In a FilmFad.com exclusive interview, Pooya chats with “The Mint” actress Ashlee Keating about her musical inspirations, transitioning from the sound booth to the big screen, dream roles in television, and her little know love for sailing.
That’s right FadFans, join us as we chat with up-and-coming singer/song-writer/actress, Ashlee Keating about everything from her upcoming independent film co-starring JWOWW of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” to making soon-to-be hit songs with Michael Keaton’s son. So, without further ado… here is an exclusive peak behind the scenes of a life lived by Ashlee Keating.
FilmFad: According to the inter-webs, you have been singing since you were three years old. How’d you get started singing and what made you want to pursue that as a career?
I feel like, when I was born, I was like “I wanna be a singer.” It was always what I wanted to do, nothing else. I was a normal kid too and I played sports, but music and acting… it’s my everything. When I was three I just would sing around the house all the time and that’s kind of how it all started. I auditioned for this TV showcase in Philadelphia called “Al Alberts Showcase” and I ended up getting on the show, and I was only three years old. I would sing a song every week on TV. Then I booked Broadway and continued on my path. It’s always what I wanted to do, I love it so much.
FilmFad: What recording artists would you say you draw the most inspiration from?
There are so many different artists. I really just love music and listening to different styles and sounds. I wouldn’t compare myself to any one specific artist. There’s a lot of artists that I love. I really love listening to Taylor Swift, Arianna Grande, Jessie J, Beyonce, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake. A bunch of those artists I really really love. I draw a lot of inspirations, musically, from my life and whats going on. And my fans, I feel like they can relate to me and my life as well as theirs.
FilmFad: In the upcoming independent Film “The Mint,” you play Samantha Cole, an artist discovered by a Record Executive trying to salvage his family’s record label after the passing of his parents. What was it like transitioning from, essentially, a real life singer to on-screen singer?
You know, it was really interesting. I have always kinda wanted to incorporate music and acting together on a film. It was the most amazing experience. I got the best of worlds being able to sing and act. It was really cool. It was an opportunity that came to me. My character Samantha Cole was completely different than who I am as an artist. Not necessarily as a person, as an artist. I was playing a small town girl from Tennessee who plays country music. So, I came into that totally. I like being able to sing different genres. I wrote a song specifically for my character in the movie, Samantha Cole. After I read the script, I was like, I think I can bring this to the character and who I am. There was a scene where I was just sitting, writing a song, and playing guitar. It worked perfectly for the film. I really love taking on challenges like that for different movie roles, and acting. Bringing myself to the character, into that other person that I am playing. It was really really cool. It was different than me just being a pop artist in a movie, I was actually changing my style of music, had a southern accent. It was just very different than who I am, but then still very me. I loved it.
FilmFad: Singers often find an emotional connection with their music, how difficult was channeling your emotion in acting versus singing?
That’s an interesting question. To me, both of my instincts, you know my gut, are the same on both. Acting is just a completely different world than music. When it comes to lyrics in a song, I hear it immediately and I’m just like “I love it.” I either know if I love it or if it’s not for me. Sometimes it’s hard because you’ll hear it or your in the writing process. When you’re in the writing process it’s completely different, that’s definitely coming from me.
With acting when it comes to the character, I really delve into everything as if it was myself. I really think about it. I read the script several times and just bring myself to that. I can always take something from my life in acting, a job or a character. That’s what makes it you. There are some similarities in both. I just think you really need to bring yourself to both to find and emotional connection.
FilmFad: As a Jersey Native, did you know Jenni JWOWW Farley before starring alongside her in “The Mint?” What was it like working with her?
I never had met her before. I met her on set. She’s very cool, I really really like her. Jersey natives, we always have some part of ourselves that are similar. She’s very humble as-well. She was very cool to work with on set and I loved all of her team that was there. I thought she did a really great job because she hadn’t had really any acting experience before. Believe it or not, my first scene in the movie is with her. She was really cool and I like her a lot. Hopefully I’ll work more with her in the future.
FilmFad: What is your dream role?
Right now it would definitely be “Empire” or “Nashville.” I would do that in two seconds. As far as a different vibe, honestly I’d take anything that comes my way. Im up for the challenge. I really love romantic comedies a lot. ABC Family, CW type stuff I really love as well.
FilmFad: What is your favorite romantic comedy movie of all time?
I don’t have a favorite to be honest with you. I just watch so many, I don’t have a favorite. I love Kate Hudson, I think she’s always great in a lot of those romantic comedies. Oh my gosh, “Legally Blonde” I love that too.
FilmFad: Tell me Ashlee, tell me something unique about yourself that very few people know about and also that you’re comfortable sharing.
I’m very athletic and I’m a health and nutrition freak. When I was younger and I played sports, I used to be a competitive sailor. I was on a competitive sailing team and we were sailing these boats called Optimists. I actually qualified for the National team trials for the US Team. I ended up not going because I was busy with my music career at the time.
FilmFad: In your own words, can you describe “The Mint?”
It’s about this record executive in New York whose parents passed away and he took over the label and it’s suffering, but he is very ignorant and doesn’t want to listen to anyone. He is going down hill and he needs to find new ways to help that label. He goes out and tries to find a new sound and direction for the label and finds my character, Samantha Cole. That’s kinda when everything changes.
FilmFad: What is it like working with Sean Douglas (Michael Keaton’s son) on your recent single “Red Eye,” especially since he was instrumental in the success of many other artists chart toppers including Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” & “Wiggle?”
We met each other for coffee first and we hit it off. We had the same vibe. He got me as an artist. He’s very chill, humble and a cool guy. On this record with “Red Eye” we wanted to do something that my fans haven’t really heard from me. Normally I’m doing a lot of upbeat pop records and this was was more lyrically written and just showing off me as a vocalist. It was a mid-tempo ballad. I really loved it. When I worked with him we literally got the song done in two hours. It was super quick. He’s so easy to work with and such an amazing writer and producer, I was so grateful to work with him. It was great. I wasn’t anxious or nervous, I loved always pushing myself in the studio and he was great.