Issuu on Google+


“EVERY GIRL CAN RELATE TO CARRIE IN SOME WAY.” ANNASOPHIA ROBB

56-65


FEATURES 4 jordan pruitt

20 madison pettis

42 we the kings

6 carly rose sonenclar

24 jillian rose reed

48 dinner and a suit

10 coco jones

32 the new classic

66 cimorelli

12 molly tarlov

34 the dangerous summer

72 megan & liz

18 juliette goglia

40 metro station

80 max schneider

EDITORIAL 30 op-ed

NKD NAKED MAGAZINE

31 playlist

52 photos: naked eye

PUBLISHERS

SENIOR EDITOR

WRITERS

Ariella Mastroianni Catherine Powell

Isabelle Chapman Amanda Randone Noah Tavlin

Isaac Bate Jackie Bui Susan Cheng Ashleigh D’Mello Tara DeVincenzo Olga Khvan Alex Lane Stacy Magallon Shina Patel Stephanie Pettit Catherine Powell

MANAGING EDITOR Nicola Pring

PHOTOGRAPHER Catherine Powell

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Elizabeth Goold

COPY CHIEF Nicola Pring

DESIGNER

COPY EDITORS

Ariella Mastroianni

Tatiana Baez Jenna Ross Alexandra Tse


JORDAN PRUITT Words by TARA DEVINCENZO & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

“the two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success,” Jordan Pruitt tweeted on Sept. 6. At 22, the singer has had her fair share of both. The ex-Disney artist and former The Voice contestant has been in the music business since she was 14. Now she’s unsigned and making music her way. Jordan started writing and recording her own music without even realizing she was promoting herself. At 14 she handed out her CDs to anyone who would listen to them. “It was just, ‘Jordan does music’ but it was never, ‘Oh my god, I wanna be a superstar,’” Jordan says. “I’ve never said that in my entire life.” Jordan says she gave the album she made, featuring her original song “Outside Looking In,” to “everybody and their second cousin” until it eventually fell into the right hands. “Somebody had heard it who knew somebody else at Hollywood Records and sent it to them, and within a week I had a record deal,” she says. She moved from her hometown of Loganville, Ga. to Nashville, to make her record deal official. The opportunity came at the expense of being able finish school with her friends. She

4

flew back and forth to Los Angeles on a monthly basis while being homeschooled. Traveling forced her to make friends in unconventional ways. “I actually didn’t really have friends until I was about 17 in Nashville because I was on the road six or seven months out of the year,” she says. “My accountant’s son was my age so he was like one of my best friends, still is my best friend.” Even though she had to move away from home and leave her friends, she didn’t feel completely out place. “Luckily Nashville is really, really nice,” she says. “It’s southern, I’m southern.” In February of 2007, Jordan debuted her first album No Ordinary Girl under Hollywood Records. “Outside Looking In” made it to the Billboard Top 200 and became her way into Disney. The song was on the Disney Channel movie Read It And Weep (2006). In 2006 Jordan performed with “High School Musical: The Concert” and was a guest opener for the Cheetah Girls concert tour. During these years, Jordan had already decided that she wasn’t going to be a Disney star. She released her second album Permission to Fly in 2008, which would be her last under the Hollywood Records label. “I decided to leave Hollywood when I was 18, it was official when I was 19 and a half,” she says. Jordan took some time off to get a grasp of her fame, making it a priority to not let it consume her. “[As a] 14-year old shooting music videos, I didn’t really have a chance to discover who I was,” she says. She took a year off in L.A., writing music but staying under the radar. When she was finally ready to get back on stage, she took a different risk. “I got on The Voice when I was 20,” she says. “I really didn’t have any other options. I didn’t know what else to do. I figured kind of like, ‘Why not.’” Jordan’s audition, where she sang Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” aired on


jordan pruitt | nkd magazine *

Sept. 24, 2012. She made it to the show and was mentored by Christina Aguilera. Jordan lost in an early round, but she found success in other ways during her run on the show: she turned 21, met her boyfriend and discovered country music was her true calling. “It ended up being the best thing ever,” she says. After she was voted off the show on Oct. 23, 2012, Jordan tweeted, “I am one happy girl ... And excited to tell you, I’m going country ... #newmusic #2013 #omgsh.” Jordan was always into country music, but took the long way to country as a career by singing pop music when she was young. “It was like, I’ll try it, if I don’t get good songs I’ll keep doing pop, because I know that avenue. I’m good at that, it’s my thing,” she says. “I do kind of have that twang without that, ‘Hey ya’ll,’” Jordan says. Now she’s working on her third album with the sound she feels truly fits her. “With Disney … of course I was myself in a sense but I was always scared,” she says. “When I had my first beer I was like, ‘Oh my god, Disney’s gonna come after me,’ and life should not be like that. I felt like I was in a box and now I get to explore.” Jordan has grown out of Disney, but she’s steering clear of the “good girl gone bad” route. “I always think of my fans that grew up with me, and their parents,” she says. “Their parents love me and I don’t want to disappoint them by doing something that would be embarrassing for them to watch.” Jordan is making music without anyone’s rules but her own. “Now I’m saying ‘damn’ in one of my favorite songs,” she says.

“WHEN I HAD MY FIRST BEER I WAS LIKE, ‘OH MY GOD, DISNEY’S GONNA COME AFTER ME.’” JORDAN PRUITT “But it’s a country song, everybody says damn. Now I know that doesn’t define me as a person.” Figuring out who she is came after years in the business and deciding what she wanted to give back to her fans. “I just want to be a role model for women,” she says. “A strong woman that shows women that we can do it ourselves without having a dude.” The most important thing Jordan has learned is to be confident. “I feel a lot stronger and I love being the boss,” she says. “I’m never going to let someone make me feel uncomfortable or push me in a corner and say, ‘You have to do this or else.’” Jordan is unsigned, but still performing and working on her country album. With some help from her boyfriend, singer Brian Fuente, she has new material and new opportunities to perform. “[Brian’s] been a huge inspiration in my life and I wouldn’t be able to be here without him,” Jordan says. Now, Jordan’s only making day-to-day plans. “I’m happy with myself as a human being,” she says. “I know music doesn’t define me as a woman or a person, it’s just something that I love to do.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

5


CARLY ROSE SONENCLAR

6


carly rose sonenclar | nkd magazine

*

Thank You to THE IVY BAR & GRILL

NKDMAG.COM

7


Words by JACKIE BUI & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

Before all four of the judges on The X Factor panel gave her a standing ovation last year, 14-year-old singer Carly Rose Sonenclar was just a girl with a dream. Before trying out for The X Factor, and eventually becoming runner up, Carly appeared as Gilda Flip on the PBS KIDS television show The Electric Company. She also played Abigail in the short film Snowfall (2009) and appeared in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) as well, but it was her experience on Broadway in Les Miserables and Wonderland that prepared her for the rigorous schedule that came with The X Factor. “Being on Broadway gave me a lot of experience,” Carly says. “Having that eight show a week, crazy schedule helped me when I got to X Factor.” Carly began singing when she was two. In kindergarten, she took singing classes after school, which opened the doors for her career. “I wasn’t really thinking it would go anywhere, it was kind of for fun,” she says. “Then they took the class to a manager, and I was just like, ‘Ok, whatever,’ and then I ended up getting signed.” Carly began her freshman year of high school this fall. She says that, as of right now, she does not intend to go back to being homeschooled like she was when she was on The X Factor. For now, attending a public school has helped her career and she is grateful for the relationships she’s made at school. “I think for me, [school is] actually helpful because it helps to keep me grounded,” she says. “I have amazing friends

8

who I have gotten so close with over the years. I think, maybe in the future, depending on what happens, I’ll need to go to homeschool, but at least I’ll have made those relationships and I can keep those.” Carly wants to go to college to study something other than music and acting. “I think Emma Watson, for example, is a huge star but still goes to college, so that’s just like a testament to [the fact that] you can do it. A lot of people don’t think you can.” Since coming in second place behind country singer Tate Stevens on The X Factor, Carly has been busy working on her debut album. She’s heavily involved in the writing process. “It’s really fun,” Carly says of songwriting. “I wrote music even before X Factor so it’s kind of like doing something I already know I enjoy. But now, it’s kind of just taking it to the other level. I’m getting to work with incredible producers and other writers and people I’ve never really worked with before, so it’s really great.” Carly idolized Hilary Duff when she was growing up. Now that she’s older, she says musicians like Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars, Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5 and Adele influence her. “Bruno Mars is like, my favorite person ever,” Carly says. “His music completely influences me. I have a song that I am kind of doing a Bruno Mars-esque thing on. I really like him, I like his whole style. It’s soulful.” Carly focuses on making music that relates to all of her fans.


carly rose sonenclar | nkd magazine

“I THINK FOR ME, [SCHOOL IS] ACTUALLY HELPFUL BECAUSE IT HELPS TO KEEP ME GROUNDED.” CARLY ROSE SONENCLAR

*

When asked what she is writing about, she says, “I think just anything that relates to people my age, people older than me. I don’t want to be targeting one audience. I don’t want to just target 13-year-olds because I’m a 14-year-old girl. I want to make music that kind of relates to everybody.” In order to make an album that reaches all of her fans, she wants to focus solely on the music. “I think it’s just the music,” Carly says. “You can do as many press things and as many red carpets and everything and interviews as you want, but in the end, if the music isn’t really good, it’s not really going to make a difference.” Carly feels that she is fortunate to be able to rely on social media to have conversations with fans. “I honestly don’t know where I would be without it,” Carly says. “I’m not rushing out an album. I have to do whatever I can to stay on the radar. I’m taking my time, I’m making sure I get it right, and in that time, I still want to engage fans, so the way I need to do that is on social media.” If she could give anyone advice or inspiration, Carly says it would be to have confidence. “X Factor totally boosted my confidence a lot and that’s something I get to take away from [it],” she says. “When it comes to performing, I’m a lot more confident, ‘cause that whole experience, nothing will ever be, to me, as nerve-wracking, as pressuring as that was. I feel like much more of a stronger person and I feel like I can stand up for myself.” NKD

NKDMAG.COM

9


COCO JONES Words by JACKIE BUI & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

Courtney “Coco” Jones made the decision at 9 years old to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. The South Carolina-born, Tennessee-raised 15-year-old actress and singer says her mom discovered Coco’s ability to sing at an early age, when she heard her singing along to Barney. “[My mom’s] friend, who was a violinist, said, ‘Your baby has the perfect ear,’” Coco says. “I guess whatever Barney was singing, I would sing back to him on perfect pitch. That’s just what she tells me.” In retrospect, Coco knows she was born to be an entertainer just by looking through old photographs of herself. “When I see pictures of myself, at 6 or 7, it’s crazy because every kid would be normal and cheesing, but I would be doing these fashionista poses,” she says. “I’ve tried to find one picture where I was just smiling normal, but it was impossible. I’ve always been the kid that was entertaining and out there and just extra crazy.” Coco got her start doing school plays and singing the national anthem for her school. She was also given the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a St. Louis Rams game. Coco also participated in Radio Disney’s “Next Big Thing,” a singing contest featuring new and unsigned artists or bands, where winners are chosen by Radio Disney listeners. Although Coco did not win, she says the contest opened the doors for more opportunities and jumpstarted her career. Shortly after N.B.T, Coco was cast as the female lead in Disney’s made for 10

