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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Music (174)

Monday
Jan122015

Call Answered: Frankie J. Grande 54 Below: Jan 20 and 21

Frankie J. Grande"Call Me Adam" chats with Frankie J. Grande about his return engagement to 54 Below on January 20 and 21. We also talk about him starring on CBS' Big Brother, Broadway's Rock of Ages, staying grounded, and his sister Ariana Grande! Click here for tickets to Frankie's show at 54 Below!

For more on Frankie be sure to visit http://www.frankiejgrande.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. You are returning to 54 Below for two new shows on January 20 and 21. What excites you about your return? So much has happened to me in the last year, I am so looking forward to performing this updated show for both my original Frankie fans, and for my new ones.

2. What do you love most about performing at 54 Below that made you want to come back? The sound!!!! It’s one of the greatest rooms for a vocalist to perform in, I cannot wait to get up there and sing my face off!

3. For someone who has never seen you perform, why would you tell them to come see you? You should come see my show because it will be like no other show you’ve seen at 54 Below. It will be constantly entertaining, full of heart, have a digital component, and be covered in sparkles - just like me!

4. For fans who have attended your previous shows, what can they get excited for with this new show (other than it's new)? There will be Big Brother and Rock Of Ages elements added to this version of the show!

Frankie J. Grande5. According to press notes, you are going to be doing some of your incredible impressions. When did you first realize you liked to imitate people and who are some of your favorite impressions? After the first Lord of the Rings movie I went home and just immediately began speaking like "Smeagol"/"Gollum," and I was completely shocked and obsessed with my ability to do so. So, I began to discover other impersonations that I was good at, but still none of them are as exciting to me as "Smeagol"/"Gollum."

6. You are finishing up your run in Broadway's Rock of Ages, which closes January 18. What made you want to be part of the show's final weeks? Being a part of the Rock of Ages Broadway company has been a long time dream, having the honor of taking the final bow with this incredible cast makes it even more of a dream come true.

Frankie J. Grande "Rock of Ages"7. You spent a season in the Big Brother house. Since you will be talking about this in your upcoming 54 Below show, what can you tell us about your experience on Big Brother that you will not be mentioning in your at 54 Below? Would you want to be on another show like Big Brother again? As you may have seen on Big Brother, I hold NOTHING back - so, there will be nothing I will be holding back at my 54 Below show. However, I will say that it was an incredibly fun, rewarding, and challenging experience that I am extremely proud of.

Absolutely I’d love to do another reality TV competition - sign me up for Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice!

8. With all your success how do you stay grounded in an industry that has lead others down darker roads? Luckily, my path toward celebrity has been extremely linear. One thing has lead to another, and I have worked extremely diligently along the way. This was not an overnight success, and I think that helps keeping me grounded.

Frankie and Ariana Grande9. You and your sister both work in the industry of show business, but each on your own path within the industry. While each of you are following your own dreams, do you feel you have a stronger connection with each other because you are both in show business or do you feel your relationship would be the same regardless of both working in the same industry? I think the fact that we both work in the same industry does make us closer as we have such similar passions and interests, and jobs! We often go to each other for career advice, but that probably wouldn’t happen if I had chosen to be a doctor (as I thought I might all those years ago in college!).

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Be true to yourself.

11. What have you learned about yourself from your varied career (singer, actor, producer, host, social media mogul, etc)? I succeed when I think less and live more. My inner joy is infectious and when I can share that with the world as much as possible, without holding back, I am at my happiest and the world responds positively!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Frankie J. Grande and Madonna #RebelHeart12. How do you want to be remembered? I would like to be remembered for being unapologetically myself, and for inspiring others to follow in my foot steps.

13. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would like to be an airbender so that I could fly around the world. I travel a lot. It would make things a lot easier.

14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The Go Grande Or Go Home; it would be filled with glitter, rainbows, sparkles, and served on fire.

