Category: Interviews

Meet Daan Creyghton from Nick’s Top-Rated ‘Hunter Street’

Daan Creyghton is a Dutch actor who stars as “Sal” in the hit Nickelodeon show, “Hunter Street”. His character is big-hearted nerd whose computer know-how helps the family unravel the mystery of where their foster parents are.

“Hunter Street” is one of the top five shows year-to-date with K6-11 across all TV, and just returned for season 2 on January 29th. Daan currently resides in Amsterdam, and balances school at one of Amsterdam’s top international teen academies production and his love for soccer. We got the chance to do a Q&A with Daan, check it out below, and make sure you tune in to “Hunter Street” on Nick!

Photo by Sanna Zoe Prins

Hi Daan, tell us how you got involved in show biz?

Through my oldest sister, Lara, who used to be a fashion model. She had to go in to her agency and they asked if they could take some pictures of me as well because they thought I had a good face for television. I did some commercials in the Netherlands that were a lot of fun. When we were living in San Francisco, I did Kids on Camera acting workshops and a Holiday Video for a big Amusement Park. Once I got back in the Netherlands, I was eager to continue acting.

You play ‘Sal’ on Hunter Street, which just started Season 2 on January 29th. What can we expect from the show this season?

It’s going to be so exciting—more intense mystery, more secret rooms, more awesome new characters, new storylines, and more comedy. Sal is growing up during the series. In this season Sal is becoming more social…

It’s your first IMDb credit. How did you book the role despite living so far away in Amsterdam, and what was your and your family’s reaction when you booked it?

One day, English speaking boys living in the Netherlands were invited to try out for the role of Sal and I was the lucky one to get the role. The shooting took place in the Netherlands and the younger roles where casted in the Netherlands. Some of the older siblings are from the United States, so they lived for 4 months in Amsterdam. My family was so excited!

What’s been the funniest moment behind-the-scenes?

The funniest moment has to be when we all were running into the kitchen and the first person fell, then the second person and so on. In the end, we were all lying on the ground laughing.

Who do you hang out with most on set, and what do you guys do mostly?

We do a lot together, so it depends on who is filming a scene and who is free to hang out. I did an Instagram live with Kyra from our dressing room—Wilson was there but it was still a secret that he was the new sibling, so it was kind of funny because he tried to make us laugh the entire time. When we all have a break we play games together, sing and dance together and have fun.

What are the biggest differences between teens in your home country of the Netherlands and teens in the United States in your view?

In general, I think teenagers in the Netherlands have more independence and are less supervised. Teenagers in the Netherlands go to school, to friend’s houses and to after school activities by themselves, even in a big city like Amsterdam. They are more in charge of their daily schedule. When we were living in California, we were dropped off and picked up at school and at after school activities. I think it also depends on where you are living in the United States. When we were living in Ross, a small town in Marin County, there were also teenagers who would go by themselves to school. But, in general, I think teenagers in the Netherlands are given more responsibility for their own daily schedule.

If there is one thing you could change about show business, what would it be?

There are a few people who are so powerful, they think they can control the people who depend on them; like all the #metoo incidents.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When we are in the car driving and the driver (usually my mom) tells us to be quiet because she wants to walk on the phone (hands free of course, so we have to hear it) with her friend during the entire ride.

Photo by Sanna Zoe Prins

What is the most attractive quality in another person?


Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I write with my left hand but with all other things I prefer my right.

What do you have coming up next?

I don’t have another project yet, but I am going to LA to do some cool stuff and hopefully it will help me to land a role in another project soon. And of course, it would be so amazing if Hunter Street got a third season.

Can we get a quick selfie of whatever you are doing right now?

Yes, of course. Gaming with my bro.

Check out Daan on Instagram

Q & A with The Detour’s Ashley Gerasimovich (Season 3 Coming Up!)

Comedic actress Ashley Gerasimovich stars as Delilah Parker, the sassy and sarcastic young teenage daughter to Nate and Robin Parker (Jason Jones & Natalie Zea) on TBS’ The Detour. The show, which just launched its third season, is about a family who’s road trip vacation takes some crazy turns.

At only 13 years of age, Ashley has already worked with a number of the big names in diverse roles. At the age of five, she co-starred with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Summit Entertainment’s drama, Fair Game.  Soon after wrapping that, she went on to play Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly’s daughter, Celia in the thriller We Need to Talk About Kevin with Ezra Miller. Louie fans may recognize Ashley as Louis C.K.’s youngest daughter Jane, and she has also appeared on NBC’s 30 Rock, CBS’ Blue Bloods and Deadbeat for Hulu. She was last seen in the independent film A Different Sun, which tells the story of a young couple that emigrates from China to Germany with their young daughter.