TV musical movie Let It Shine (2012), which allowed her to explore both of her talents. Although she is both a singer and actress, Coco says singing will always come first. “Singing, I know like the back of my hand,” she says. “Acting is more of a challenge. It’s something I’m not as familiar with, so I’m always constantly learning and always constantly figuring out new things about it.” Coco hopes to build an acting portfolio as impressive as the Hollywood starlets she’s inspired by. “I’m influenced by Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore… [and] Gabrielle Union,” she says. “Even though they’ve been in all these movies, they constantly reinvent themselves and you never think of them as who they really are, you think of them as a whole new character.” For now, Coco is focusing on her debut album. She co-wrote many songs for the album, and she says the process of recording a song is a different experience every time she goes into the studio. “Sometimes when I go into the studio, I’m starting from scratch and that means there’s nothing, no idea, no tracks, no music,” she says. “We talk about something I’ve always dreamed of writing about or singing, and we build a track around the idea that’s been in my mind or in a writer’s mind that I really like too. And other times there’s a song ready and I go in and sing it, and I’ve already heard it and I know all the words and I kill it. It just always depends, but you always go in with extra ideas and you always go in prepared to create something.” Fans can expect Coco’s album, which she says is a balance


coco jones | nkd magazine *

between pop and R&B, in early 2014. Coco says she’s inspired by Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey and Demi Lovato, but her biggest influence on her album is Beyoncé. “A lot of [my album] is inspired by Beyoncé because she always has some of the best songs, but also puts really intense vocals in there that makes you wanna sit down and listen, but also get up and dance,” Coco says. “I think I take a lot from her style when it comes to my album, because I really want to have great music, but show off my vocals as well.” Coco spent her summer on tour with R&B boy band Mindless Behavior, which she says was a learning experience for her own future tours. “They are some funny little boys,” Coco says. “They remind me of my brothers, we were just goofing off all the time. It was my first ever tour that I did every day. I learned a lot that I want for my own tour, like producingwise and lighting-wise.” Coco also had the opportunity to interview celebrities including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Jennifer Hudson, Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis, Ellie Goulding, 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa on the red carpet at the VMA’s this summer. Coco says meeting the singers she’s looked up to for so long and having them be so kind to her was an unforgettable experience. “You know when you see someone on TV and you listen to their music all the time and you meet them and they’re nice to you? It’s like a gift on Christmas day,” she says. “To see all these stars that I look up to be really sweet and be inspiring like I thought

they would be was awesome. I didn’t have one bad experience.” The biggest lesson she took away from the red carpet interviews is to stay humble. “These were some really huge celebrities and they were just like me,” Coco says. “They were just normal people. Even though they’ve done so much and been to so many places and have so many people watching them, they’re not cocky at all. And it can actually happen, it’s actually true, that people that are really high up don’t have to be so cocky and ‘celebrity’ with the big ego.” Not only did Coco receive that advice from celebrities she looks up to, she also received similar advice from her dad. She says her father, former NFL linebacker Mike Jones has always been the voice of reason in her life. “My dad told me to always be really smart and to really think about stuff before you do it,” Coco says. “This [is the] age in life you’re supposed to have fun, but you don’t want to look back and say, ‘Man I wish I would’ve worked harder,’ or, ‘Man I wish I was smarter,’ or, ‘Man I shouldn’t have hung out with those people.’” Although she hopes this is just the beginning of a life-long career, Coco says that if everything were to stay where it is right now, she would be happy, though she has some big dreams. “If things didn’t change right now, I would be fine,” she says. “But I’ve always had bigger goals that I one day want to achieve. I want to go on a world tour like Beyoncé does and go all over the globe and have everybody know all my songs and sing them back and have a blast. I’m happy with where I am, too.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

11


MOLLY TARLOV Words by SHINA PATEL Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

two weeks after moving to los Angeles, Moly Tarlov booked her first role, a guest spot on the hit Nickelodeon show iCarly. After that, there was no stopping Molly. Molly has spent most of her life in New York City — she was born on the Upper East Side and raised in Tribeca. She auditioned for her first play at age 10 and she fell in love with acting, but she didn’t pursue it seriously until she moved to Los Angeles about three years ago. “My parents didn’t want me to go for it,” Molly says. “They didn’t want me to be a kid and have to be on the set.” Molly went to high school and college before she started her career. She explored theater in her high school’s drama program, and she spent summers at acting programs. Molly says she liked growing up in New York because she saw people of all different ways of life. “I’ve been lucky knowing that are people are struggling with being accepted or

12


NKDMAG.COM

13


14


molly tarlov | nkd magazine *

“MY CAST IS AWESOME. I’M OBSESSED WITH THEM. WE’RE ALL SO DIFFERENT.”

fitting in,” she says. “I was lucky to have it ingrained in me that there is no difference in people. There are differences but there is no worse or better.” After high school, Molly went to Bennington College in Vermont, where she majored in theater. After graduating from college, she was able to move to L.A. to start her career as a serious actor. Molly initially felt that she had started to late. “There is totally a value in starting young out [in L.A.] she says. “Anybody who you see now who has become a huge star, you can bet that they’ve been out there since they were like 12.” A few months after her cameo on iCarly, Molly landed the role of Sadie Saxton on MTV’s Awkward. Molly marvels at the fact that Awkward. was recently picked up for its fourth season. “It’s just kind of been a whirlwind,” she says. “It’s totally nuts for me.” Awkward. is Molly’s first experience as a regular on a TV series. She says the show has evolved over the years and it’s interesting because as time goes on, she can add more layers to her character. “It’s an opportunity that I think is so rare and amazing to actually live with a character for a few years,” Molly says. Molly thinks Sadie has a lot of insecurities, and has trouble expressing herself. She believes everybody has that in them, and that means that at least part of Sadie’s character is rooted in reality. Molly also loves Awkward. because she feels that the cast and crew have become much more than friends — they’ve turned into her L.A. family. “My cast is awesome,” she says “I’m obsessed with them. We’re all so different.”

MOLLY TARLOV

NKDMAG.COM

15


Molly loves working with MTV, and she disagrees with critics who say the network should put more emphasis on music. “It is bullshit,” she says. “Honestly if they had music videos on all day, less people would watch the channel. They are making a move to scripted television and I don’t see why channels aren’t allowed to evolve.” Molly feels such a sense of innovation and a need to grow and change at MTV. She says the network is constantly trying to create new things and push boundaries and make their programs better. “They’ve been so revolutionary [for] so many things,” she says. Molly likes music, but she says she’s not really a singer. “I’m not a great singer but I can carry it a little bit,” Molly says. “I could do something if I went into intense music training.” She loves female musicians like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Lana del Ray. Her favorite artists are women who cause controversy, and she says it’s because they are true to themselves and she strives to be that kind of person. “You gotta be you,” Molly says. Molly recently shot a movie called G.B.F., (Gay Best Friend) which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The movie is about a gay high school student named Tanner. A few popular girls use him as an accessory rather than a friend, but Molly’s character, Sophie, is Tanner’s real friend. Molly’s character is a bit the straight edge, and she acts as Tanner’s moral compass. Although Molly usually plays a high school student and she acknowledges that young girls are watching her, she doesn’t feel the need to be their moral compass. “I’m not really that crude anyway,” she says. “But I’m not afraid to curse. I think it’s cool because Awkward. is such a strange show and it’s a little bit edgy so I think our fans are a little edgy. I think my fans are cool.” Molly also says that a lot of her fans look up to her because as she puts it, “I’m not a super skinny girl on TV. It’s nice to know that some girls are inspired by me because I was able to do whatever I wanted. If I could show somebody that, then they can feel like they have more at their fingertips.” NKD

16


molly tarlov | nkd magazine *

“AWKWARD. IS SUCH A STRANGE SHOW AND IT’S A LITTLE BIT EDGY, SO I THINK OUR FANS ARE A LITTLE EDGY. I THINK MY FANS ARE COOL.” MOLLY TARLOV

NKDMAG.COM

17


JULIETTE GOGLIA Words by OLGA KHVAN Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

When Juliette Goglia was 7 she played God — on the TV show Joan of Arcadia. “That was an interesting place to start,” says the now 18-year-old actress on a recent afternoon in New York City. “It was funny because I was 7 years old, playing God, and it’s like, ‘Where do I go from here?’” From there, Juliette went on to play a 10-year-old murderer on CSI and an epileptic patient with a tumor that induced hallucinations of God on the CBS series 3 lbs. She also appeared on other shows ranging from Desperate Housewives to That’s So Raven and Hannah Montana. Juliette was born in a suburb of Los Angeles to actress Susan Stokey and scenic painter Carmine Goglia. Juliette’s older sister was an actress too — Juliette recalls sitting in the wings every night of her sister’s performances of a community theater production of Annie, singing along and reciting all of the lines. Now, Juliette has landed a role on The Michael J. Fox Show, which premiered on Sept. 26. She plays the Hollywood icon’s teenage daughter, Eve, who is a quirky high school sophomore and the middle child in her family. “I was lucky enough to book the role and it’s great in particular because it’s Michael and it’s so ideal that he’s coming back to television,” she says. “Before we even filmed the pilot, it was guaranteed for 22 episodes on the air, which is unheard of and anyone’s dream, so I was thrilled when this came along.” Juliette describes Eve as smart and overall “a good person” who, like any high schooler, is still trying to figure out who she is. The character also plays 10 instruments — including a keytar — although none of them well. Aside from a passion for music, and the fact that Eve is a middle child, Juliette doesn’t find too much in common with her character, making the role even more exciting and rewarding to play. “It’s fun to play someone who’s just a little drier and a little more mysteri18

ous than I am in real life,” she says. “We’re different, but we’re both open to new experiences. She likes doing things that are different and I’m all for that.” Juliette booked her first pilot, a CBS comedy called Washington Street, when she was 10. “I was younger at the time and hadn’t faced as much rejection at that point and everyone was so excited about it, and I was so sure it was going to get picked up because I was naive,” she says. “I remember when I found out that it hadn’t gotten on the air, I was heartbroken. But there’s always another job and I know that if I’d gotten that role, I wouldn’t have been available for other roles that have gotten me further.” Juliette credits much of her success to Will Gluck, a popular comedy director with whom she has worked with on minor roles in the films Fired Up! and Easy A. “I created an incredible relationship with Will and from there, he’s luckily supported me,” she says. “When you find someone who believes in you and your ability and who has a say in [the film industry], it’s really wonderful.” As one of the executive producers on The Michael J. Fox Show, Gluck made sure to draw attention to Juliette’s audition tape. She landed the role, packed up her bags and left Los


juliette goglia | nkd magazine *

Angeles for New York City to shoot the show. “Moving to New York was pretty wild, but I love it and I’ve decided that I never want to go home unless I have to,” she says. “I feel like I’ve grown up a lot in the last three or four months I’ve been here because I feel that New York forces you to be independent. You just walk outside and the city kind of plans its day for you. It’s the best experience.” Aside from filming, Juliette has been spending her time taking dance classes, traveling to the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore with friends and writing music. “My life is so consumed by [filming] that when I get home, I like playing guitar to calm myself down,” she says. “It’s just a really nice way to release tension.” Although acting remains her main focus, she hopes to become a recording artist one day and ideally combine her passions for music and acting into one role. In addition to music and acting, Juliette is passionate about academics. She prides herself on getting straight A’s and getting a high school diploma mostly without home schooling. “Everyone in L.A. who’s working tends to be home-schooled because it’s easier, but I tried it for one year in fifth grade and it wasn’t for me,” she says. “I’m a very social person and I need to be surrounded by people.”