Frankie J. GrandeMore on Frankie:

Frankie J. Grande is currently starring in Rock of Ages on Broadway, after spending a season in the Big Brother house! He is a performer, producer, host, YouTube star and social media mogul. Frankie has a rich history in the theater as he has performed in Mamma Mia! on Broadway, produced Hamlet starring Jude Law, and produced and co-directed Brooke Shields’ one woman show at Feinstein’s. He was honored with the title of Mr. Broadway in 2007.

Monday
Dec222014

Call Redialed: Graham Alexander: Repeat Deceiver

Graham Alexander, Photo Credit: Christina Sees"Call Me Adam" catches up with singer/songwriter Graham Alexander to talk about his sophomore album Repeat Deceiver which was released on December 19! Click here to purchase on iTunes and here for a physical CD!

For more on Graham be sure to visit http://www.graham-alexander.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instragram and Soundcloud!

1. On December 19, you released your sophomore album Repeat Deceiver. What are you looking forward to most about this release? Well....quite honestly the #1 thing I look forward to about this album is playing it live (also...finishing what was seemingly a never ending series of sessions that made up Repeat Deceiver). We are excited to promote the album despite its macabre feeling in title, and appearance--most of that has an underlying "freedom" from deception mantra. Across a platform of so so so many things in life, really.

2. How did you come up with the title of the album? I wrote the song first and then it was determined that the rest of the songs were thematically applicable to the rest of them....so it made sense. "Repeat Deceiver" was such a wonderful phrase (I felt) and in two words it described how I felt about so many aspects of the modern age. Is there a day that goes by that you *don't* hear about deception?

3. When you were thinking of recording your sophomore album, what goals did you set to achieve with this recording that you did not get to achieve on your debut album? I didn't set any goals, really. I think you just learn what you like and what you hate and then turn all of that on its head and try to create something that really breathes and makes you excited to listen to it. It's like...I suppose…to me at least, setting goals for an album of any tangible value sort of eliminates the possibility of it being anything you could ever a. enjoy, b. promote with love for it and passion and c. creatively be satisfied with. I say CREATE and perfect as much as possible but try not to shove the project in a box.

Graham Alexander and his band, Photo Credit: Christina Sees4. What was the best part about the making of this album? What was the most challenging? Finishing it. HAHAHAHAHA.......YEA....finishing the album was the absolute best part. Although notable highlights for me also include the live band stuff we did for things like "People Are Only Sorry When They're Caught" and "Third Wheel," which we recorded very much live (like the olden days)…together in a room. Very raw.

5. Aside from this being a new recording, why should fans be excited for Repeat Deceiver? It's my favorite album thus far that I've ever been involved with and my team and I feel we've really created something realllly unique and really enjoyable to listen to. We spent so much time to make sure we weren't cutting a single corner on the production. You hear real violins, cellos, trumpets, saxophones--humans--playing music. It's really a rare album in 2014/2015 and part of an overall plan to bring more substance from a drooping 100+ year old industry. These songs are handcrafted. There aren't any formulas we follow. We don't hire outside writers to churn out the next pop hit. The songs are from us. The music is from us and it's our absolute passion for almost 2 decades now.

6. How do you feel you've grown as an artist with this album? Ya know...I'm not sure how an artist grows really. I would say thinking about it too much might stunt creativity. I feel like thinking about things too much often ruins them like having 6 people try to write a joke. Eventually there are so many punchlines that the concept of the whole thing is dead in the water.

7. In addition to recording your sophomore album, you also reorganized and reincorporated RCA and merged your production and administration facilities with them. What made you want to take on this venture and what have you enjoyed most about this side of the business? Well....the first thing my production company LAIR did was to acquire a bunch of essentially ancient brands including some early record labels (and imprints) because, of course, RCA Records was sold off from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA Corp.) portfolio (to Sony) years before we were able to re-organize it. Because I'm from Victor Talking Machine Co.'s hometown (the very first major record company), I cared more about seeing that restored since it had more historic value for me personally than the later RCA Records division. So once we organized that together with our other brands we decided to dissolve LAIR as the parent holding company and return VTMC (and our other brands which include brand holdings in musical Instruments, pro audio, and apparel) to its parent (which of course GE bought in 1986 and subsequently sold off bits and pieces of...holding the company as a shell until recently).

