc.) and the risks/chances you make that challenge you in really unique ways. Everyone’s path to their success in the entertainment industry is so infinitely unique that it’s impossible to know how it’s all going to work out, but I really believe in doing what you love and trying to learn and challenge yourself as much as possible. If you have the will, make your way and with keeping a positive attitude and not focusing on living perfectly…just doing your best…you will not fail…you will become something you imagined 10 years ago or 2 months ago and be all the richer for it. It’s all worth it and the harder you work and keep yourself open to the little signs and shifts that are bound to happen, I think the easier it is.
Musical duo Macedo dishes about latest single Supernatural, and filming Blood Heist with James Franco
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Ryan West
- Los Angeles, California
Musical twins sisters Michelle, and Melissa Macedo dish about their latest single "Supernatural", and filming "Blood Heist" with heartthrob James Franco. Macedo also tell us about the writing process for their groundbreaking debut album "Flags & Boxes".
Congratulations on your latest music video for your single "Supernatural"! Can you tell me how you guys started the musical duo Macedo?
Thank you! Sure, we started writing songs together when we were about 10 years old. We had both been playing musical instruments and singing together for a while. Michelle had been writing poetry at that point and it just made sense to just put it all together. Even then, we were writing harmonies together. It sort of happened naturally because we work together really well.
Recently you just finishing wrapping production on the feature film "Blood Heist", starring heartthrob James Franco. What was it like working with James Franco, and filming in Ohio?
We filmed in Hamilton, Ohio during the summer. It was a lot of fun and we met so many amazing people on that set. It's a very small town which was perfect for getting into the characters and their lifestyle. It was so much fun and at times emotionally challenging. We are so grateful to James for the experience. It was a true privilege to see him work as an artist. We had incredible castmates that really brought their A game which was inspiring to be around. Also, every set or project is like a different little family, you get really close with everyone and you always keep that special experience with you.
You grew-up in Pasadena, California, and you're father is a pianist/guitarist who exposed you to all different kinds of music. If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be, and why?
Yes, our father exposed us to all types of music. In terms of musicians we'd love to work with, we love Haim, Lianne La Havas & Lorde. They are all strong women with unique voices.
How does being a twin translate into your professional life, and booking roles in Hollywood?
We love being twins! Firstly, you have a built-in best friend. We know we always have each other's backs and we support each other entirely. We would both do anything for the other. The best part of being a twin is that it's very easy to communicate. We've had our own way of communicating for as long as we can remember. It's like speaking our own language. We're constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. We're each very different but very much in sync. Sometimes, there are twin roles that are perfect and sometimes we go out for individual roles. We aren't competitive with each other. A win for one of us is a win for the team. I think being a twin makes us more compassionate.
Your full-length album "Flags & Boxes", has a very indie rock sound that you don't hear in most modern rock songs. Can you give us some insight into how you go about writing lyrics? Are your lyrics based off personal experiences?
Yes, often times we write from personal experience. We observe real life situations & relationships around us, sometimes Michelle or I will be in a situation and the other one of us will feel inspired to write about it. Also writing about difficult times in our own lives can be very therapeutic and cathartic. It's helpful to turn something difficult into something beautiful, like alchemy, that's an amazing gift that art can provide.
Michelle is really strong with lyrics and Melissa will add a melody to it, but it can be switched as well. We sort of go with the flow depending on the song. Every song is so different. Michelle does a lot of the writing in general. We wrote the song "Sea of You" together based on a melody idea that Melissa had, then Michelle flushed out the lyrics added some melody onto the edits of it. You never know when inspiration is gonna strike. As sisters and as musicians, one of us will supply what the other one needs. That is just a part of who we are, our relationship is integral to our art.
Can you tell us what can we expect from your new album, that's different from your previous work?
"Ghost Town" emerged from a really difficult time. I (Michelle) had just ended a very long relationship & was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It's a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our past. I think the music since "Paper Doll" has grown because the themes of this album go much deeper. This album is a lot about the past and our relationships. We've grown and developed more as artists since the last EP. "Ghost Town" is a reflection of memories in the past that became a part of our identity. In essence, how we're each being haunted, in good and bad ways. It was a very raw experience to write this album, there was no holding back.
What advice would you give musicians/singers who are looking to break into the music business?
The best advice we've gotten is to stick with it, keep your head down, keep going and focus on the work, on what inspires you. Treat yourself kindly through the whole journey and trust you're exactly where you're supposed to be.
Follow Macedo on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Macedo new single "Supernatural" is now available on iTunes.