Juliette plans to attend college for an undergraduate degree in political science. She has deferred her admission from the University of Southern California — her top choice — until the spring, when The Michael J. Fox Show goes on hiatus, but she’s considering applying to schools in New York as well. “I’m hoping to make it work with acting, which could be difficult, but I think it’s important to be well-rounded,” she says. Beyond college, Juliette has big plans for her acting career. She hopes to get a chance to work with Kate Winslet — one of her biggest idols — Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp someday. As for her dream role, she’d love to play a character similar to Emma Stone’s in Easy A. “I played a young version of her in that and that’s a role I’d die to play because you get to show so many levels,” she says. “You get to be earnest and comedic and she even got a song.” Juliette recalls pacing around her backyard as a 10-yearold, heartbroken about another abandoned TV pilot she had put so much work into. But now, she’s come a long way since then, she’s enthusiastic about her future. “You have to find your niche and know that your career isn’t over just because a show didn’t get on the air,” she says. “I know it’s cheesy, but I believe that everything does happen for a reason.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

19


MADISON PETTIS Words by SUSAN CHENG Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

as someone who once aspired to be a cheetah girl, 15-year-old Madison Pettis has come a long way since her initial days of starring as the little girl on Disney Channel’s Cory in the House and in the 2007 film The Game Plan. The Hollywood starlet from Arlington, Texas has had a passion for performance since she started dancing competitively at age 4. “All I wanted to be was a Cheetah Girl,” Madison says. “On the playgrounds of elementary school, I would be choreographing my friends so that we could dance and sing like the Cheetah Girls.” Madison began acting when she was 5 years old, landing modeling and commercial gigs and a role on Barney & Friends. “When I was younger, I was just in love with all aspects of performing,” Madison says. She began taking acting classes to develop her skills at age 7. One day in class, the casting director of Cory in the House and an agent from Los Angeles came to Madison’s acting studio to observe Madison and her classmates. She was asked to audition for pilot season, and after auditioning in L.A., Madison was chosen to star on Cory in the House as Sophie Martinez, a sassy 8-year-old who loves pestering Cory. She also secured a role in The Game Plan alongside Dwayne Johnson as his character’s long-lost ballerina daughter Peyton Kelly. “It was a crazy couple of months,” Madison says. “[Some] people go to L.A. for pilot season for

20


NKDMAG.COM

21


“I THINK PEOPLE DEFINITELY LOOK UP TO TV AND MOVIE STARS SO I TRY HARD TO BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL FOR PEOPLE.” years and never book a single thing, or just book a commercial. To think that I booked a series and a movie within the grasp of two months is crazy, out of this world.” Madison never planned on becoming a child star — she just knew she wanted to perform. “It never really entered my head that I would move to L.A. and start a career as a kid,” Madison says. “But when I started dancing when I was 4, I fell in love with the performing aspect. I was like, ‘I wanna do more! I wanna do modeling! I wanna do commercials … get me more acting lessons!’” Pilot season presented Madison with the opportunity to do exactly that. Perhaps her biggest inspiration for going to L.A, aside from her love for performing, was actress Raven-Symoné. “When the idea of going to L.A. came up, I was like, ‘Well, yeah, I just want to be on That’s So Raven!” Madison says. To Madison’s dismay, she arrived in L.A. to discover the That’s So Raven series was concluding with 100 episodes. “I was distraught,” she says, laughing. “I was like, ‘That’s all I ever wanted in life.’” However, the young star is grateful to have starred on Cory in the House, which is the spinoff of That’s So Raven, Kyle Massey and Rondell Sheridan. Madison got to meet Raven on set. “I did get to meet her because we had the same crew, and Kyle and Rondell were on That’s So Raven.” Madison says. “So she came to visit the cast and crew, and I was unbelievably star struck. I couldn’t form a sentence. I was freaking out,” she says, laughing. The cast of That’s So Raven aren’t the only talents she’s worked with during her career. Madison’s role in The Game Plan meant that she got to work with dancers from the Boston Ballet. “When we were training before the movie, I had already made so many friends,” Madison says. “But also, I’m so lucky to be able to work with Dwayne, Kyra Sedgwick, Roselyn Sanchez and Morris Chestnut.” At the time, Madison didn’t even realize what working on a film with older, more experienced actors meant for her. 22

MADISON PETTIS

“I feel like there’s no better way to learn than being in the field practicing it,” she says. “I got to work on Seven Pounds with Will Smith, and Dwayne was incredible to work with. So I think seeing how everyone handles himself on set is something really to learn from.” The 15-year-old has since landed more roles on sitcoms like Life With Boys, which just finished airing its first season on Teen Nick. The show was co-created by Michael Poryes, who helped produce Hannah Montana and That’s So Raven. As its title suggests, Life With Boys centers on 14-year-old Tess Foster, who must endure living in a house full of boys. Madison plays Allie Brooks, the main character’s best friend. She also plays a recurring character on another Disney sitcom called Lab Rats, and does voiceovers for the animated series Jake and the Never Land Pirates, which is based on Peter Pan. Madison voices Izzy, the only girl pirate of the crew. “I love doing voiceover,” she says. “It takes an hour or two, once a week to do a couple episodes. I can go into the booth and not do hair and make-up but still perform.” And while Madison never appears on film for the cartoon


show, voice acting still requires her to use her body as well. “You have to use your whole body when you’re doing voiceover,” she says. “You can tell a difference if someone is just standing there and saying their lines or if they’re like, ‘Yo ho!’ and chucking their arms.” Madison is also a model and brand ambassador for shoe brand Pastry. She attended the Pastry Fashion Show in Las Vegas in August to help launch the new campaign. “We’re just talking about promoting a girl’s self image in a positive way … I mean, it’s just such an awesome brand, the shoes are awesome too, but everything we stand for is also by women, for women, and I think that’s really incredible.” Along with promoting the brand, Madison embraces playing role model to young fans. “I looked up to the Cheetah Girls, and they were all about being good friends, following your dreams and all that,” she says. “I think people definitely look up to TV and movie stars so I try hard to be a good role model for people. Respecting yourself, loving yourself and having the confidence to be yourself and not try to copy anyone, to be the original you — those are

things I really try hard to do for girls to look up to.” Madison says her mother is her most important role model. “I’m lucky that my mom has always been the most supportive person I could ever ask for,” she says. “She is my stylist, acting coach and everything that I need her to be, whenever.” Madison remembers her mother being wary of signing Madison with an agency initially. “She was like, ‘Is this a scam? I want to make sure it’s all legitimate,’” Madison says. “She had no experience in the field whatsoever, but she was like, ‘Well, if you’re passionate about it and you love doing it, then let’s see how we can make it happen.’” Eight years after securing her role on Cory in the House and The Game Plan, Madison has grown as an actress, and so have her tastes in television. She says she’s ready to star in TV shows geared towards a slightly older audience. “I would love to be on a TV show like Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl — those are the kind of things I watch.” she says. “I’ve been really lucky to have a balance of film and TV because I really do love both … other than that, I’m really open to whatever comes my way. I love taking up new challenges.” NKDMAG.COM

23


JILLIAN ROSE REED Words by ISAAC BATE Photos by CATHERINE POWELL Hair by CARLOS JACOME Make Up by CHRISTINE LACEY Styled by AUDREY BRIANNE Dress by SAUNDER Top & Shorts by HARLYN Bag by ME CHAR Shoes by DR. MARTEN’S it’s the morning after the mtv video Music Awards in New York City. Perched in a hotel room high above the sweltering agony that is Ninth Avenue in August, a slightly tired-looking Jillian Rose Reed is cheerfully recounting the highlights of her evening, which she attended with the rest of the cast of MTV’s Awkward. Unlike much of the often tightly laced world of teen shows and their actors, Jillian is at ease with her tendency toward irreverence. She’s a self-confessed huge Miley Cyrus fan, and the subject of the previous evening’s controversial performance inevitably arises. “Last night, she murdered Hannah Montana on stage,” Jillian says, in a tone that’s somewhere between glee and admiration. Her personal VMA highlight was a close encounter with superstardom. “I was on the red carpet doing some interviews, and I heard the crowd go wild,” she says. “Of course when you hear that you wonder who it is. And I turn around and I just see this woman in a cheetah print dress

24


NKDMAG.COM

25


with a long black ponytail and I go, ‘If that’s not Katy Perry I have no idea who it could be.’ And then she turns around and she was just flawless, and I started crying a little bit because I really love her.” There’s not an ounce of self-consciousness in her voice as she recounts that star-struck moment. “I never expect that I’m going to fan girl that hard and then it happens,” she says. “I cried more for ‘N Sync though.” Despite her reaction to Katy Perry, Jillian is no industry rookie. She has spent the last three years playing Tamara on the MTV show Awkward., which was recently renewed for a fourth season. Jillian is not a child of Los Angeles though, she originally hails from a small suburb of Detroit. She fell in love with musical theater at an early age, and began to act professionally at around 12. “I started doing local [work]. Detroit, Chicago, voiceover, commercial, and I just really fell in love with TV and film, and wanted to learn more about it,” she says. 26

Jillian did what so many teenagers have done before her, and begged her parents to let her move to L.A. The difference was that in her case, they actually agreed. “I feel really lucky because I know a lot of people who would love to do what I do,” she says. “Just their family maybe doesn’t support them, and my family was all for it. They knew that I loved it. Some people say, ‘Oh it’s so crazy that your parents moved out to L.A.,’ and I say ‘Well, it’s just the same way your parents drive you to all your soccer games. We just went a little further.’” Though she returned to Michigan briefly for a couple of high school semesters, Jillian has been an L.A. transplant ever since. “My whole family kind of went back and forth,” she says. “I would go out with my mom for a little bit, then she would come back then my grandparents would come out with me and everyone was super supportive of me.” It was a complicated process, but one that has been more than vindicated by her success as an actress. When she auditioned for Awkward., she had no sense of how popular it would ultimately become.