Graham Alexander performing with his band, Photo Credit: Christina Sees8. Since the album is called Repeat Deceiver, what is an event in your life you would want to do over and over again and have you ever deceived someone? I don't think there is a single thing I've ever experienced that isn't better off a memory HAHAHAHAHA and by that I mean…I love the past BUT it's the past for a reason. Society should move as progressively out of the status it is in at all times and oddly that occasionally means peeking into the past to see what went wrong and how we can all make it better. I know that probably sounds pretty hypocritical coming from the artist releasing a record through a 115+ year old company, but I suppose thats the irony of progression sometimes…and occasionally, you don't know what you've got till its gone. And sadly, even more occasionally, it's not gone because of a natural progression of events.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd say the power to sleep. At this point. I can't stop my brain these days!

10. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Cherry! but it stains your face.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. How do you want to be remembered? By having done something that makes people happy! I'll keep you updated if that happens!

Graham Alexander, Photo Credit: Christina SeesMore on Graham:

With a style incredibly eclectic and signature, Graham Alexander's life has been dedicated to performing, composing and producing music from an early age. Graham's upbringing brought in an incredibly diverse palette of pop artists from Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and American folk music of the early 20th century, to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and 2Pac. Born in a severely depressed post-industrial Camden, N.J., Graham's first guitar was picked from the garbage on account of not being able to afford one on his own. From that point, he and music of every kind became inseparable.

Having grown up with the birth and progression of the internet (and the vast media availability it granted the world), Graham never saw music as something that needed to be genre-based. As a songwriter, he preferred the freedom of writing what struck his mind as interesting at the moment rather than adhering to a trend. This fearless and rebellious attitude towards genre bending pushed him to produce and self release his first album in 2011 to rave reviews (quickly becoming a cult classic). Critics and fans alike lauded the album for its neo-retro sensibility coupling irresistibly catchy songs with organic and incredibly detailed production. Spotify's top 100 songs chosen by fans playlist even included the first single from the album "Biggest Fan" at #6 in its 2011 list. Shortly after, Graham Alexander with his band toured in support of the album, building the brand one set of ears at a time.

Graham formed his band of nearly 15 years while he was still in middle school--a rare feat in this day and age. Their commitment to touring and their history at such a young age makes Graham Alexander & Co. an incredibly special phenomenon in the live music world today. Additionally, they pride themselves on performing without the assistance of sequences or backing tracks that are all too common in live acts today. In addition to his career as a solo artist, Graham's passion for performance was nurtured by his work on Broadway as an actor, musician, and musical director in various productions at the Neil Simon, Brooks Atkinson, and St. James theaters in New York City.

In 2013, Graham reorganized and reincorporated 'Radio Corporation of America' returning it to Camden, NJ. In 2014, Graham merged his production and administration facilities while developing products for the company’s Victor Talking Machine Co., Victrola, His Master’s Voice, and Little Nipper brands.

Wednesday
Dec172014

Call Redialed: Scott Alan: Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 54 Below Debut Concert 

Scott Alan"Call Me Adam" catches up with songwriter Scott Alan to talk about his new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 and his upcoming 54 Below debut concert on January 19, 2015 at 7pm, which celebrates the release of Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1!

Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 features Samantha Barks, Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block, Lisa Brescia, Liz Callaway, Kerry Ellis, Hadley Fraser, Eden Espinosa, Marcus Paul James and Willemijn Verkaik, and new tracks by Marc Broussard, Taylor Dayne, Cynthia Erivo, RJ Helton, Christina Marie, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett and Natalie Weiss.