Let’s find out more about Ashley in her interview with Teens Wanna Know!

photo credit:  Michael Creagh

Hi Ashley, nice to e-meet you! Before we jump into talking about your show, The Detour, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Nice to e-meet you too! Well, to start with, I really like drawing, writing stories, and playing guitar! I’m also a brown belt in Taekwondo. One day I really want to learn how to animate, as well.

You play ‘Delilah” on TBS’s The Detour, which is about a family vacation gone wrong. What can you reveal about Season 3?

Well, the Parkers are in Alaska this season, and there’s going to be a lot of zany adventures that come along with this new location! Also, there’s going to be a couple of big plot twists coming up, one of them involving Delilah, so stay tuned!

What’s been the craziest/strangest thing to ever happen to you on vacation in real life?

My dad, older sister and I all went on a road trip, and we listened to the soundtrack of “Cats” over and over nonstop! We were obsessed with the play for several months afterward, and even got the poem book that the play was based off of!

If you could go on a dream vacation, what would it be?

I would love to explore somewhere historical, like Rome! There’s so much to learn there.

Funniest moment behind-the-scenes?

The funniest behind-the-scenes moment was when I first met the Alpacas!! They were SO CUTE, and I gave them several hugs. They were my favorites!

You have had credits with some pretty notable actors, such as Naomi Watts and Tilda Swinton. What’s been your most memorable showbiz moment to date?

The most memorable moment was when I worked with Tilda Swinton. We talked about what my favorite dog was, which was a poodle, and on the last day of filming, she gave me a life sized poodle stuffed animal! That was really nice of her, and I still have it with me today!

If there is one thing you could change about show business, what would it be?

My experiences have all been amazing, but if there’s one thing I could change, it would be to encourage everyone to support each other’s successes. I believe it’s so important to be the best person you can be. Showbiz is hard and we need to have each other’s backs!

Pet peeve?

When I’m in school, sometimes the person sitting next to me will tap their pencil on the desk, and it drives me crazy!

Most attractive quality in another person?

I like it when someone doesn’t put on a show to try to get me to like them. Just be yourself, and I’ll definitely respect you a lot more right off the bat!

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I think people will be surprised that I have three random fact books in my room that I read when I’m bored.

What do you have coming up next?

I’m auditioning and waiting to see what my next project will be. For now, stay tuned for new episodes of The Detour to see what wild adventures the Parker’s manage to get into!

Twitter: @AshGerasimovich
Instagram: @AshleyGerasimovich

You can watch the PG-13 trailer for Season 3 of The Detour here:

Asher Monroe Reveals His Inner Warrior with First Solo Project & Video – Interview

Those of you who listened to Radio Disney in the late 2000s will no doubt remember 2009’s “Love Struck,” by R&B boy band V Factory. It was played on heavy rotation, and featured the vocals of lead singer Asher Monroe.

Well, its been a few years since Asher left the band (he departed in 2010), so what has he been up to since then? Well, he was named one of MTV’s Top Ten Artists, appeared on the cover of Billboard, worked with Chris Brown and Ryan Tedder, and has been on several TV shows and Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast and Sound of Music, among others. 

Recently, he released his first solo album, titled Inner Warrior, and recorded an emotional music video for the song “Sail On.” We got the chance to ask Asher a few questions, check out the interview below! (photos by Steven Gomillion, except selfie at end)

Hi Asher, nice to e-meet you! Let’s get right into your new release, a full length album called Inner Warrior. Who do you think this music is going to appeal to most?

I hope my music appeals to a wide range of listeners. I think all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds can and will enjoy my music. I’ve got a little something for everyone – up-tempo, funky, slow, ballads, happy, sad.

The title Inner Warrior brings to mind some kind of struggle. Are you referencing some personal hurdles you’ve had to overcome? If so, what?

Yes, you got it! I went through many stages, interests, and high and lows to get this album out. Nothing too serious, but I think most artists would agree with me before they put out their first album. In the beginning, I didn’t know exactly what to write about, or what style I wanted to categorize myself in, because I wanted to try anything and everything. I always felt like I brought a lot of value to the table, but eventually I had to pick a lane and go for it 100%. Also, getting the songs to sound like they do on the album wasn’t an overnight process. Every version started off with a simple melody, chord, basic track, or lyric. Then you start adding little by little. Eventually you just have to say it’s done and move on to the next. If I could go back, I would have finished more songs that I started. It’s hard to get in the emotional place of a song you need to finish that was written a few years ago. All in all, I don’t regret the process, but it’s a learning curve and all I’m doing is working on a better version of myself and being more open to share with the world.