jillian rose reed | nkd magazine

“I FEEL REALLY LUCKY BECAUSE I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD LOVE TO DO WHAT I DO.” JILLIAN ROSE REED

“It was pretty underground,” she says. “We had no idea. It was one of the first shows on MTV that was scripted so we were launching this whole new program and we didn’t know what was going to happen.” It didn’t take long for the show to pick up steam. “No one really knew about it for the first season then it just blew up and it was crazy,” she says. Her character, Tamara, (best friend of the central character, Jenna, who is played by Ashley Rickards), has grown steadily in popularity since the show’s inception. A lot of that growth is due to Jillian’s energy and charisma in the role. “When I auditioned, I think all of the parts were possible regular parts, so nobody really knew how the characters were going to be developed,” she says. “I think that because of Tamara’s sassy characteristics and funny lingo fans just really took to it.” Jillian has put a lot of herself into Tamara, but she’s hesitant to acknowledge much more than an appreciation for the character and some superficial shared characteristics. “There are some similarities, NKDMAG.COM

27


“I REALLY LOVE TV, BUT I’D DEFINITELY LOVE TO EXPLORE MOVIES IF THE RIGHT ONE CAME ALONG.” JILLIAN ROSE REED

28

some differences,” she says. “If you ask my close friends they’ll say we are nothing alike. I think that my heart is in Tamara. We both talk super fast, and I guess I’m sassy, so that’s similar. I maybe don’t say quite as crazy dirty things as she does,” she says with a laugh. “She’s pretty out there. I love her. I’ve been her for three years now so she’s a good part of me.” Jillian says the cast has as much fun with each other off set as they do on screen. “I hope it goes for 10 seasons,” she says. “[We] are all really close so we see each other all the time.” Though she loves TV and working on Awkward., Jillian’s been busy with other projects. She recently filmed a movie entitled Confessions of a Womanizer, directed by Miguel Ali and starring Andy Lawrence and Gary Busey, to be released in 2014. “It’s just a really, kind of raunchy comedy about this guy who is a total womanizer who wants to find love,” she says. “I play the first of three serious girlfriends, so it was the fun girl next door part. But I’m a big fan of romantic comedies and this is basically a dirty romantic comedy so I loved it.”


jillian rose reed | nkd magazine *

It’s an exciting role for her, and a great stepping-stone for someone keen to explore film. “I’m really proud of this one, because it’s the direction that I want to be taking, if I’m going to be doing film,” she says. “I really love TV, but I’d definitely love to explore movies if the right ones came along.” Jillian also has a strong personal connection with the L.A. chapter of the American Diabetes Association, and she spends time working with them because her older brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 18. “They just really helped our whole family out learning about diabetes and how to help my brother along, so we just felt we needed to give back,” Jillian says. The charity is important not just to Jillian, but to the several million Americans affected by the disease, and their families. “It’s all about the treatment of diabetes, finding a cure obviously,” she says, “But also preventing it and educating people on the disease and knowing that you can prevent it and really trying to promote a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating, staying active, all that kind of thing.” One event that the charity runs in different cities are Step Out walks, to

raise funds and awareness. “It’s really fun going to the walks, because you’re with a group of people who are affected by this disease and you can just talk to them and reach out to them and they are all so warm.” Right now though, Jillian has a little time off before Awkward. needs her back. “We’ll be filming season four probably next year, so I’ll be looking for other projects, and just enjoying my time off,” she says. “I would love to do some sitcom stuff … on my hiatus,” she says. “I’m really open, I just love working.” And if that doesn’t come to fruition, Jillian already has an idea worked out. “I’ve been cooking for friends and they’ve been really supportive. They even eat things when they’re gross,” she says, laughing. “I tried to make a portabella mushroom burger. I’m not exactly sure how you’re supposed to cook mushrooms, so I just sort of winged it and it wasn’t that bad. I did put a lot of guacamole on it. It was basically just a lot of guacamole. So I’m going to open a restaurant now, I think. Serving only that.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

29


WRITE-IN | NICK SANTINO e

T

he last year has been an interesting one. I released a record with my band A Rocket To The Moon and then two months later we were calling it quits. Four guys, best friends, making music together and then being forgotten about by a label that was once backing us. Calling it quits felt like the best move for us at that point in our career. It was a very bittersweet thing. Half of me was sad to see it all end, but the other half was happy for the future. I’ve always written music. I started Rocket in my bedroom by myself and now here I am six and a half years later in that same exact room, staring at the same exact wall. But this time I’m older. I’ve been around the world. I’ve been through some shit that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I’ve lost love ones and gained a few new ones. I’ve let certain places and people get the best of me. I lost myself for a minute. Spent months thinking, “Who the fuck are you, Nick Santino?” Made some bad calls, made some great ones. All in all, it takes situations like the last six years to really make someone step back and see the big picture. We are all here to tell a story and everyone’s story will be different. I’m 25 years old. Some think it’s young, some think it’s old. I think it’s halfway to 50 and that scares the shit out of me, but hey, I got a story to tell. So with all of that depressing stuff being said and out of the way, onto the song writing. When I first started Rocket I would write a song a day and record it that evening. Sure, six years ago I was using a Gateway laptop, some downloaded software and an auto-tune rack, sounding like an emo T-Pain, but I was still writing those fucking songs. When Rocket took off (no pun intended) it felt like all of that took a back seat. Everything was on a schedule and song writing, the main reason I was doing what I was doing, only happened once a year, sometimes once every two years. Don’t forget, we put out two full length records over the course of five years while everyone around us was on their third and fourth.

“I’M 25 YEARS OLD. SOME THINK IT’S YOUNG, SOME THINK IT’S OLD.”

I felt pathetic, but I’m not pointing any fingers here. Now I am back to this very same room but with an actual idea of what I want to do make. The music I am writing now is exactly what I’ve looked for. The best part about it is I can’t really figure out what it sounds like. I write from my heart. I am so happy to say that I am back to writing a song a day. I’ve been home from tour for roughly a month and I’ve already written and recorded a new EP that I am releasing on Oct. 22 of this year. The songs on this are some of the most honest and painful songs I’ve ever written in my entire life. That’s something that I feel like didn’’t happen before. The songs we wrote in Rocket weren’t all real life stories, which isn’t a bad thing at all. But these ones, these ones are real. I like to think that these songs wrote themselves. There are songs on this EP that I sat in my room for 30 minutes and left feeling different, like I finally lifted a weight that was sitting on my shoulders for years. The thing is, I don’t care if people hate my music. I don’t care if some of the songs suck. I created them. They didn’t exist before and I took everything in me to create these pieces of music, and I am damn proud of all of them. NKD

30


THE PLAYLIST Will Anderson of Parachute takes us through his current top tracks.

1

2

3

TRACKS 1. “ORDINARY GIRL” - BEN RECTOR

4

5

2. “GET TO YOU” - MATT WERTZ 3. “WILDFIRE” - JOHN MAYER

4. “FROM NOWHERE” - DAN CROLL

5. “TREASURE” - BRUNO MARS

6

7

6. “YOU AND I” - PAPER ROUTE

7. “EVEN IF IT BREAKS YOUR HEART” - ELI YOUNG BAND

8. “GETTIN’ JIGGY WIT IT” - WILL SMITH

9. “NEW YORK” - U2

8

9

10

10. “WILDFLOWERS” - TOM PETTY

31


THE NEW CLASSIC Words by ALEX LANE Photos by CATHERINE POWELL if you ask the guys of alt-rock band the new classic what they sound like, they might say their music is “a cross between Fergie and Jesus.” Though they’re joking — they’re far from Fergalicious and they’re not turning water into wine — they have found something uniquely their own. The New Classic are a relatively new development — the band formed in March of this year. Vocalist Matt Graham and guitarist Alfonzo (“Fonz”) Montiel, who are both 21, met in high school in Arizona. “I sort of serenaded [Fonz] at lunch one day with an acoustic guitar and ever since then, he and I have been pretty much buddies,” Matt says. Pretty much buddies, but not always band mates. It wasn’t until the idea of The New Classic came around last year that the guys decided to join forces. Before their current members were all on board, Matt and Fonz took it upon themselves to get the band on its feet. They started by preparing three demo songs, following a popular alt-rock tour and doing face-to-face promotion. “We followed the Spring Fever tour [All Time Low, Mayday Parade] and did a whole bunch of promotion work,” Matt says. “We would go through the lines doing promotional stuff, and then at night when everyone got out, we would be playing acoustic outside.” Fonz remembers that it was passion, not so much confidence, that got them to where they are. “The first day we went out there I was like, ‘Oh dude, nobody’s going to like it,’ and [Matt] was like, ‘Nah dude, go in positive,’ and I was like, ‘Alright.’” With a positive attitude and their original songs, the guys found their stride. “The first night we played, there were — it’s going to sound insane — but there were just so many people crowding around,” Fonz says. “I was just like, ‘Really? This is way too crazy.’” The feedback they received was positive enough that Matt and Fonz felt confident about taking the next step, and they began looking for the rest of their band. Matt found Jim Borquez, a 26-year-old guitarist from Arizona, on Facebook. Through Jim, they found 28-year-old Vic Chan, a drummer 32

whose alt-rock group My Girl Friday had broken up. Before long, they were rehearsing, writing and developing a sound. All of the guys have different tastes in music, but they all like bands like The Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World. “[We] have a good time and jam out,” Matt says. “Just an upbeat, fun, rock band.” Their energy and enthusiasm attracted the attention of Vic’s friend Andy Bell of Anchor Management. “We talked to [Andy] and he was talking about what he can do for us and all that,” Matt says. “And instantly we liked where his head was going.” “Basically, when we got with Andy, it was like we were speed dating, and we really liked where it was going,” Fonz adds. “We were like, ‘Here, you can have my number. Take me out for a drink some time.’ And its been going well ever since.” The guys feel like they have gotten much further with


the new classic | nkd magazine *

Andy’s help than they could have on their own, with everything from promotion, to recording. Between March and August, The New Classic went from an idea to a band, and in the process they’ve been able to write and record their music. Through Andy, the guys were able to work with Cody Payne from Maryland-based band The Dangerous Summer. “About the middle of July, Cody Payne from The Dangerous Summer came out to Tuscon [Ariz.] and worked with us,” Matt says. “Worked us hard for like a week. Just like, picking apart and rewriting every song. It’s just nice to have that extra ear, outside of the group. Especially somebody like Cody.” Matt says that when Cody met with the guys, he was surprised at how put together a lot of the songs already were. Their initial song writing process, which they all agree can be sort of chaotic, starts with a concept. “Most of the time

someone comes with an idea and then the rest of us just hammering it out until we are happy with it,” Matt says. Working with Cody prepared them for the recording process with Paul Leavitt at Valencia Recording Studio in Baltimore. Paul is responsible for punk/alt-rock albums like All Time Low’s So Wrong It’s Right (2007) and The Dangerous Summer’s Reach For The Sun (2009). Once they finish recording, the guys plan to release the record and try to get on the road quickly. “We definitely want to release it pretty soon,” Matt says. “We aren’t exactly sure when. There’s been some talk about some tours. We’ve been throwing around some ideas. We want to get at least one run in, before the end of this year.” For now, they’re focused on the album. “First and foremost, for everybody, is just making the best sounding record that we possibly can,” Fonz says. NKD NKDMAG.COM