Scheduled to appear at Scott's 54 Below concert include 2014 Tony Award Winners James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) and Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), Tony Nominee’s Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Violet) and Chad Kimball (Memphis) as well as Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood in Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods), Alysha Umphress (On the Town), David Burtka (upcoming’s It Shoulda Been You), Mykal Kilgore (Motown), Natalie Weiss (Wicked), Katie Thompson (Giant), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Kinky Boots), Danny Calvert (Altar Boyz), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town). More performers to be announced. Click here for tickets!

For more on Scott be sure to visit http://scottalan.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

Designed by Robbie Rozelle1. You have just released your new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 which features, well, some of your biggest hits from your previous five albums, plus a few new recordings and re-workings of other hits. What made now the right time to release a Greatest Hits album as opposed to recording a new album? To make a new album would cost too much money and putting out a Greatest Hits album allowed me the opportunity to revisit my older catalogue of music and reconstruct it enough to give these songs a new feel. In addition, since so many of my past albums are out of print, it only made sense to place the greatest hits on one album instead of spending the money to duplicate all or most of my previous albums. Everything comes down to money, which isn’t to say this album didn’t cost money, it actually cost more to make then my debut album, Dreaming Wide Awake.

2. What does it mean to you to have enough material to be able to create a Greatest Hits album? It means I’m getting really old. I’m now in that stage of my life where graduates tell me they discovered my music when they were in Junior High School. Old. Old. Old.

Scott Alan3. How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on this first collection of Greatest Hits and how did you decide which songs you wanted to re-work/change from their original recording? We did a poll on my website and about 90% of the songs were picked from that poll. As for the re-worked songs, it was important to have updates on many of the songs to make this album special and unique and not the normal "greatest hits" collection of songs that fans already own.

4. Some of the artists featured on your Greatest Hits were not the original artists you initially had record the song. Why did you choose to change some of the artists for this release? It started with the song "Anything Worth Holding on To." It’s a very personal song but it never caught on when released on my third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, even though it was beautifully sung by the iconic voice of Crystal Monee Hall. Then when I did my IndigO2 concert at the O2 and it was performed by the extraordinarily gifted talents of Cynthia Erivo, it gained a new life and a new following. I knew I wanted to try and recreate that and so having Cytnhia record the song was not even a question. Nothing will ever match the magic of the live performance but it’s so incredible to have it recorded for this album. And, to have Stuart Matthew Price re-create his performance of "Over the Mountains" was a no brainer. He was my original idea for the recording but I had already offered it to Bobby Steggert. Then we tried to have him in for the LIVE album but he was busy with Shrek. So, we finally had the timing right. Thankfully. And, "In This Moment" recorded in the studio was a no-brainer. Marc Broussard. Hello. This new version of "Kiss the Air" was featured on the special edition of LIVE, so we changed the arrangement a bit. Oliver Tompsett’s voice is timeless. And Natalie Weiss' new version of "The Distance You Have Come" was our way of going back to the original demo of what the song represented. Simplistic and organic.

Scott Alan and Taylor Dayne5. One artist who is new to this recording is the one and only Taylor Dayne who sings "I'm Coming Home To You." I have loved Taylor Dayne since she burst onto the music scene in the 80s. How did you come to work with this Grammy-nominated artist? I’m annoying and overly eager. Taylor can tell the story better but truthfully I just kept tweeting her and emailing her assistant until she said yes. I wouldn’t give up and kept on pushing and thankfully our schedules linked up and I had the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols. I grew up the biggest Taylor Dayne voice and that voice hasn’t changed one bit. It’s still crazy to look in my phone and know I can call her, and I do. She’s so down to earth and awesome. The studio session was a blast. Just two Long Island kids. We have the same lingo and she is brilliant in knowing what she wants and how to achieve it. She’s got a brilliant mind. It was an honor.