Your single “Unpredictable” was debuted by Elton John on his Rocket Hour show, and it seems you guys go way back. How did you two meet, and how did he become a mentor for you?

I have known Elton and his husband David for about eight years. We first met in LA with a few mutual friends, and our friendship has stayed great throughout the years. I can remember all the way back to when i was five years old in the back of my friends car listening to Elton’s cd’s. His music has always done so much for me in terms of inspiration. Every time I’m at the piano I try to channel a little bit of Elton. I look up to him as a big brother and will always love and respect that man. He has done so many wonderful things and boy oh boy is he a workaholic. He has so much energy at his age. It’s his passion for music that keeps him doing it night after night.

Apart from Elton, who else do you consider a mentor?

I have a great team and people in my life that I feel look out for my best interest and always want the best for me. It hasn’t always been like that. There are some people, friends, and colleagues I still talk to and others have gone in different directions. My home life is very important to me and always staying grounded in this industry has helped keep me sane.

I know you have a love of classics like Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, but what MODERN music artists are you feeling these days?

I like Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Twenty One Pilots, and Rihanna.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the guys from V Factory?

I’ll check in with Wes every once in a while. I know Nicky is still teaching dance. I run into Jared every blue moon usually at something really random. And I have not talked to Nathaniel in years. I love those guys and I always wish them well.

What’s the biggest lesson your learned from your boy-band days?

I learned a lot about the studio recording process. I remember one time blowing my voice when Warner Brothers sent me to Sweden to record. I had experience singing on Broadway and many different opportunities but I had never been tracked by a producer before. I would sing for hours, take after take, and never asked the producer for a five minute vocal break. I ended up losing my voice and had to be flown out again the second time. Ha! These are the things you learn along the way. And of course, never to go anywhere without my throat coat tea. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its a little vocal coach trick. 🙂

Craziest fan experience you have ever had?

I’ve had fans who have tattooed my logo on their body! It’s pretty crazy but fans are fans for a reason. You gotta love ‘em!

Our audience is mostly teenagers. If you could travel back in time and give your teenage self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t waste any good opportunities, and work your ass off! Whatever you do, stay positive through the whole experience. Enjoy the highs and lows. Trust me, they make you a better person in the end. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now. God has big plans for all of us, but he won’t do all the heavy lifting. Get out there and pursue your dreams with all you have!

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m a big animal lover. I have eight dogs and two monkeys haha!

Favorite hobby unrelated to music/acting?

Working out, watching movies, traveling to new places, eating good food.

Pet peeve?

People doing things other than driving in the car like putting on makeup, or eating a giant Subway sandwich. The funny thing is we all do it, but when I see other people I just laugh and keep driving. I always wonder if other people witnessed it too.

What do you have coming up next?

I finished designing my new studio that I will start working in this year on a new album. I have a mini movie/music video that I’m very close to finishing. And hopefully some new tour dates will arise very soon.

Anything else we should know?

Follow me on instagram: @ashermonroe. I love talking to my fans and will always try to respond when I can.

Could you please send an unpublished selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? We like to keep it real for the fans!

Ha ha, great shot! Watch Asher’s video below, and follow him on social media:


Gigi Cesare: Actress & Singer Poised to Conquer 2018 and Beyond

One of the characteristics of a successful artist is “hustle.” Although some actors and musicians seem to become hits overnight, in truth there is a lot of work behind building their careers. This means years of acting and voice lessons, paying one’s dues in small productions, and generally “working it” for the love of the craft until hopefully, one day, success arrives.

12-year-old Gigi Cesare represents that level of hustle. This Imagen Award-nominated beauty with Uruguayan roots works on her acting and singing chops constantly, and has just released a music video for her first single, called Valentine. She also has several film projects in the works. With this amount of dedication and hard work, great success will surely come knocking on Gigi’s door sooner rather than later.

Let’s find out more about her…keep scrolling for her interview with TWK!

Hello Gigi, nice to e-meet you! You’ve just released a music video for your new single “Valentine.” Tell us what the song and video are about!

Hi TWK! I am so excited to be here with you. Thanks for asking, I am so excited about “Valentine.” This song is about anyon’e love story, it can be applied to any teen, tween, person really who has love interest in someone and wants them to know. Its about it being ok to say “I like you” and taking a chance. Its about not being afraid of rejection or looking silly if those feelings aren’t returned. Let’s face it, we have all been there, right?

What was the best part about making it?