33


34

THE DANGEROUS SUMMER


NKDMAG.COM

35


36


the dangerous summer | nkd magazine *

Words & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

the words “arrogant” and “cocky” get thrown around a lot in the music world, and The Dangerous Summer are no strangers to those adjectives. In the seven years they’ve been a band they have never once taken shit from anybody, and they’re not afraid to talk shit either. But they’re not trying to be assholes — they just know they make good music. And that’s been true since they signed a deal with Hopeless Records straight out of high school. As they’ve entered their mid-20s, they’ve learned to let their music speak for itself, and their new record Golden Record (2013) speaks loudly. But as they’ve matured one thing hasn’t changed: they’re still just as confident as any high school kid with a record deal should be. “I think we seem more confident than we are,” Cody Panye, the band’s longtime guitarist, admits. “As people, we’re not that confident. But we’re confident in [our music.]” They were just as nervous to release Golden Record as they’ve been with every record, but it came down to one thing: they knew it was better. “I think the other two records (Reach For The Sun, 2009 and War Paint, 2011) suck compared to this one,” vocalist AJ Perdomo says. Golden Record is an important milestone for The Dangerous Summer. It’s their third full-length, and the guys feels like they’ve thrust themselves deep enough into the music scene that people will remember them in 10 years, even if they broke up tomorrow. “We’ve made ourselves part of the history of what’s going on in music right now,” AJ says. He notes that they could follow the path many of the bands before them did: gain enough momentum, break up and come back as a big deal in 10 years. “We’d rather choose the

‘just keep going’ path,” AJ says. They attribute a lot their success so far to Hopeless Records. Recently, the indie label signed veteran rock bands Taking Back Sunday and Bayside, who are now among the already established bands on their roster, such as Yellowcard and The Used. “I think it’s going to be the next big label,” AJ says. “We’ve been with them forever so we’re in a very lucky spot right now.” As much as they realize that now, there was a moment where they weren’t so sure if Hopeless was going to be the label releasing Golden Record. Before they stepped into the studio, Hopeless approached the band about resigning their then-finished contract. The Dangerous Summer turned them down, hoping a major label would pick them up. “We weren’t ready for that though,” AJ says. After weeks of negotiating, they decided to sign a brand new contract with Hopeless. “We’ve been a band for seven years and we feel like we’ve paid our dues,” Cody says. “We felt we deserved a better deal than the one we made when we were 17.” “We’re at the age where we need to be making money doing this, or we can’t do this,” AJ adds. Now more than ever, The Dangerous Summer are pushing for mainstream. “We want to be like Kings Of Leon,” AJ says. “We want to be an arena rock band.” He adds that the band really does love playing the clubs they play, but like all bands, they’re pushing themselves to be bigger. That’s always been the case with them, but with Golden Record they finally feel like they’re making strides toward their dreams. They’re currently out on their first headlining tour supporting the new record. “This tour specifically has been an eye-opener,” Cody says.

NKDMAG.COM

37


“We’ve just been overwhelmed by how many people are showing up.” “It makes me nervous!” AJ adds, laughing. Tonight, they’re on track to sell out Highline Ballrom in New York City. It’s a 700-capacity room, making this the biggest show on tour. The larger crowd size adds pressure — there are more people to mess up in front of. “We’ve finally found the spot between drunk and sober!” AJ jokes. But he’s only half-kidding. He’s been making more of an effort to take care of his voice, because every night he’s worried he’s not going to be able to finish the set. Sixteen songs is a lot to sing ever night. “The adrenaline kicks in though,” he says. And though he’s always nervous before he goes on stage, more people in the crowd make it worse. “I don’t want this to come out wrong,” AJ says, “but we mean more to them, than they do to us at some points.” It comes down to expectations. A fan of The Dangerous Summer knows what AJ is supposed to look like, how he’s supposed to sound and what he’s supposed to do when he’s onstage. If he does something wrong, they will all notice. So they’re trying extra hard to put on a good show. It has a lot to do with the new songs, too. The songs off Golden Record are more high energy than their older catalog, which makes playing the same ones every night more fun than ever before. To a listener, the new songs have a distinct sound, and though the band themselves acknowledge that, they admit there was no difference when it came to writing them. “We’ve always kept our influences in the back of our

38

heads,” Cody says. But they never try to sound just like those influences, or like anything really. “We just try to write shit that sounds cool,” AJ says. But as much as the band matures, some things simply don’t change. “A lot of people say all our songs sound the same, but like, I have the same voice, Cody has the same way of playing guitar, it’s going to always sound like The Dangerous Summer,” AJ says. It’s with that knowledge that they try to push themselves, but not too far. They’ve chosen to grow but not abandon their roots. “As we get older we get closer and closer to what we want to sound like,” Cody says. “We’ve gained new influences that affect what we sound like.” The growth comes naturally to the group, which has a solid chemistry, even with their newer members, Ben Cato (drums) and Matt Kennedy (guitar). The Dangerous Summer are at an important point in their career: they’re three records deep with a solid fan base behind them and they’re on the verge of taking the next big step toward greater success. They have a choice of playing it safe and writing another record just like Golden Record when the time comes, or doing what they’ve always done and take a risk with something a little different. But they’re not worried about that right now — they’ve still got at least another year to see where Golden Record takes them. “Every single time we write a record we try to reinvent ourselves,” AJ says. “I think we really did it with this one.” NKD


the dangerous summer | nkd magazine *

NKDMAG.COM

39


METRO STATION

Words by SHINA PATEL Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

40


metro station | nkd magazine *

mason musso lucked out in 2006 when he and his pop-rock band Metro Station landed a contract with Columbia Records. But a lot has changed since 2006. In 2009, keyboardist Blake Healy decided he didn’t want to be in the band anymore — he wanted a family. “[A] little turmoil started happening with some of the other members. But stuff like that happens in bands all the time,” Mason says of the time after Blake left. “So now I’m just rocking it.” Before starting Metro Station — his first band — at age 17, Mason was an average kid from Dallas. He started playing the guitar when he was 13, and he mostly performed at his church. Mason became serious about music at 16 when his parents bought him the home recording software, GarageBand. That same year, his family moved to California because his parents wanted him and his siblings to become actors. “I missed my friends, but then you make new friends,” Mason says. “Now Los Angeles is my second home. I still go back to Dallas when I can.” Two years after they signed their record deal, Metro Station released the hit single “Shake It.” Shortly after their “Shake It” success, the band broke up. In 2009, Mason took some time off. Then in March 2011, rather unexpectedly, he released the single “Ain’t So High,” and announced he would perform under the name Metro Station as a solo project. Despite performing under his old alias, Mason does not want to fall back into his old bad habits. “I used to party way too much and do way too many bad things,” he says. “I started not remembering lyrics and my voice was going. It had to stop.” Mason released his new EP, Middle Of The Night, on Aug. 20. There’s a trace of original Metro Station party music on the album, but Mason draws more inspiration from love and loss

in his new songs. Mason says the one sad song on the EP, “I Don’t Know You,” is about growing up. “As you get older you just get darker,” he says. Mason says lots of old Metro Station fans have stuck with him over the years, and they’ve been supportive of the new album. “The reaction has been fantastic. I feel very blessed,” he says. Not only has his music changed in sound, but his live shows have changed too. “Totally different, insane visuals,” Mason says. Trip Watt, who directs Metro Station’s videos, sets up the visual displays for Mason’s live shows. “I’ve always wanted to incorporate an electronic, visual element. It’s a trip. Hopefully people don’t get seizures,” he says. When Mason recorded Middle Of The Night, it was the first time he went into the studio without the whole band backing him up. Yet for him, recording solo didn’t feel dramatically different. “It still doesn’t feel like I’m totally alone,” Mason says. He has stayed close with Blake and former drummer Anthony Improgo. Blake even co-wrote the single “Every Time I Touch You.” Mason is also involved with a variety of projects other than Metro Station. He is featured as a singer on DJ Connor Cruise’s new single, “Closer to Heaven,” and he’s been working with his good friend and producer DJ Poet as well. Mason says he and Connor might play some shows together in the future. “I love electronic dance music,” Mason says. “It’s really incredible to watch some of these guys. These guys aren’t just pushing play.” No matter who he plays with, Mason doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. “I just wanted to give the fans a second record,” he says. “My intention with Metro Station was never to stop it. It’s my baby. This is just a continuation.” NKD

NKDMAG.COM

41


WE THE KINGS Words by STEPHANIE PETIT Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

when singer and guitarist travis clark and his friends decided to start a band in middle school so they could “get girlfriends,” as he says, they had no idea what they were setting themselves up for. The alternative pop-rock band We The Kings have since put out three records, had several Top 40 singles and have toured around the world. The group, which has been active since the early 2000s, started as a cover band playing songs by their favorite bands including Blink 182, Green Day and Jimmy Eat World. Their original songs didn’t go over well with their peers until Travis penned a song called “Hey Coach” in high school, about hooking up with his teacher and varsity soccer coach’s wife. “It never happened and was just a joking song cause we were huge Blink 182 fans,” Travis says. “Everybody in school loved it because he was a teacher and he had heard about the song I had written about hooking up with his wife. That’s when people started really liking our band.” In 2007 We The Kings released their self-titled first record and kick-started their career. Their single “Check Yes Juliet” from the album received lots of play from radio stations and was certified platinum. Travis says 2008 and 2009 were incredibly busy — the band played over 350 shows in each of those years. “We had days where we played three or four shows a day,” Travis says. “It was wild. It was so busy and so chaotic at all times, but it was fun. It was a cool moment of our career because it was just non-stop.” He says the band would do things like play a morning radio show at 6 a.m., make it for the end of another radio show in another part of the state, fly to another state to do an afternoon show and then one at night in a different city. The NKDMAG.COM