6. On January 19, you will be making your 54 Below debut to celebrate the release of your Greatest Hits. What excites you about making your 54 Below debut? Why was now the best time to make your 54 Below debut? You know, I feel like I’m having an affair on Birdland because I've been performing there for years but when Jennifer Tepper asked me if I would be interested in doing a concert at 54 Below I couldn’t help but say yes. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids doing it? Sometimes new scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

Scott Alan7. In addition to this concert being your 54 Below debut, your first concert in a year and a half, why should fans get excited for this concert? and What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? I have always feared performing in New York because I feel like I can’t just sit back and relax and be myself. Over the years, performing in London and Australia and Holland and Germany and just having the opportunity to sit back and tell my story - I’m excited to do that now, in my city. It’s gonna be a very different vibe and I’m really excited to share that with this audience.

8. Why did you wait a year and a half to return to the New York concert stage? I always think nobody will show up and so I think it’s always smart to take breaks so that the audience awaits your next visit and I don’t overdose on xanax.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? From Frank Wildhorn. He said "The day you stop thinking you’re a new voice and think you’ve learned everything there is to be learned, leave the industry." Smart advice. Thankfully, I keep learning. And advice I always tell the young one’s which is to "Always remain a fan" and I do. I continue to work with my childhood hero’s because I am still that 12 year old kid in his bedroom waiting for life to begin.

Scott Alan10. What have you learned about yourself from being a composer/lyricist? How truly therapeutic music can be if you let it.

11. How do you want to be remembered? As a father and a husband. I just need a husband and kids to father. But that is what I want my legacy to be. 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I seem to dream about flying a lot. I don’t know why. I have dreams often that I can fly. So, I guess that one?

13. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Oh, hmmmm. Is cool mint an option?

14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The Dreamer. Part Malibu Rum, Part Pineapple Juice, Part Citrus Absolute Vodka, part Midori Melon and topped off with a cherry. And yes. I was a bartender and that actually was my signature drink back in the day at Stonewall Inn, located in the W. Village. So I’m sorta cheating.

Scott AlanMore on Scott:

Since returning to New York City in 2003 many of Broadway's elite have sung Scott Alan's songs, including Liz Callaway, Jonathan Groff, Shoshana Bean, Adriane Lenox, Stephanie J. Block, Cheyenne Jackson, Eden Espinosa and more, all of which can be found featured on his debut CD Dreaming Wide Awake. Scott then released the follow up CD, Keys, in 2008 which features more of Broadway and West End elite singing his work, including Sutton Foster, Norm Lewis, Kerry Ellis, Randy Graff, Megan Hilty, Hadley Fraser, Julia Murney and many more.

In the fall of 2010, Scott Alan released his third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, featuring Christiane Noll, Darius de Haas, Christopher Sieber, Willemijn Verkaik, Patina Miller and more.

Scott Alan released his fourth album, LIVE, in 2012 which was recorded at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. This recording featured Samantha Barks, Lea Salonga, Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Ramin Karimloo, Pentatonix and many of today's brightest Broadway and West End stars. On May 24th, 2012 Scott's composition, "It's Good to See You Again" was featured on the premiere episode of the ninth season of So You Think You Can Dance. His work has also been heard in the documentary The Standbys and on VH1's reality show Off-Pitch.

In 2014 Scott released his fifth album, a seven song collection sung by the composer called Anything Worth Holding on To.

Scott Alan has sold out concerts of his music in New York City, London, Holland, Germany, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Australia.

Friday
Dec052014

Call Answered: Jackie Beat: Jackie Beat on Ice at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Jackie Beat, Photo Credit: Magnus Hastings"Call Me Adam" chats with The World's Biggest Bitch, drag superstar, Jackie Beat about her brand-new holiday show Jackie Beat on Ice which play at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC (407 West 42nd Street at 9th Avenue) on Saturday, December 20 at 7pm (sold-out) and 9:30pm and Sunday, December 21 at 7pm (sold-out) and 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jackie be sure to visit http://missjackiebeat.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. On December 20 and 21, you will be premiering your brand new holiday show, Jackie Beat on Ice at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. What excites you about this upcoming show? The same thing that excites me every time: Making a roomful of people laugh at things they really don't want to laugh about. I especially love getting a bunch of different people in a room together to drink and laugh and connect. No cell phones, no computers…Just a raunchy old clown singing horrible songs!