Country singer Jessie Chris blabs about new single Burn, and Disney’s Choose Kindness Anti-Bullying campaign
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Jeff Gulko
- Los Angeles, California
Country singer Jessie Chris blabs about her latest single "Burn", working with Disney's Choose Kindness Anti-Bullying Campaign. Also Jessie tell us about the CMA/Disney Music in Our Schools program.
Congratulations on your new single, BURN! What was your inspiration for the song?
The inspiration behind Burn came from a couple different bad relationship experiences as well as seeing some of my close friends get "burned" by people they thought they loved.
When you were 18 years old, you were the youngest performer at the CMA Festival and have opened for some iconic country stars like Luke Bryan and Billy Ray Cyrus. Tell us about some of your favorite venues and performances that you’ve done.
Some of my favorite performances and venues were when I opened for Chris Young at Indian ranch. That's a country music venue I had attended when I was younger to watch concerts so it was cool to be on that stage. I also really enjoyed performing for the wounded warriors in Washington D.C.
You got started in music when you were five. What can you tell us about the early days that impacted your love of performing/music and some of the steps that have led to this point in your career?
When I was little, I was really shy. My mom took me to audtition for the wizard of Oz at 5 years old. I got cast as a munchkin and fell in love with the feeling of being on stage.
You are one of the faces of Disney’s #CHOOSEKINDNESS Anti-Bullying Campaign. You have shared that you personally have experienced bullying. What are your hopes for this campaign and what would you like to say to those who are experiencing bullying?
My goal with the choose kindness campaign is to inspire fans to be a better person than they were the day before. For those who are going through bullying, I try to let them know that they're not alone and unfortunately it's part of growing up. You shouldn't let it tear you down but instead make you stronger.
What is being an on-call musician for children’s hospitals and I’m sure that the children and their families have been thrilled to have you perform for them. How has doing this affected you personally?
I love performing at children's hospitals. I've made some close friendships with some of the families and children that I've performed for in the hospital. If I can take their mind off of being in a hospital even just for a couple minutes I think that really makes a difference.
Our public school systems have been making cuts in the arts programs in schools, including music. Tell us about your work with CMA/Disney Music in Our Schools program?
Growing up, the music program at my school was my whole world. It shocked me to learn that not every school has a music program. Every kid should have exposure to music and the opportunity to create. That's why partnering with CMA and radio Disney on the music in our schools tour meant so much to me.
Your musical style is country with elements of pop. What people, experiences, or events influence the new songs you’re writing?
The new songs I'm writing are strongly influenced by Keith Urban's music. He is one of my biggest musical inspirations.
You were named by Digital Journal one of the top five female artists to watch in 2017. Since you’ve already accomplished so much in Disney’s #CHOOSEKINDNESS, being an on-call musician in children’s hospitals and performing with the Music in Our Schools programs, what exciting things would you like for us to be watching for?
Be on the look out for some fun upcoming shows as well as more new music in the very near future!
Jessie Chris newest single "Burn" is available on itunes and all other online music retailers.
Follow Jessie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Nikko LaMere
- Los Angeles, California
Teen pop singer AJA9 talks exclusively with We Blab Entertainment about her latest single "Heart Won't Beat", and writing music with Natasha Bedingfield. Also AJA9 tell us about her plan to attend college while continuing to sing professionally.
You grow-up in Toronto, Canada and you’re currently just 13-years old with a record deal. Can you tell us how you got first got started singing professional?
I just turned 13 the day Heart Won't Beat came out on Radio Disney on April 28th. I live in Toronto with my parents, sister Charly, and my brother Billy. I love Toronto but the winters can be cold. I started singing when I first started to talk, maybe even before. I have always loved music and performing. I used to dress up in costumes and sing for my parents friends. When I was 10, I won the Perez Hilton can you sing cover contest for my cover of Sia's Chandelier. That was really fun because I got to go on the news on tv and radio, and had a few articles written about me. I also didn't know my cover had been entered in the contest because I was away at overnight camp. My parents surprised me on visitors day.
We often talk with young musicians/singers who are interested in a professional career? What advice would you give them?
My advice would be to work really really really hard. Set high standards for yourself and be critical of what you put out. This is something I live by. I also think it is important to learn to work social media and interact with your fans. Even if it's 1 fan. I love reading comments on my posts. Good and bad. The good ones sometimes make me blush and the bad ones push me to do better.
As we talked about before you signed a record deal with Republic’s Casablanca Records, and recorded a slew of hit singles. Can you tell how you balance school, and your with personal life?