43


days were hectic, but Travis says although it was exhausting, by the end of the day they couldn’t believe all they had done. “It was wild to think what we had actually done that day,” Travis says. “When you’re physically in it, it’s so exhausting and you just want to kill yourself, but it’s the outcome that really makes you feel satisfied for doing all the hard work.” Travis has experienced the downside to being busy all the time. He says although the band tries their best to keep in touch with their friends, family and loved ones, it’s hard out on the road. For example, he says he hasn’t talked to his parents in about a week and a half — he’s only had time to shoot them short texts to check in. “Our true friends, our true family, if you are a member who has a girlfriend or a wife, those people know how busy you are and understand it,” Travis says. “They get it and understand it’s for something better and for something bigger. They settle with it, a little bit, and realize it’s not like he’s out partying or just ignoring phone calls or text messages or emails, he is working.” On top of the enormous amount of touring, the band also recorded their second album in 2009 and life has not slowed down since. We The Kings spent the summer headlining a U.S. tour and recording an album due out by the end of this year. To give fans a taste of the record, they’ve been releasing new songs every month. In April they released their first song called “Just Keep Breathing” on iTunes, which sold over 100,000 copies in the first week. In May they released “Find You There” and in June released “Any Other Way,” a song written for the Iron Man 3 soundtrack. “We have 10 or 11 songs that are done that just need a couple minor tweaks and I know that we want to write three or four or five more just depending on how the flow goes,” Travis says. “Right after this tour, we’re going back in the studio to really finish everything up. It’s one of those things I really would love to show everybody now. I’m so anxious that we’re sitting on these songs that we can’t show anybody yet because we want to put out the record.” They are putting out the fourth album without a label, which Travis says is freeing. He is glad they can release songs whenever they want to and do not have to follow the strict schedule labels often set. “[Labels] have all these rules and regulations and they work, that’s why they’re there, but if we wanted to say, ‘Hey, would you guys want to hear a new song next week on Friday?’ I can’t do that,” Travis says. “I can finish this interview and go release a song if it were ready and have it uploaded in two hours without anybody yelling at me for doing it.” Travis says much of the new record is based off the many fans the band has been met over the years. “It’s really nice to hear what they have to say about our music and how our

44


we the kings | nkd magazine *

NKDMAG.COM

45


46


we the kings | nkd magazine *

music has affected them,” he says. “I feel like I started writing songs to impact people, whether it was to make them laugh or to make them smile or to make them feel better about themselves.” Travis knows the impact a song can have during the toughest times in someone’s life. He tried to write songs for this record that were about getting through the hard times, including things he went through as a kid, like being bullied. Travis says he has had fans tell him a song of his saved their life and helped them get through something difficult. “That’s probably the best compliment you could receive,” Travis says. “That hard work and that effort, the blood, sweat and tears that you put into the song actually paid off without a single dollar. It paid off in the sense that you helped somebody breathe. You helped somebody live another day.” Fans of the band’s more upbeat songs need not worry, though. Travis promises there will be fun pop songs on the album as well. “We wanted to do that because we’re kind of writing songs for an ADD generation,” Travis says. “They don’t want to sit there and listen to a 12-song CD where every song is the same. We tried to make it sound almost like you’re at Warped Tour listening to different bands. The songs sound different from each other and they’re really fun to listen to because it feels like you’re experiencing something versus just track, track, track.” Although the band has accomplished so much, Travis says there are still things he wants to do. He says there are

countries they haven’t been to that he would love to experience and play for. One thing that they’ve always talked about doing is a tour DVD. “One of the things I loved before YouTube and Twitter and Instagram was all these bands would come out with tour DVDs and that’s how you knew how they lived,” Travis says. “You couldn’t keep up with them daily but at the end of the tour they would release this DVD and it was so cool and so funny to watch. I would love to do that.” Until then, fans can keep up with the band through their strong social media presence, especially on YouTube thanks to bassist Charles Trippy, who has a big following and films the band on a daily basis. Like many musicians who spend so much time on the road, Travis tries to find the balance between his personal life and career. He says you can tell when a musician is struggling with personal issues because it shows when they play. However, he believes performing on stage is his release. “However long you get on stage just to play music, that makes you feel all these different emotions that you’ve felt over the years,” Travis says. “For us at least, that’s definitely how it is. When we get on stage, it’s like there’s not a care or worry in the entire world. We are finally, in every sense of the word, home when we’re on stage.” NKD

NKDMAG.COM

47


DINNER AND A SUIT Words by ASHLEIGH D’MELLO & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

It’s all in the family for Nashville-based rockers, Dinner and a Suit. Well, almost. “Three of us are cousins. We had grown up in different states and always known we wanted to play music together,” says vocalist Jonathan Capeci. To solve the distance issue, Jonathan and guitarist Joey Beretta intentionally went to the same college, became roommates and started a band during their freshman year. After a period of writing and recording in their dorm room, they abandoned the project. Six months later they began writing songs again, and decided they wanted to try it more seriously. The pair showed their other cousin in Arizona, Anthony Genca, what they had produced, hoping he would jump on board as bassist. “We had four weeks to basically convince him,” Jonathan says. “We would hang out with him and nag him about it. He finally said yes.” The trio met their permanent drummer, Drew Scheuer, about a year ago. The boys of Dinner and a Suit have done well to turn their humble, YouTube beginnings into nationwide tours with bands like Imagine Dragons and Lawson, and an EP, Too Late (2013). Their first YouTube videos — featuring the band covering a few favorite songs — received a warm reception. “We started doing covers of songs we liked, we were getting hits and people subscribed,” Jonathan says. “[YouTube is] a good tool to visually present yourself and have content out there that people can enjoy.” Since becoming a four piece, Dinner and a Suit have been busily touring, writing and recording. They recorded songs in December and January, and went out on tour in February, where they’ve remained for most of the year. Touring can be tough, but Dinner and a Suit are learning to embrace the road. “I personally love it, I get really antsy when I’m anywhere for a while,” Drew says. Joey has grown to love touring as well. “I love the travel and the kids who love our music,” he says.” Every night is with your best friends. It’s tough, but it’s what we love to do. Being on the road is, like, our thing.” The guys find it difficult to define the genre their music fits into. “We have toured with a wide variety [of bands] whether it’s indie, or more pop. At this point in our career, it’s about getting in front of as many people as possible,” Drew says. Dinner and a Suit’s schedule from now through the end of 2013 is jam-packed with touring, video releases and of course, writing. “We’ll be busy,” Jonathan says. “We want this to be our career and we want to continue to do this for as long as we possibly can. We feel like this is something in our blood and that it’s what we were born to do.” NKD

48


NKDMAG.COM

49


MACKLEMORE Sept. 1, Made In America Festival (Philadelphia)


FALL OUT BOY Sept. 7, Barclays Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.)


BLINK 182 Sept.11, Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, N.Y.)


AnnaSophia Robb.


When actress AnnaSophia Robb was four years old, she told her mom she wanted to act.

H

er mom brushed off her daughter’s request with, “Ok, alright, I hear you.” At age eight, she pestered her mom again. Today, at 19, the star of The CW’s The Carrie Diaries is learning to juggle an acting career and a new city, all while getting over her fear of turning 20. I meet AnnaSophia in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We sit in a back corner of the Verb Cafe, a small eatery where the walls are painted shades of red, orange and brown. The setting is warm, much like this August morning and AnnaSophia’s personality. Her outfit is summery — she’s wearing a short white dress with multicolored flowers, nude flats and a thin golden bracelet on her right wrist. When she sits down, she takes her sunglasses off and places them at the top of her head. AnnaSophia makes herself comfortable at the table before she starts talking about her most recent adventure. Last night, she and her lawyer went to a magic show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Her blue eyes widen as she explains her reaction to magician Steve Cohen pulling a brick out of a hat. “That was one of his easy tricks too!” she says. “How in the world do you even do 58

that?” After the magic show last night, AnnaSophia has a much-needed day off from shooting the second season of The Carrie Diaries, which has been filming since July. AnnaSophia was born and raised in Denver, and she began taking acting classes when she was young. When she was eight, her acting school prepared a showcase, and she spent three hours a week practicing various acting exercises and monologues for three months. An agent and manager came to scout new talent at the showcase, and it was then that she was invited out to Los Angeles. For another three months, AnnaSophia and her mother made Studio City, Calif. their temporary home during pilot season. “I went and did all these auditions and I remember the first thing I filmed was a McDonald’s commercial,” she says. AnnaSophia headed home and back to school after pilot season. Though she continued to bounce back and forth between California and Colorado, her family didn’t consider moving to L.A. right away. “There weren’t many filming jobs in L.A.,” she says, mentioning how her 2005 film, Because of Winn-Dixie, was filmed in Louisiana, and Soul Surfer (2011) was filmed in Hawaii. “There

wasn’t really a need to move.” Most importantly, AnnaSophia wanted to stay in school. When she started high school after having done several films and TV appearances, her teachers were supportive of her career. When she filmed Race to Witch Mountain (2009) with Dwayne Johnson and Alexander Ludwig during her sophomore year, her school arranged for her to do all of work on set. “I love school and wanted to stay in school,” she says. “I would always question if a project was worth leaving for. A lot of the times, it wasn’t. A lot of the times, it was.” When the script for The Carrie Diaries came to AnnaSophia’s attention, she didn’t envision herself on a television show. She was a high school senior set on going to college. After she finished applying, she came across the script again. “There’s usually a reason why doors open twice,” AnnaSophia says. “You might as well walk through it.” She deferred her college acceptances and signed a contract before flying out to L.A. AnnaSophia says decisions like that can make working in entertainment industry a little stressful. Without much control of her schedule, it can be tough to plan vacations and classes, or


NKDMAG.COM

59


“There’s usually a reason why doors open twice. You might as well walk through it.”

AnnaSophia Robb

60


NKDMAG.COM

61


even decide where to live. What AnnaSophia can control, though, is how much of herself she puts into her work. “I try not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself,” she says. AnnaSophia plays Carrie Bradshaw, the show’s title character. The show is based on novels written by Candace Bushnell, and it’s the prequel to HBO’s hit series Sex and the City. The series, which premiered early this year, is set in 1984, during Carrie’s junior year of high school. Carrie is an inquisitive writer who’s constantly trying to figure out her future and what decisions she should make. She often has more questions than answers. “Every girl can relate to Carrie in some way,” AnnaSophia says. Though writer in Carrie constantly questions things, AnnaSophia says she’s more of an observer. “I tend to just watch people,” she says. “I may not be asking questions, but I learn from their behavior.” Sarah Jessica Parker famously played Carrie first, but AnnaSophia wasn’t too concerned about playing a younger version of Parker’s role. Under the guidance of producer and developer Amy B. Harris — who had also written for, and helped produce Sex and the City — AnnaSophia felt safe, and a little nervous sometimes. “I watch Sex and the City for character study but we’re not trying to imitate the show at all,” she says. For a while, the cast was unsure whether The Carrie Diaries would be picked up for a second season. AnnaSophia’s backup plan was to start her college career at Stanford University, but she wasn’t worried at all. “It usually just ends up working out one way or another,” she says. “If it didn’t get picked up, I knew it wasn’t meant to be.” AnnaSophia says she had feeling the show would be renewed because fans wanted to know what would happen next. “People were curious, and now they just have to wait and see,” she says of the second season. AnnaSophia says it did not take long for her and her cast mates to fall into a “groove” when they started filming again in July. “We’re a little bit more goofy together,” AnnaSophia says, comparing their season two chemistry to the first season of filming. “Our bond feels really special,” she says. With the exception of Brendan Dooling, who plays Carrie’s friend Walt Reynolds, AnnaSophia’s cast mates are from out of town. Her other cast mates, Austin Butler (Sebastian Kydd),