2. What do you enjoy most about performing at The Laurie Beechman Theatre? What does this venue offer you and your show that another one might not? I love that it's hardcore Jackie Beat fans who have been coming to my show for 20 years sitting next to a straight couple who read about me in The New York Times. I love the melting pot aspect of it all. After all, I am an "equal opportunity offender!"

3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Jackie Beat on Ice? Sore stomach muscles from laughing so hard. Seriously, I hope they leave knowing the importance of not taking oneself - or life for that matter - too seriously. Oh, and I hope they leave with some of my merchandise. The bitch has bills to pay!

Jackie Beat, Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska Thunderfuck and Courtney Act, Photo Credit: The New York Times4. What do you think will surprise Jackie Beat fans the most about this new show? That I am still alive?

5. In this show you will be debuting some new seasonal material including  "A Gay in A Manger" and some classic Christmas Jackie including your cocaine-fueled rewrite of "Let It Snow," the pregnancy confessional "Santa’s Baby," a menorah-loving "Jew Christmas," a booze-infused spin on "Happy Holidays" called "Alcoholidays," and the STD cautionary tale "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Syphilis." Over the years, how have you decided which songs you wanted to parody? First, you never know what "classics" I will throw into the show, so don't get too excited by or attached to those aforementioned titles. That all depends on how much new stuff I get done. And when it comes to the holidays I honestly feel like I have done every song out there! So now I am having to get very creative and make regular songs festive. Like when I turned "Call Me Maybe" into "Vegan Gravy," about getting invited to a holiday potluck with an annoying twist. This year I am doing something called "The Nutcracker Not-So-Sweet" where I put words to a song that doesn't have any words.

Jackie Beat, Photo Credit: Inspire Theater6. Jackie Beat on Ice is your 17th annual holiday show. What do you like most about creating a holiday show? When you created your first holiday show, did you ever think, you would be doing one for the next 16 years? The most fun thing about the holiday show has to be shattering the reverence of the season. I love taking serious and/or heartfelt songs and making them about pigging out, beating the shit out of fellow shoppers, drinking, drugging or screwing under the Christmas tree. It's pretty mathematical: Something sweet plus a few bad words equals comedy.

And no, I never thought in a million years that I would be doing this so successfully for so long. All joking aside, I am truly blessed.

7. What is your favorite part about spending the holidays in NYC? Trying to get a cab in Times Square while freezing my ass off in full drag. Good times!

8. You have been performing as Jackie Beat for 25 years now. What has been the most rewarding and challenging part about being Jackie Beat? To be honest, Drag Race has really been challenging. I hate to harp on it, but it's very difficult being more talented than famous. But I have faith that when the smoke clears people like myself, Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine, Varla Jean Merman, Coco Peru and other seasoned professionals who have been doing this since the stone age will not go extinct!

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? My teacher at The Second City, the supremely talented Chris Barnes, always told me: "You should be having so much fun onstage that the audience feels jealous and wishes they were up there, too!"

10. How do you want to be remembered? As someone who made people laugh.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flight, of course.

12. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Butterscotch!

13. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would you put in it? It would be colorful, bold and sweet - with just a dash of bitters, of course. And is it safe to sprinkle a cocktail with glitter?

Jackie Beat, Photo Credit: Austin YoungMore on Jackie:

Award-winning drag darling Jackie Beat has been wowing unsuspecting audiences since 1989. She has toured with Roseanne Barr -- as the comic legend’s opening act -- including a 7-week run at The New York New York in Las Vegas; written for TV (Fashion Police, Hello Ross with Ross Matthews, Hype! and The Sci Fi Channel’s Tripping The Rift) and collaborated on special material with the like of Roseanne, Rosie O’Donnell and Jennifer Coolidge; appeared in countless TV shows (Sex and the City), movies (Grief, Wigstock The Movie, Flawless, Adam & Steve) and Off-Broadway hits (Valley of the Dolls, Tell-Tale!). She has been named Best Drag Queen by New York Press and Best Live Performance by HX Magazine. Jackie is also a columnist, lead singer for the electro-rock band, Dirty Sanchez, and the subject of the documentary film My Name is Jackie Beat including commentary from Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, and Roseanne. 