Wow, that’s a great question….there are so many firsts in this process it’s hard to choose just one. I would have to say that hearing my own voice on a studio recording of my very own song is totally epic and the ‘what will happen next’ part is super exciting. I will never forget making the video. There are just so many artistic, incredible moments this process is giving me. I’m really humbled and grateful.

Do you have more music coming out after that? If so, tell us about it!

Oh my gosh I am so excited you asked, I have written a song called “Don’t Cry” that is such a special song written from a really raw place of sadness about my own experiences being bullied. My lyrics are now in the hands of the composer, the same songwriter who composed “Valentine” and he will begin adding music to them.

I want to sing great songs of course, that people enjoy but I also want to say something in the process. I want other kids to know I have been there and you’re not alone and well, there is hope. If you can take your sadness, anger, frustrations and channel them into something positive like writing your own music or go belt out a song, write a poem, wonderful things can and will happen.

Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

I was raised on so many musical genres and decades, it’s hard to choose just one. In current day, I would choose Sia. She makes the kind of music I love and she actually sings her own songs which is very rare, most singers are talking through their songs, she doesn’t use autotune and she can slay the high notes. I aspire to have a similar musical career because she is reaching kids with her lyrics too, not just talking about getting a new “Rolex.” Not that there’s anything wrong with getting a new “Rolex!”

You were nominated for Best Actress at the 2017 Imagen Awards, along with huge names such as Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, and Edy Ganem. Going back to the night of the awards
ceremony in August, which memories stand out the most for you?

Wow the Imagen Awards were literally a magical Cinderella evening. There were so many people in the room that I never thought I would meet, let alone be in their company as an artistic equal. Meeting Ricardo Hurtado from School of Rock was really cool. His parents were as cool as he is! Meeting Lin Manuel Miranda and Rita Moreno and Norman Lear, I mean these people are Hollywood and stage icons, it was just incredible.

I have seen a few clips of you working on your punching skills. Are you a martial artist, or is this preparation for a role? If prep, tell us about the movie!

Haha yes, that’s great you found those! I am taking boxing for my upcoming role in STREET II DEATH FIGHT. It is an MMA (mixed martial arts) film franchise I have been a part of since I played Jessy when I was age 8 in STREET I. I couldn’t love the producer, Lyle Howry, cast and crew more than I do. Long-time Hollywood Director Dwight H. Little has just signed on to direct, with the script being finished soon, this sequel is going to be an incredible, action-packed, adrenaline-pumping hour and a half of pure entertainment.

You’ve mentioned that Angelina Jolie is an inspiration because she uses her fame to promote important causes. If you were in her shoes which cause would YOU promote?

I think the work she does with clean water, building wells and attention to international human rights are all so important. I would definitely want to be part of those organizations and there’s one more cause I promote across social media platforms which is awareness on the fur trade.

Most people don’t realize how fur is farmed, how the animals suffer for long periods of time before a painful death. I just want to bring awareness to those who don’t know. Faux or fake fur is as genuine looking as the real thing nowadays, and when you think that an animal lost their life in a torturous way so you can have a pink fuzzy ball keychain or decorative fuzzy tassel hanging from your bag or boots, it could cause you to rethink those buying choices. If there’s no demand, those trades go out of business. Learn where your clothing is coming from, know your cosmetics – know if they are tested on animals and just share the word that cruelty is never ok.

I understand that your biological dad passed away when you were little. Can you tell us what happened and what your best memory of him is?

My biological dad, Fernando Marcelo Cesare de Matera (that’s a mouthful) was a professional soccer player from Uruguay South America, Canelones. He was a vibrant, funny, full of life person who was family oriented and I look just like him. When my mom was 7 months pregnant with me, he was taken to INS holding, held for several months then later deported. What we know is that he passed away around the USA border while working toward legal re-entry into the USA. We just don’t have many details. The whole thing is deeply tragic, he was so young.

He was from Uruguay – what part of the Uruguayan culture do you like or feel proud of most?

You know my dad spoke 5 languages and its not unusual for most people there to speak several languages. I love that aspect of South America. When you see how simply my family lives in Uruguay you can’t believe it. The focus there is not on material possessions, its on food, family, love and laughter. Its on building memories. They have these big open backyard outdoor pavilions with fireplaces bigger than you’ve ever seen. They are really into barbequing and roasting on open flames. It’s really incredible. And all the families live on connected plots of land where they can just walk next door and spend their days together. It’s incredible. The sense of family closeness is in all they do. I wouldn’t have minded some street lamps at night, but let me tell you with no streetlamps and lighting to interefere, the skies light up like diamonds at night.

If you could clear up just ONE misconception people have about young performers like yourself, what would it be?