62


“I”m not a big rager or party person. Can you tell?” AnnaSophia Robb

NKDMAG.COM

63


Stefania Owen (Dorrit Bradshaw), Ellen Wong (Jill “Mouse” Chen) and Katie Findlay (Maggie Landers) bonded over common ground — being away from home. AnnaSophia has moved five or six times during her career. She currently lives in Brooklyn so she can film, and she can’t imagine living somewhere else. “I never thought of myself as a New Yorker, but now I never want to live anywhere else,” she says. AnnaSophia’s mother lives in Los Angeles and her father lives in Denver, and she’s excited to be living on her own for the first time. Once she moved in, she wasted no time getting to know the new area or finding her way around. “I found my local coffee shop and grocery store,” she says. “And you know you’re properly settled in when you can make your way around the grocery store.” Since AnnaSophia’s season one schedule involved more work than play, she’s working on her social life. In her free time, she enjoys strolling around

with her friends, going to the movies and finding cool places to eat. Earlier this morning, she rode her bike through Prospect Park and took in the fresh air. “I’m not a big rager or party person,” she says, smirking before she slouches in her seat. “Can you tell?” Being dedicated to a television show makes it difficult for AnnaSophia to work on other projects or finding time for herself. “I feel like I should be doing a million other things,” AnnaSophia says. “But sometimes I don’t even get the time to.” She has, however, managed to work on two projects during filming, including the film The Way, Way Back, which was released at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January, and nationwide in July. She stars in the comedy-drama alongside Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Liam James. Her other project, Khumba, is an animated adventure comedy, in which AnnaSophia provides the voice for zebra named Tombi. Khumba is set to be released later this month. AnnaSophia is turning 20 on Dec. 8.

She has a few more months to cherish being 19, but she’s already freaking out. “Once you turn 20, what do you do?” she asks, throwing her hands in the air. “When I was eight, I thought I’d have a serious boyfriend at 20 then be married with kids at 23.” AnnaSophia is already trying to find the proper balance between having fun and having her life together. “At 20, you’ve got 10 years to have the best time of your life,” she says. She groans and buries her face in her hands. “I don’t know what to do.” AnnaSophia is enjoying her day off so far. She’s eager to head back to work tomorrow, but she wants to find a pair of cute shoes first. We leave the Verb Cafe and walk onto Bedford Avenue, and AnnaSophia knows exactly where she’s headed. She makes a left on North 6th Street, and takes us to Shoe Market, a popular shoe boutique. “Sometimes you’ve just gotta work really hard,” she tells me, picking up a pair of flats on the front display. “But other times, you just gotta chill and buy some shoes.” NKD NKDMAG.COM

65


66

CIMORELLI


NKDMAG.COM

67


Six sisters grow up in a musical family and decide to move to Los Angeles to start a pop group. It sounds like the description for a sitcom, but for Cimorelli, it’s reality. The six Cimorelli sisters were raised in Northern California, outside Sacramento. Their ages span a decade — Christina is 23, Katherine, 21, Lisa, 20, Amy, 18, Lauren, 15 and Dani, 13. The girls’ mother played piano when they were growing up, and when Christina decided at age 15 to pursue music, her sisters joined her. “I roped them all in,” Christina says. “We’ve been performing together and doing musical stuff together since we were really little.” All the girls were interested in music from an early age. Katherine recalls sitting on her bed every night with her Walkman listening to the Top 10 countdown on the radio and writing down the names of the songs she heard, and Christina says their mother filled their house with classical piano music. The girls formed their band in 2007 and started small. They performed at gigs such as state fairs and churches, but they wanted to make an impact on people outside their little town. In 2009, Katherine had the idea to make a YouTube cover of “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. “I thought that we could maybe reach more people because Miley Cyrus had just done a performance of it and it was really controversial,” Katherine says. “I thought people might be searching it online the same time so if we put up a cover, they would find us. It [worked].” Things took off right away and YouTube became a huge platform for Cimorelli. Within one day, the video had over 20,000 views, and within the first week a manager contacted the

68

band. They signed with Universal Music shortly after. Moving to L.A. in 2010 was an overwhelming experience for the girls. Christina says it really was similar to the Miley song that first brought attention to Cimorelli — everyone seemed so famous and everyone was wearing stilettos. “We never went to L.A., we never experienced the big city and all that, we never experienced any of that culture,” Christina says of their upbringing. “We’re just normal, small town girls and then moving there in the midst of all that craziness was total culture shock.” The girls have adjusted, but they enjoy living slightly outside L.A. in a more laid back area near the coast. “We’re used to it, but we’re not part of it,” Christina says of life in L.A. While the girls’ five brothers and friends back home fully support the group, some of their friends didn’t know what to make of the move to L.A. at first. The girls say they were constantly asked when they would be moving back. Friends have finally stopped asking. After being nominated for a Teen Choice Award last year and performing on Good Morning America, it’s clear they won’t be returning to small town life any time soon. While many groups have gained popularity singing other artists’ songs, Cimorelli did not want to be defined as a group that simply did covers on YouTube. “We took each cover and made it our own,” Christina says. “Especially when you take a cover and have six girls singing it, it’s already going to be totally different. I think it would be harder if you were a solo artist. But for us, we made it our own, then we added lots of harmonies and changed things around, so I think it’s because we were making it our own, people were more likely to see us as artists


cimorelli | nkd magazine *

rather than someone who just takes a cover and does it.” The girls had tons of original material they wanted to share as well. Over the years, they have been collaborating with each other and working with co-writers. “We did so many sessions the first couple years living here with so many different writers and producers, and we learned something from every single one of them,” Christina says. “We worked with so many different people and it was so valuable. Then we took all that we learned in the past couple years and put it all into writing ourselves.” Amy says the writing process is different for each song — sometimes one girl will write on her own, sometimes two or three of them collaborate, and other times they all pitch in. Writing songs that are relatable to all the sisters seems like a challenge given the range in their ages, but Christina says they have found that there are many emotions that are universal. “We can listen to the same song and relate to it in different ways,” Christina says. “Obviously with relationship stuff, Dani’s not in a relationship, but if I write a song about a guy that I was in a relationship with rejecting me, she can still relate to a guy rejecting her.” After putting out several EPs over the years, their writing will finally turn into something their fans have been waiting a long time for: an album. The girls feel like they are ready to take this next step in their careers. “I think it’s good that [fans] have waited this long and stuck it out with us because if we would have put it out when we all wanted it to a few years ago, it just would have been terrible compared to how it is now,” Lisa says. “We didn’t know what we were. I think we’re really ready for it now.” The girls are making the album their top priority. They spend

hours every day in the studio and write every chance they get. Christina even says Lisa will send her massive texts full of lyrics she has written in the middle of the night. Cimorelli predict the album will be completed and released by the end of this year or early next year. While many famous young women their age fill gossip magazines with scandal, Cimorelli don’t feel they have to cause a stir to get attention. They would rather let their music speak for itself. “I feel like we’re being rebellious by not being rebellious,” Lisa says. “That’s so predictable and everyone is expected to do that.” In the future, the girls of Cimorelli hope to make albums that truly represent themselves and are relatable. They also want to tour throughout the world and meet all the fans they have gained through their YouTube channel. While the girls all have their own personal goals and interests and hope to pursue different paths using the platform they have been given, they agree they are on the same wavelength when it comes to the group. “We all have totally different personalities, styles and tastes, but then when it comes to the group, we have an idea of how it all fits together,” Christina says. “We all bring something totally different, which is great, then somehow we all have the same big picture vision in mind.” Since the move to L.A., the big picture is truly coming together for Cimorelli. Leaving their small town showed them it’s always better to stay true to yourself, which is the message they hope to bring to their fans. “In our hometown, you try to blend in,” Christina says. “[People in L.A.] are trying to stand out, but our way of doing that was by being yourself.” (Cont’d on page 71)

NKDMAG.COM

69


70


cimorelli | nkd magazine *

if you weren’t doing music, what would you do instead?

christina: I would be studying psychology and getting a degree in that. Then I would be either writing books or be a marriage counselor or family therapist. katherine: I’m going to go to school and I’m going to get a master’s degree in English, probably literature. I want to write books, especially poetry. I have a lot of poetry and I want to publish it. I know that poetry’s not the most popular thing right now, but I want to bring it back. I want to write books for all different ages and maybe just stories about my life. lisa: Music is my main squeeze. If I wasn’t a singer, I would be vocal producing or something in the studio, but I would also love to be a hair and makeup person. Every time we get our hair or makeup done, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I totally relate to these people!’ I feel like I’m one with the hair and makeup artists. amy: I have a lot of interests, mainly they include journalism and media in any sort of way. I’m very up to date on current events and popular culture, so I’d be a reporter or something like that. lauren: I would probably be doing either photography or photo editing, I like both of those, or graphic design. dani: I have so many ideas, I literally can’t think. I wanted to be a fashion designer and have a fashion line for a long time, I might still want to do that. I kind of want to work at a magazine. I kind of want to have a radio show. There are so many things I want to do. NKD

NKDMAG.COM

71


Words & Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

if i didn’t already know that Megan and Liz Mace were sisters, their on-stage dynamic would have made me assume they are. The two compliment each other perfectly — they finish each other’s sentences, harmonize effortlessly and strike fierce poses after songs. It’s quite adorable, actually. So when Liz stomps down to the lobby of the twins’ hotel two days after their New York City show claiming she hates Megan, I can’t help but laugh. A few minutes later Megan joins us, apologizes for her tardiness and shoots an evil look at Liz, and a mini argument breaks out. But in the 45 seconds it takes us to get to the coffee shop next door, the two make up and smile as we sit down at a table. It’s been over a year since I last interviewed the girls, and that year has been the busiest of their lives. Their single “Bad For Me” received heavy radio play and peaked at No. 37 on Billboard’s U.S. Pop Charts. They performed at the iHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas and got to meet Taylor Swift, who remembered them from years ago and sung their song to them. (“I can’t even,” Liz gushes, when the topic comes up.) They performed at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York before playing at various holiday shows alongside Justin Bieber, The Wanted and more. Their follow-up single “Release You” dropped in early June, followed by “In The Shadows