Monday
Dec012014

Call Answered: Payson Lewis: Out of the Woods

Payson Lewis, Photo Credit: Alex Dean"Call Me Adam" chats with rising singer and actor Payson Lewis about his cover of Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" with Rumer Willis, Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," his break up with Janel Parrish, his fans, staying in shape, and many other aspects of his life and career!

For more on Payson be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and Patreon!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/actor? It's tough to say. I've always had a passion for performance; musical and theatrical. But I never would have had the courage to pursue that passion as a career without the love and support of my family. My mom, dad, and brother have always believed in me, even when I have had my own doubts. I couldn't do it without them.

2. Your latest single is a cover of Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" with Rumer Willis. What made you want to cover this particular Taylor Swift song and how did you decide to team up with Rumer Willis? Well, first of all I love the song and, like everyone else, all of Taylor's new record. But this song in particular really spoke to me. When we first started working on it, Ru and I had some "interesting" stuff going on with our relationships...and that's what "Out of the Woods" is all about; Getting through all the stuff that bogs down relationships and that can make you lose sight of the person that you're in the relationship with. But, all that stuff...just trees.

3. What was the best part about working with Rumer? Rumer has become one of my closest friends and working with someone that you genuinely care about and respect is so fulfilling. That and the "onesie parties" we have at her place! Oh, and have you heard her sing?! INCREDIBLE. So, basically there are lots of best parts!

Payson Lewis and Rumer Willis, Photo Credit: Kenton Chen 4. Your cover of "Out of the Woods" has over 44,000 views so far on YouTube. What does it mean to you to have that kind of response to this song? It means so much to me that people have enjoyed it enough to share and spread the word about the video. But more than just the number of views, I am BLOWN AWAY by the overwhelmingly positive response it has gotten. I have loved hearing from people who liked the song. It's been really fun getting to interact with people from all over the world who share my love of music and have enjoyed my version of this song.

5. In addition to Taylor Swift, you have covered Sam Smith's "Stay With Me." What do you like most about getting to put your own spin on these popular songs? Do you know if the artists you have been covering ever get to hear your version? If so, what has their feedback been? What's great about music is that it is so deeply personal. There are an infinite number of ways to sing a song. Every single person's version is going to be a little different. I just love taking a song that means one thing to someone and sharing with the world what it means to me. Because in turn, my version will mean something else to someone else.  It's never ending and beautiful!

As for the original artist hearing them, I'm not too sure. I was able to send my cover of "Out of the Woods to Jack Antonoff (who co-wrote the song with Taylor) through a mutual songwriting friend. I never heard any feedback. I'm hoping it's because he was just too blown away! :)

6. When you start releasing your own original music, what genre do you think you most likely will want to be part of? I am working on some original music and I really hope to share some of it soon. I think my music is safely in pop territory but avoids being bubblegum. It's "genuine pop," if that makes sense.

7. Who do you hope to get to work with during your career? Wow. That's an incredibly difficult question to answer. There are so many people that I would LOVE to work with. I'm honestly overwhelmed thinking about it. Off the top of my head though, how about Pharrell musically and PT Anderson theatrically.

Payson Lewis, Photo Credit: David Muller8. You have a campaign going to encourage fans to help you create music videos with various incentives depending on how much they contribute. From just $1 to $100 or more, fans can be part of your creative process. In creating this campaign, how did you decide on what the incentives would be? What is it like to have fans be part of your creative process? What is their reaction to getting to be involved in this way? To be honest, I'm new to using patreon. But I am incredibly excited about being able to interact with the people who really love my music and want to be more involved. I just thought about what I would want if I were contributing to a musician that I truly supported. I really can't wait to get more involved with all the fans who want to be a part of the creative process!

