'Nicking The Spotlight!'
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life pushes you into the punchbowl, you belt out a song called "Punch Rocker." Such is the coping strategy of Addie Singer, the "'tween" protagonist of Nickelodeon's hugely popular TEENick series "Unfabulous."
Now Columbia Records is bringing the show's musical charms - notably the talents of series star and singer Emma Roberts - to the world at large with the soundtrack album 'Unfabulous and More: Emma Roberts', released this past September 27.
"She's a normal teenage girl who has to deal with the same things everyone else does - family, friends, school, crushes," Roberts says of Addie. "But instead of writing in a journal, she sings and plays guitar to get her feelings out."
In addition to making the character of Addie so relatable onscreen, the 14-year-old Roberts - whose aunt is film superstar Julia Roberts - is a canny, confident vocalist, able to invest the songs with the vulnerability, confusion and joy of adolescence.
Music has been key to the appeal of "Unfabulous," which averages 2.5 million viewers per episode. "Unfabulous" is the #1 show among the 9-14 set in its time period and a Top 5 show overall with 'tween girls.
Addie picks up her guitar and sings numerous times on each episode, and her solitary concerts provide a catharsis for scores of young viewers. So it's hardly a surprise that the soundtrack's sparkling pop-rock material more than stands on its own.
Of the 10 songs Roberts sings on the album, six are from the show's first season - including already-classic numbers like the slamming "Punch Rocker," the exuberant "New Shoes" and the bittersweet "Mexican Wrestler" - and the rest are new, among them "This Is Me," co-written by Roberts.
Chatting recently with Emma Roberts, I first wondered at what point did singing as a career suddenly make sense to her? "I think it really made sense after we started filming my Nickelodeon show 'UNFABULOUS.' My character, Addie, sings and plays guitar on the show so we figured it made sense to start putting an album together."
How long do you think it will be before the introductory tag of being "Julia Roberts' niece" is not the first thing out of people's mouths when they introduce you?! "Oh, I don't know! I'm proud to have an Aunt as successful as Julia and I could only hope to have a fraction of her success someday."
How did you first get the role on Nick's 'Unfabulous'? "Well, I had to audition. Like 5 times! People just assume the role was handed to me. It wasn't. Not only did I have to act out several scenes for the creator, Sue Rose, but I had to sing and play the guitar for a bunch of Nick executives."
And speaking of 'Unfabulous,' your debut album is chock full of great songs ... but which one is your personal fav and why? "Hmmmm ... I like them all, but I would pick "Say Good-bye to Junior High". It just fits perfectly with my real life right now. I just started 9th grade."
Tell us more about your movie, 'Aquamarine' and your role as Claire "Well, 'Aquamarine' is based on the novel by Alice Hoffman and also stars JoJo (as my best friend) and Sarah Paxton (as the mermaid). Claire is a scared girl whose parents' died in a boating accident. She discovers a mermaid in her pool after a hurricane hits her town and thru the friendship between the three girls, Claire learns to live."
Did you know that Jessica Simpson was originally offered the role of Aquamarine, but was forced to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts? Do you think she would have made a good Mermaid? "I heard about Jessica since I was the first one cast in the movie. I think she would have been great, but Sarah is terrific!!!"
Also, tell us about your upcoming role as the legendary teen detective Nancy Drew in the big screen movie, 'The Mystery in Hollywood Hills.' "I am so excited about Nancy Drew! I am just starting to read the books now. It will shoot in January of 2006 and is being directed by Andy Flemming. He did that cool movie called 'The Craft.' Very excited!!!"
Have you sat down and watched any of the old late '70s Nancy Drew Mysteries starring Pamela Sue Martin or the ones during the '90s with Tracy Ryan in the role? "No, I have not. Maybe I will, but I think reading the books is more important for me right now. I love to read."
Tell me more about your first paycheck for singing and what you spent it on? "Hmmm ... I don't spend much of my work money. My Mom gives me a small allowance right now. I love to buy bags to that is usually my big purchase!"
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! "Well, I wouldn't call it cheesy, but 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'!"
If there were just 3 words that described Emma Roberts, what would they be? "Fun, real and grateful.'
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other BIG NAME musicians to aid you in the project, who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "I'd pick Kelly Clarkson and Michelle Branch. We'd do something like 'We Can Save the World' - one girl at a time!"
Finally, I like Penguins ... do you?! "They're so cute! I saw the film 'March of the Penguins' and thought it was very interesting!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
Emma Roberts Opt-In Link
If you would like to win either an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Emma's brand new CD or one of her promotional posters, just answer this easy question: What is Emma's middle name?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new CDs or posters! Just send us an e:mail here before December 31st with your answer and the subject title 'EMMA ROBERTS SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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