72


MEGAN & LIZ NKDMAG.COM

73


Tonight” in mid-August. Our coffee date falls about two-thirds of the way into their first headlining tour across America. “It’s been a little busy,” Megan jokes. Liz nods in agreement — she’s on vocal rest. With almost no touring experience prior to this summer, Megan and Liz are wide-eyed and eager each day. “Everyone is coming to see us!” Liz says. And it’s true. The floor at Gramercy Theatre was packed with “Macers” who knew every single word to every single song. “You don’t have to win them over because you already did,” Megan says. But playing to hundreds of fans every night doesn’t just help their confidence — it also aids their boredom. “I get bored literally all the time,“ Megan starts. “All the time!” Liz interrupts. “So it keeps me on my toes,” Megan finishes. But there are nerves involved too. The girls had never even done an acoustic performance in most of the cities they played on tour, let alone a headlining show. “It’s always scary going into a new city blind because you really don’t know if anyone is going to show up,” Megan says. But as far as the first chunk of the tour goes, they feel confident, citing Boston and Pittsburgh — both places they had never played before — as two of the biggest shows. During all the touring and promoting chaos, Megan and Liz decided to move to Los Angeles this past spring — something they put off as long as they could. “We found that we were [in L.A.] more than we were home in Nashville, so we decided we’d rather be home for two weeks at a time instead of gone,” Megan says. They feel like the move pushed their career to the next level. Now that they’re in town all the time, they can take last-minute opportunities that pop up. Stereotypical Los Angeles is a world with fancy parties, celebrities and drama. But Megan and Liz spend most of their free time on their couch in their sweatpants. If they make the effort to put on real pants, it’s to go out to sushi. “We’re really big party animals,” Megan jokes. They girls are trying to make their apartment (which they share with their friend KayKay) as homey as possible, even though they both agree that Los Angeles will never be a permanent home for them. This is also the first time the twins are living without their mom. “I have these moments where I have to be an adult, but I don’t feel like an adult,” Megan says. “Like going to the dentist … we don’t know

74

how to do that!” Liz adds. But they tried. They found a dentist, made an appointment and proudly told their mom about it. She researched it, learned it was located in a bad neighborhood and advised the girls not to go. They still haven’t been to the dentist. On top of moving and touring, Megan and Liz are finally almost done with their debut album, Look What You Started. They’ve been “almost done” for a while now, but it seems sincere this time. The songs are all written, but not everything is recorded yet. “It’s definitely been a struggle because we don’t do things traditionally,” Megan says. “We don’t go away for two years and write an album, we’re just constantly working.” The time they originally allotted to finishing the album turned into promo time, followed by the tour. But once they get back to L.A., they’ll be hard at work to finish it. At least there’s a good reason it’s taking so long: Megan and Liz have gone back to their roots and have been writing songs just the two of them again. They had more than enough songs for the album that they had written with co-writers, but they love what they’ve been doing by themselves. “We don’t know if we should put them on the album or do something else with them,” Liz says of the new songs. They describe the new songs as “organic Megan & Liz songs,” which don’t necessarily fit in with the pop tracks they wrote for the album. “We’re so over the genre thing,” Megan says. “We’re technically pop but a lot of the songs we write could easily be country songs.” It’s been a challenge for the girls to find a happy medium, or even deciding if they want to find a happy medium at all. They grew up listening to and loving pop music, but their time in Nashville turned them on to country music. “When we started writing songs when we were 16, we were writing songs that sounded like what pop sounded like then. But pop music has changed,” Megan says. It’s not just pop music that’s changed, it’s the entire music industry. It’s not that the girls can’t release a record tomorrow, it’s that they want to wait for a good opportunity to help launch it. “We live in a time where selling albums is hard,” Megan says. “Carly Rae Jepsen had the biggest song of summer last year and only sold about 42,000 albums in her first week.” Though “Bad For Me” did well, the girls still don’t think they’ve had a big radio


megan & liz | nkd magazine *

“IT’S ALWAYS SCARY GOING INTO A NEW CITY BLIND BECAUSE YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW IF ANYONE IS GOING TO SHOW UP.” MEGAN MACE

“NO ONE ON EARTH HAS OUR RELATIONSHIP. IF WE DIDN’T HAVE EACH OTHER IT’D BE HORRIBLE.” LIZ MACE NKDMAG.COM

75


78


megan & liz | nkd magazine *

hit yet — at least not one big enough to push their debut record. In the past, Megan and Liz have felt that too much time had passed between new music, so they would release an EP, only to force them to start over with the full-length. That won’t be the case this time. If a big opportunity doesn’t present itself this year, Look What You Started will be held off until next year after another single is pushed. But “Release You” could still blow up. It has all the elements of a major hit, including the hit-maker himself, Max Martin, who’s credited as a co-writer for the jam. But as proud and honored as Megan and Liz are to have worked with Max, something a lot better came out of working with him than just the song — they got their confidence back. When they started putting original songs on YouTube years ago, there was no one telling them what was good or not, but once they stepped into a room with professional songwriters they lost their self-assurance, so they stopped writing alone completely. But once they started receiving compliments and praise from Max, who has written hit songs with Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and more, they felt like they could do it on their own. “We now know that when [co-writers] are shooting your ideas down, they’re not shooting you down. We took it personally,” Megan says. Though the girls are working with huge writers and bumping elbows with pop stars in the studio, (Katy Perry was recording in the same building as them one day) Megan and Liz have not conformed to the stereotypical pop star lifestyle. Just 12 hours prior to our coffee date, Miley Cyrus took off her clothes and twerked on stage at the VMAs. They’ve definitely felt pressure to follow a gimmick to brand themselves, but Megan says they “naturally have a gimmick,” just by being fraternal twins. “If I have to do what Miley did to be that big, I don’t want to be,” Megan says. “I want to be myself and keep my clothes on.” Above all, Megan and Liz want to be good role models. “I’d rather have people be talking about how we were raised right,” Liz adds. “It’s the best when a mom comes up to us and thanks us.” The girls’ 21st birthday is in November, and they feel nothing but “weird” about it. “Legally we’re going to be allowed to drink,” Megan says. “We’re not saying we’re not going to,” Liz interrupts. “But we’re not going to plaster it on Instagram,” Megan finishes. They understand that most of their fans are younger than they are, and they need to respect that. They say the young girls keep them aware of their actions. “They’re one of the voices in my head when I’m in a situation and think I should leave,” Megan says. The morals and the understanding of being role models Megan and Liz have are refreshing. The two rely on the other to keep themselves grounded and secure, especially in the past year. “No one on Earth has our relationship,” Liz says of her sister. “If we didn’t have each other it’d be horrible.” And that’s not to say the two don’t fight, because as I saw firsthand this morning, they certainly do. But they know what they’re doing together is too important to sweat the small things, especially because they’re together 24/7. Megan smiles at Liz. “We’re closer than ever,” she says. NKD

NKDMAG.COM

79


MAX SCHNEIDER Words by STACY MAGALLON Photos by CATHERINE POWELL

actor, singer and songwriter Max Schneider is a busy guy — he recently wrapped up a short East Coast tour, moved to Chicago and recorded a new album called Nothing Without Love. Max played more new material from an untitled demo for me during a studio session in lower Manhattan. His upcoming material is more mature than his older music, but it’s appropriate for Max, who’s now 21. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about him — he still doesn’t have his driver’s license. you recently moved to chicago where you’ll be for the next six months. does it feel like home yet? max schneider: Well I just moved in this week so I got lots of comfy furniture and put lots of pictures up of the people I love, so it’s getting there. Any place I stay for a long period of time I like to make feel like home as much as possible.

80


NKDMAG.COM

81


82


max schneider | nkd magazine *

your nbc series, crisis, isn’t scheduled to air for a while, but there’s already a great hype about it. how does it feel to step into a more mature arena of acting? ms: I feel really blessed and grateful. It’s such an awesome show. The writing is really amazing, the concept is so cool, and the cast is so diverse and wonderful. It’s an honor and pleasure to be a part of the show. what can you tell us about your character, ian martinez? do you relate to him at all? ms: Ian is a very quiet artist. He’s one of the few scholarship kids at the very rich and powerful school he goes to and because of that, he’s really an outcast along with his best friend Beth Ann, which makes him a very interesting character to play. He’s got a lot going on beneath the surface and there’s definitely a dark side to him that is explored in the storyline that I’m excited to bring to life. I’ve never gotten to play a character quite like Ian. I definitely relate to him in a lot of ways. what is your relationship with your new cast mates like? ms: The cast is awesome. All such fantastic actors and people. It’s pleasure working together every day and my roomie in Chicago is my former cast mate from How To Rock, Halston Sage, who is awesome and like family to me. Funny enough I have a crush on her on the show so I’m excited to see how that all plays out.

“PERFORMING LIVE IS EVERYTHING TO ME. I LOVE FEELING THE ENERGY FROM THE CROWD AND NEVER KNOWING WHAT WILL HAPPEN.” MAX SCHNEIDER

do you think this acting opportunity will open more doors for you? ms: I don’t know. If so, that’s awesome and if not, I’m just happy to be a part of it. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that if you give everything you’ve got to something then more things will come. I just like being a part of projects I enjoy working on and certainly have enjoyed working on this one thus far. youtube is one of your major musical platforms, but you’re also known for a killer live performance. how do you use them to complement each other? ms: Performing live is everything to me. I love feeling the energy from the crowd and never knowing what will happen in a show because each one is a unique experience. YouTube is an incredible platform and outlet for launching and promoting your work, and the two go hand and hand because oftentimes people know the song I’m doing live because I put a video up and that’s really awesome. NKDMAG.COM

83


you have a very close bond with your band. What’s your favorite thing about them?

what can you say about the new music you’ve been working on?

ms: They enjoy playing the music and they’re great guys. We have been through a lot together in a short period of time and I think that really influences our shows. We enjoy being on stage together and I think that makes the music come to life even more so.

ms: It’s a bit more of a mature sound while keeping the style I’ve always done. I’m so excited for people to hear the new songs. It’s definitely the most excited I’ve been about releasing new music. I’m really proud of the work we’ve been doing on the album.

do you have any pre-show rituals before your set?

where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to songwriting?

ms: We always huddle up before a show and say our own little prayers and pump-up speeches and then we chant “One, two, three, spicy!” We get a lot of energy out of it and it just brings us together. 84

ms: I mostly draw experience from stories in my own life or the people closest to me. It always feels the most powerful and meaningful to me to sing a song on stage that I know


max schneider | nkd magazine *

“I’M REALLY PROUD OF THE WORK WE’VE BEEN DOING ON THE RECORD.” MAX SCHNEIDER

is 100 percent from my own life. The most honest songs always have the most impact on me when I listen to them and so I really try to bring as much honesty as possible to my own writing. what’s your favorite song from your upcoming album, nothing without love? ms: Hard to say. They’re all special to me in different ways but there’s a song called “Darling” that has always been a song that’s meant a lot to me. when can your fans expect new material? ms: Probably sometime in the new year. I really want to finish off shooting the series and then dedicate all of my time to the

album and share it with all of the fans out there. It isn’t something that I want to rush. I want it to be right. what are your favorite things to do when you aren’t acting, touring, modeling or in the studio? ms: I love going on adventures like ziplining, rafting, hiking. Spending time with my friends and trying new things. Just being with the people I love. That’s what it’s all about. have you gotten your driver’s license yet? ms: I have my test next week, so wish me luck!

NKD

NKDMAG.COM

85


WWW.NKDMAG.COM


NKD Mag - Issue #28 (October 2013)