9. The music industry is vastly different today. What do you find the most exciting aspect to be of the industry today and what are the biggest struggles you face? I think that the most exciting thing about the music industry today is also the thing that all of us have struggled with most. There's no roadmap for success in this industry anymore. We're all just trying to find our way, which is very hard, but very rewarding and exciting.

10. Speaking of struggles, your year-long relationship with Janel Parrish recently ended. In times of adversity, how do you bounce back on your feet? Ah yes. The breakup. I don't want to get too into the details, but we had a really good run and a lot of happy times. Unfortunately, those times had to come to an end. It was VERY difficult for me but luckily I am surrounded by amazing friends and family. They were there for me above and beyond what I ever could have expected. I am very lucky to have each and every one of them and they are almost exclusively responsible for getting me back on my feet.

Payson Lewis on ABC's "Revenge"11. In addition to music, you are also an actor, performing in film, television, and on stage. What do you get from acting that you do not get from music? The two pursuits offer, to me, a creative outlet and a path to the emotions of the audience. I am a very empathetic person. I feel everything around me. That's what I love about music and acting. I don't know though if I can separate what one gives me that the other doesn't. I just think both feed my need to emote and share deep feelings and storytelling with everyone who wants to come along for the ride.

12. What's the best advice you've ever received? My dad always told me to do something every day that improves you and the world around you. It's simple. But it's how I try to live my life. One day at a time. Always trying to make it better and be better than the day before.

13. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer/actor? I guess I've just learned how there isn't anything else I could ever see myself doing. Growing up I had more "sensible" plans for what I was going to do with my life. But I know now that this is what I was put on this earth to do. Once I figured that out, I was free to find out the things about me that drive that sole purpose.

14. How do you want to be remembered? First and foremost, I just want to be remembered for being a good person. I don't think there is anything more important to being good to the people around you. I also hope to uplift and inspire some people along the way.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I don't know that it's that super, but I would love to not need to sleep. There's just too much I want to do on a daily basis to fit into 16 waking hours. I could really use those pesky 8 hours of sleep for other stuff if I didn't need to, you know, sleep or whatever!

16. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Brussell sprouts. I don't think people would eat me if I were a Brussell sprout flavored lifesaver. Even though I do LOVE Brussel sprouts...a candy flavor version just sounds weird. I'm all about self-preservation.

17. Favorite way to stay in shape? I HATE working out. But to stay in shape I force myself to do a little regimen of push-ups and sit-ups. 10 minutes a day. It's just enough to keep me looking alright.

18. Boxers or Briefs? Both. I don't discriminate against any underwear. I'm an equal opportunity underwearer!

Payson Lewis, Photo Credit: Theo & JulietMore on Payson:

Payson Lewis is an actor and singer originally from Philadelphia, PA. He graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. While at USC he was a member of the 3-time ICCA champion a cappella group, the SoCal VoCals. Since graduating, Payson has pursued a career in music and on TV with appearances on Revenge (ABC), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), Rules of Engagement (CBS), Love Bites (NBC), VicTORIous (Nickelodeon), and was a Top-4 Finalist on The Sing-Off (NBC).

In addition to other recent TV appearances, he's been seen in a number of notable LA Theater productions including Glory|Struck productions' Bare as "Peter" (BroadwayWorld Award Winner: Best Leading Actor in a Musical) and as "Rocky Horror" in The Rocky Horror Show. He's also been seen every weekend for the last two years in the hit "For The Record" series at Rockwell and, more recently, DBA Hollywood with the likes of Tracie Thoms, Barrett Foa, Steve Kazee, Janel Parrish, and Rumer Willis.

Payson has most recently started a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/paysonlewis) which will focus on music; both original and covers. Twitter and Instagram: @paysonlewis