I go to school 8:30-3:30. My days are very busy and I have lots of school work. I work hard to juggle my school work and music. Education is very important to me and my family. I have scheduled hours in my week that I dedicate to my music and am so lucky to have the most amazing vocal coach Marla who always keeps me in good vocal health.
Your Youtube channel features some incredible music video covers of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, and Troye Sivan. If you could record a duet with any current artist who would it be, and why?
Easiest question... Ariana Grande. She is the most talented vocalist I have ever heard. She inspires me!
AJA9 has achieved a feet that most new artist only dream about, twenty million streams on Spotifty. Can you take threw a typical day in the studio with AJA9, and how you record a song?
I don't think the excitement has worn off. Gazzo is amazing to see in the studio and he's really nice. So much is going on so fast but I love it. I have amazing people who support me. My day to day life hasn't really changed except I now get to travel more and I get to hang out with more adults (which I love). I also get to write music with really talented people like Natasha Bedingfield and many others who teach me so much. I sometimes get nervous when I do interviews because I don't think I'm good at talking about myself. I love hanging out with my friends, going to camp, making slime, watching Netflix, and shopping. I love recording in the studio. I sometimes have to remind myself to be more still when I'm recording. I am usually dancing at the mic. The studio is my happy place. I love perfecting what I am singing. I rarely say it's perfect. I find I push myself the most in the studio.
Where do you see yourself at 18 years old? Do you plan on going to college, while continuing to make music?
I'm used to having lots on my plate. I definitely see myself going to college. I would love to go to Harvard. I love music so much and would never give that up. I am constantly singing and love the feeling I get when I see how people react to my singing. I am so lucky to be able to do what I love and to be working with such amazing people.
You’re voice knocks me out because it has such powerful range in pitch and tone. Do you take vocal lessons, and how do you keep your voice in shape?
I try not to let my personal life get in the way of my music life. But sometimes that doesn't always work out. I sometimes miss out on social stuff but I love my music so it doesn't really feel like work. I have amazing support and am still trying to figure out how to perfectly juggle the two.
Pop singer Mason Ashley talks single "Paper Planes", shooting inside an old mansion, and advice for aspiring singers
By: Daniel Hoyos| PHOTOS COURTESY Travis Reinke
- Los Angeles, California
Pop singer Mason Ashley talks about her latest single "Paper Planes", and shooting inside an old mansion for her latest music video. Mason also raps about giving us professional advice for up and coming singers looking to break into the business.
You grow-up in Magnolia, Texas with music in your blood since childhood. Can you tell us how you first go started singing professionally?
I started performing when I was 12 after doing a songwriter camp and I have performed ever since. I fell in love with the way it felt when the lights came on and when I would look out and see a stranger so drawn into what I was singing about that I felt a connection to them. It's a powerful thing.
Your latest single "Paper Planes" is out now! How did you come-up with the lyrical content for that song?
I really wanted to write a song that summed up the beautiful, tragic chaos of relationships. I met someone that I thought at the time was kind of bad news and I wrote the song the day after I met him almost like I was predicting how the relationship would go.
Your new EP has a soulful feel to it, but mixed with upbeat lyrics. To what extent were you involved in the production of your upcoming EP?
I was lucky enough to get to be a big part of the production side of things. My producer let me help mix the tracks, pick my vocal tracks and be a part of the editing. I learned so much about music production and music in general through working on the album.
We often talk with young musicians/singers who are interested in a professional career. What advice would you give them?
My advice for young singer/songwriter/musicians is to write everything. Live in a constant state of writing. When I was younger, I would just be writing songs in my head all day no matter where I was. Just use music as a way to express yourself not only to other people, but also to figure yourself out. Music is one of the most powerful things in the world and to be a part of that is an honor.
Your vocals are just spectacular on Paper Planes from the first note. Do you have a vocal couch or did you take singing lessons?
Thank you so much! I did have a vocal coach through the recording process and took a lesson every once in a while just to refresh my technique.
The music video for Paper Planes has such a simple yet, unique look inside that old mansion. Can you give us any behind the scenes stories of shooting the video?
The shooting process for that video was really a BLAST. One funny story I remember is on the last day of filming we lost the key to lock up the old building we were filming in. We searched all three stories of the building for what felt like forever and eventually found the keys in a super obvious place right by the door.
Lastly are you planning on going out on tour? How do you prepare for a live show?
I have no plans for going on tour at the moment but I would love to in the future. My live show preparation usually includes lots of coffee and my "Pre-Show Pump Up Playlist"...which includes everything from Drake to John Mayer.
Visit Mason Ashley's official website to purchase her music.