Maybe a big misconception is that we are spoiled and live fabulously 24/7. The reality is it can be lonely, working as an actor, young performer or musician requires a tremendous amount of time dedication, preparation and perseverance and thick skin. If the audition or filming interferes with your plans – a dance, a prom, a party, the biz waits for no man. They will move on without you, so you must be present and available at all times. So sacrifices are big. Sure it looks like fun when you watch someone’s Instagram life, but that is not reality until you’re in it for years most of the time. They say “overnight success” but really there’s five or ten plus years what were part of that “overnight” no one talks about. And there’s bullying. I get it, I know it’s a gift that I get to do what I do. I think if the kids who want be an actor or performer were to ask me for help / guidance I would help in a nanosecond. I am always here to lend advice or guidance when someone wants to know how to enter the biz.

Photographer Natalie Warr @natwarr Photography. Styled by @howardveronika. HMUA by @coconicole.artistry

Biggest pet peeve?

Being mean to others. Mean people. Just be nice. And it always comes back to you. It always will come back to you.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.

Hmmm, I write stories… I keep something with me at all times so I can write. I am always writing. Oh a fun fact that I have an Auntie in the biz, Brooke Hogan who isn’t just my aunt but a female power force and super positive role model.

Future goals?

To work on some amazing indie films, maybe something in Europe or an awesome NETFLIX series. I am hoping to carve out a career kinda like Hailee Steinfeld. She is multi-dimensional actress who can do drama and comedy and is on fire with her new music career. And of course once I have a platform, to shut down as many fur farms as I can get my hands on.

What other projects are you working on in the near future?

I am partnering with Spreading the Love 101, cause for Autism awareness, which is a cause close to my heart. I will be performing “Valentine” at their event on Sat., April 7th in Burbank with Party Bash for Kids and many other young performers organized by founder @madisynsblog Madisyn Alexis, a young celeb blogger with Asperger’s who is pioneering breaking the stigma on autism spectrum awareness. She’s incredible.

I just wrapped WITHIN AND WITHOUT playing Emily in an emotion-fueled drama piece about a family who loses their mom. The STREET franchise is going to keep me on my toes for years to come thankfully, and I am also cast in THE KING’S PROPHECY as Exandra, the lead in this awesome medieval fantasy tale of cousins, murder and survival. I understand that my film THE KIDS FROM 62-F (I play Nina with an ensemble cast of 4 youth actors) will debut on NETFLIX in early 2018 with a sequel in the works as well. And who knows, maybe one of my stories will make it onto a screen!

Gigi Cesarè as Emily and her on screen dad played by Robert Sciglimpaglia rehearsing a scene on set of film Within and Without. Shot in Connecticut 12/10/2017

Can we get a quick selfie of whatever you are doing right now?

Oh my gosh, ok here goes! Thank you Willie and TWK! I love your vibe and what you do for teens everywhere. Thank you for this fun chat sesh!

DJ and Singer Chloe Jane is a Rising ‘Superstar’

Chloe Jane is on a roll. The pop singer, YouTuber and DJ released her debut single called “Superstar” just a few months ago, which was written by Meghan Trainor and The Elev3n (video embedded below) and recently deejayed at one of the most famous nightclubs on the planet: Amnesia on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

And, she’s only 14 years old!

Born in New York into a family of professional musicians, Chloe Jane learned piano at age 9 and started singing and dancing at the age of 10. Summer holidays with her parents in Ibiza and a special friendship with the legendary DJ Jellybean Benitez (who remixed and produced some of Madonna’s early music) inspired her to go to the DJ school Dubspot in NYC. She started her professional DJ career by performing at the age of 12 at Le Ti and Do Brazil in St Barth. During the Summer of 2016 she spun at KM5 in Ibiza as well as a string of charity events hosted by Paris Hilton.
We got the chance to do a written Q & A with Chloe for TWK, and she also recorded a quick cover video for you guys, our lovely readers! (Video is embedded at the bottom of the page)

Hi Chloe, nice to e-meet you! Tell us a little about yourself and where you grew up.

I am 14 years old. I sing, DJ, play piano, write songs and dance. I grew up in New York City.

What made you get into DJing and how did you learn how to do it?

My parents met in Ibiza, Spain and Ibiza is the biggest music island in the world. Every summer I went and watched DJs play. I watched them perform and wanted to learn how to DJ myself. A family friend of mine, Jellybean Benitez is a legend in the DJ/music industry. When I was 12 years old I told him I wanted to learn to DJ. He taught me all his tricks and that is how I started DJing.

How would you describe the style of music you play?

I play all different types of music. Depending on where I am playing, and for which crowd, I play different tracks. When I play for teenagers at my Glow Parties at Amnesia in Ibiza, I play a lot of EDM and pop.Which deejay has made the biggest impact on you and why?

I love Martin Garrix because I admire how much he has accomplished at such a young age. I love the music he creates and I love the shows he puts on.

What is the best piece of advice you have gotten from a fellow DJ or mentor?

PRACTICE and always keep looking for new music and remixes.

You are only 14. What was it like DJing at one of the most famous nightclubs in the world, Amnesia in Ibiza at such a young age? Were you uncomfortable at any point?

I loved having my own Teenage party at Amnesia because it gave the kids an opportunity to have a party and have fun as there are really no places for them to party. I always have fun when I DJ and sing. When I am on stage I have so much fun and I get to interact with the crowd.

What do you like to do besides spinning?

I sing, write songs and dance.

Get this EDM Trucker Hat at Zazzle now!
AD: Click pic to buy this EDM Trucker Hat at Zazzle!

What are your goals in show business/DJing—where would you like to see yourself in 5 to
10 years?

In 5-10 years I would like to see myself releasing music throughout the world, touring in large venues around the world and appearing in major movies and television shows.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.

My mom and aunt are from Australia and my aunt was Ms. Australia.

Can we get a quick selfie of whatever you are doing right now?


Chloe Jane on Social Media
Snapchat: Chloejanesworld

From Missoula to Carnegie Hall: Meet Maris, 17-Year Old Singer to Watch

Maris is from Missoula, Montana. Yes, that’s a lot of Ms, as in “mmmmmmm” the sound you make when something is good. Good like Maris’ voice! You’ll get to hear for yourself when you scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to a video Maris recorded just for TWK readers and subscribers. First, let’s find out a little bit about this teen who is on the fast track to success judging by the response she is getting online, with one video racking up over 600k views and a tweet of her singing getting 56,000 retweets and 175,000 likes as of this writing.

This may be the first time you have heard of Maris, but it won’t be the last: She will be playing at Carnegie Hall on December 16, 2017 with a preview evening the night before at the well-known NYC music venue, Rockwood. She’s already got two albums under her belt, and has garnered a lot of attention with her version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” part of Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox (you can also see that vid at the end of the interview below).

More recently Maris was awarded first place in the category Guitar/Vocals in American Protege’s International Music Talent Competition, which earned her the illustrious Carnegie Hall opportunity.

Now, let’s meet Maris with an Teens Wanna Know’s exclusive interview!

Hi Maris, nice to e-meet you! First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! The pleasure is all mine. I appreciate you taking some time to talk to me! Well, I am 17 years old currently, gonna be 18 in September, on the 16th. That’s why 16 is my lucky number. I sing as much as possible, and my worst moments are usually tied somehow to not having time to sing or be creative. I love sleep, but I never have enough of it, and I have a deep appreciation for old Disney animated movies; my favorites being The Lion King, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast and Hercules. All which have outstanding musical scores and plot.

So…you were “discovered” through a Postmodern Jukebox talent competition. Tell us about that, and about the experience recording the video which now has 600k views.

I always find that the videos I haven’t seen anything spectacular in are the ones that seem to do the best. My audition video, that I filmed at my then voice teacher’s house, got a significant amount more attention than anything I had done before. It’s weird for a small town kiddo to comprehend that many people watching them. I didn’t win, but I was honorably mentioned and a “runner-up” but really it was just an honor for me to participate among such talented artists. Scott Bradlee, the founder, followed me on twitter after seeing my audition for the search, and after the winner was picked he said he’d still be happy to collaborate after they were done touring. Imagine my excitement, someone who gets to make music for a living AND TOUR wants to work with me. Incredibly flattering. So, after their tour I messaged him and then I was out there a couple months later and it was so incredible. Everyone was so courteous and kind to me, and even though I was completely nervous and out of my depths, it was one of the biggest learning experiences I had. I brought my grandma and my mom with me, and making them proud was one of the best parts.

At what age did you start singing?

My mom tells me that I was humming melodies before I could speak, but once I could speak I would sing for my siblings’ friends or for construction workers when my childhood house was being remodeled.

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Tell us about your training, as far as vocals and instruments.

I took a couple years of vocal lessons from Eden Atwood which did me a lot of good, I took guitar for a few months from a family friend Geoff Peddicord after a not super outstanding experience with a formal teacher. Probably my biggest teacher was observation, through watching other performers on youtube and covering songs on my own, trying to find what I needed to improve each time.

Who are your inspirations musically?

I have soooo many. Frank Sinatra is probably my biggest idol whom I look up to for charisma and presence, as well as control and an ability to perform live. Sometimes better live than in a studio version. THAT is a performer. I also really like Joan Jett, and her no-shits given attitude. Vocally I often try to reference jazz female singers, like Ella Fitzgerald, for the tone and almost nurturing quality of their texture. I do enjoy a good bit of growl, though, a recent artist that has this is Allan Rayman. I love his bite in his voice.

Who are your role models in general…who do you really look up to and why?

My mom is probably my biggest role model, because she didn’t have the easiest time growing up, and she is a workaholic because of it. She never wanted her kids to experience the stress that she did when she was young, and so she works her ass off almost every minute. Even when she’s home, she’s on her phone working out deals and being just an incredible inspiration. If there is anything I hope I inherited from my mother, it is her sense of humor and ability to connect with people as well as her work ethic.

You will be performing at Carnegie Hall on December 16th. That’s quite an honor! How did this come about?

I submitted a video, on a whim, to American Protege, not thinking it would go anywhere. I completely forgot about it and then a couple months later I got an email back saying I won a first place slot. The prize is performing at Carnegie Hall, and I couldn’t be more excited and honored. I’m taking my grandpa, because it has been a dream of his to go inside and watch a performance in Carnegie, but he’s never done it. I hope he isn’t too bummed that it’s mine, haha.

Your kinda hammy performance of “Fly Me To The Moon” has kinda blown up on Twitter. What was it like to see all those reactions to something you did just for fun?

It has been crazy, twitter has been surprisingly merciful in terms of trolls or harsh comments. Facebook appears to be where that festers these days. Anyway, I’ve been completely humbled and bewildered by the kindness I’m being shown. Part of me feels like I’m spending all my good luck on this good fortune, so I’m nervous. I know that’s bullshit, but it’s certainly in the back of my mind.

Have you even been bullied? If so, what did you do to handle it?

I was bullied in elementary school through middle school for having hairy arms, which is the most ridiculous thing. Looking back, I knew it would crush me every time. I’m very delicate in every sense of the word. A boy would call me “manris” or something similar, and I would go home and shave my arms. Now that I’ve grown into a young woman, I am completely comfortable with people trying to insult me by saying they don’t know if I’m a boy or a girl, or that I look like a man. It really makes me giggle, because I often feel completely detached from any gender, just kind of floating and wearing what I like and posing how I like and carrying myself how I feel comfortable. I’m also much happier now that I’ve learned to make fun of myself, and kind of put in perspective how that person’s opinion of me isn’t gonna penetrate my universe like they want it to. It’s more a reflection of them, how they treat other people, I think. Not my problem if they lash out through insults, I have bigger things to worry about. Like making terrible jokes.

Where would you like your singing to take you in the future…that is to say what are your goals?

I really and completely would be 100% fulfilled with having a livable career. Traveling would be amazing, but even that is something I don’t think I need to be satisfied with my career. I have big dreams and I would never limit myself, but at the end of the day, I just want to know I’ll wake up excited to start my day. A tour and putting out work that only gets better as I continue to learn wouldn’t be bad, though. Not at all.

Best experience in the music industry thus far?

I had a show with some friends at a local venue and I started singing a song that I’ve had out for a while and I looked down and made eye contact with a group of my peers watching, and they were singing my lyrics back to me. The connection was so powerful and it meant the entire world to me. I live for those moments.

And the worst?

After I had won a talent competition as a freshman in high school, the upper class kids I was competing against started to treat me differently. I’d walk to an area to chat with everyone and they’d all walk away, none of them wanted to talk to me after. It broke my heart, because to me music is so communal and is meant to bring people together.

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Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

I used to play a lot of soccer, and my parents think I was pretty good. My coach nicknamed me 007 like James Bond, because I’d be all over the field. Kind of a ball hog, looking back. Hopefully I’ve worked on that character flaw of mine.

Biggest pet peeve?

Speaking of pet peeves as something minor that isn’t like a deep-rooted world issue, I really hate when people are flaky or consistently late, which sucks because I’m often attracted to other artists, of which many use that as an excuse. I don’t think being an artist means you are late or flaky, I usually just feel disrespected.

Any causes you are passionate about?

My family is always teasing me about being a “social justice warrior” because it’s rare to find something societal or cultural that I don’t have a passionate opinion on. I care specifically a lot about intersectional feminism, empowering and raising up the voices who are pushed down farther than mine is. Really, though, my fingers would fall off if I delved into everything I give a damn about, because I give so many damns.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m performing with a choir pal Chance with the Missoula Symphony. My choir teacher, Ellen Mckenzie, set it up for us. She’s an incredibly inspiring woman, I adore her. Super talented and an amazing teacher, I shifted a trip to nyc just so I wouldn’t have to back out of the symphony and disappoint her. That’s how much I admire her. I also just absolutely dread the feeling of disappointing anyone.

Where can people connect with you on social media and check out your music?

My twitter handle is meofthesea, because I’m Maris and Maris means “of the sea” in Latin.

My instagram is starnip, because I used to like how girls would cover their nipples with the little star emoji when they’d post pictures on instagram topless, AND I’m a big fan of the concept of an intergalactic nipple.

My soundcloud is maris99 and I have my most recent music there for now, but in the fall I’m releasing an ep called LOVELUST written 100% by me and produced by a pal Ryan Maynes.

Anything else we should know?

I see music in the form of color and cinema. Different film qualities and hues and grains, etc.

Can we get a quick selfie of whatever it is you are doing right now?

And now listen to Maris in this clip she recorded just for you!

Meet Alison Fernandez from ‘Logan’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’

Alison Fernandez is living the dream of any young actress: regular bookings on notable TV shows and landing a role on a big blockbuster film. The 11-year-old is known for playing young Jane on Jane the Virgin and her recurring role on Law & Order: SVU. She also appeared opposite Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movie Logan and has also just been chosen as the new American Girl, an Amazon original, based off the American Girl Dolls.

If that weren’t enough, she is also involved in cheerleading gymnastics, and holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo!

Let’s find out a bit more about this young phenom — scroll down for our Q & A!

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Hi Alison! Tell our readers a little about yourself and your background.

My name is Alison Fernandez. I’m an 11-year-old actress born in Brooklyn NY. You may have seen me on a few hit TV shows like… Once Upon A Time, Jane The Virgin, Fresh Off the Boat, Orange Is The New Black, Law and Order: SVU, Logan and a few others and some commercials. I love gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, swimming, dancing, singing, and cheerleading.

Great! You’ve recently played a part in the superhero movie “Logan.” Tell me about your role and what it was like meeting Hugh Jackman.

I played Delilah, which is the clone of an X-man named “Iceman” AKA Bobby. Delilah is one of Laura’s mutant friends that help fight in a war against the mercenaries hunting and killing all mutantkind. My superpower is the ability to create and manipulate Ice. I was very nervous the day I met Hugh Jackman. I have been watching him playing as Wolverine ever since I was little. Its funny because when I met him I became so happy I couldn’t stop giggling. Yes, it was so cool and he was very nice. We even had lunch together that day.

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What was the best part about the experience of filming that movie?

The best part was when I froze the Reaver’s arm and then shattered it into a million pieces. For me, that will always be an experience of a lifetime, plus getting to know all the cast and crew that help make this movie look so real. Without them, the crew, these movies could never be made.

You’ve earned roles on shows like Jane the Virgin, Once Upon a Time, and Law & Order:SVU. Pretty amazing stuff for an 11-year-old. But, if you could have any role (your dream role) what would it be and why?

“The Adventures of the Daughter of Tomb Raider and the Amazon Jungle.” I love acting, doing my own stunts, fight choreography, dance, sing, and parkour, so why not?

How do you handle your nervousness when you audition – any tips for other actors?

Ok yes, I find three things help me. I find the better that I prepare for the audition the less nervous I will be, I prepare at least two different ways that I will perform the audition, and I find exercising or jogging the morning of the audition often helps calm me.

You are also a martial artist right? Which style and how long have you been doing it?

Yes, I am currently a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do , and I have been doing it for 6 years.

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Do you still live in New York? If so, what do you like most about it? If not, where do you live and what do you like most about it?

I live in Los Angeles now. I love how I can experience the beach, hot days, and travel 45 minutes by car to enjoy the snow filled mountains to go skiing all in the same day!

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on Once Upon A Time for the last two Episodes of season 6 and hoping for season seven in July. In the time I’m not filming I’ll be working hard in school for the remainder of my 6th grade school year. Plus working on my activities including getting better at TKD, dance, parkour, swimming, and singing.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.

I love seafood, reading and binge watching TV Shows!

Favorite Youtuber and why?

Jared Gilmore from #OUAT, because I find his videos very very funny, it’s so cool how he pranks his family and goes on his sisters YouTube channels too.

Where can your fans follow you? (social media)

You can find me on Twitter as @tvalison, Instagram as tvalisononset, and Facebook as AlisonFernandezDotCom.

Can you please send a selfie of whatever it is you are doing now?

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