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Talk Nerdy Talks with Aliyah Moulden

Season 12 Contestant on The Voice lands a big part in upcoming Netflix film.

© by Anthony Topman

Last spring, Aliyah Moulden was a household name for fans of The Voice. At just 15 years old, she landed a spot on Team Blake and came in 3rd after weeks of dazzling performances and power-house vocals that just aren’t normal for a kid her age. On her birthday earlier this month, she not only turned 16 and finally got to drive that car she won on The Voice, she also started shooting her first live-action film for Netflix, Anastasia: Once Upon a Time. Not a bad birthday gig!

I got to talk to her a few weeks ago about how life has been since The Voice and what she’s looking forward to. She is truly an amazing talent but an even more amazing young woman. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

How has life been for you since The Voice?
My life has been pretty crazy. After I got off The Voice, it seemed like the second after, I jumped into another project and it’s called Anastasia: Once Upon a Time. It’s a Netflix original film directed by Blake Harris and I play a singer. So I’ve been doing that and also I’ve just been doing lots of classes, singing classes, acting classes just trying to improve and get better. But, yeah, The Voice definitely just launched me into another world and I’m very, very grateful for it.

Anastasia was one of my favorite movies to watch with my daughter. This sounds pretty great!
I’m really excited because it was one of my favorite stories too and the director put like a cool little twist on it and I’m really excited.

How did your role in Anastasia happen? Did you go to an open call?
No, while the show was going on my manager and my agent were making people aware, just telling people to watch me on The Voice. They were in contact with the producer of the movie and the producer saw me on the show and he thought I would fit the role so I came in and I read for it and it just kind of happened from there. I was a little bit ready for my world to slow down after The Voice but it has just gotten busier and busier every day.

How do you juggle your life lately?
It’s extremely difficult to try to be a good student, try to be a good singer, try to be a good daughter, a good person. I do my best and I feel like I do pretty well with everything. School just kind of kicked me in the butt this last year. It kind of caught me off-guard with the show. I learned that I have to put school first. I have to do school and I have to go to school and I just need to learn to work around school.

I remember I would go sit down and go to do schoolwork and I’d end up practicing my song for that week or running over the lyrics or the melody in my head and not actually doing schoolwork because I was so nervous during the show. I would get schoolwork done but not as quickly as I would like to.

The Voice was kind of my first experience doing school on set so now that I’ve had that experience I can apply that to doing school on set for the movie. I figured it out by the end of the show but by then months had passed that I hadn’t figured it out. I think it’s very, very important for anyone in the industry who is still in school to figure that out as soon as they can because school is so important and I just kind of got lost in the homework.

School is a big time commitment that we don’t realize when we’re in public school and then as soon as you do homeschool, you realize you have to self-motivate, self-everything, self-teach, it’s really crazy. Like at school I’d be top of my class and just on top of everything and once there was nobody to motivate me, there’s no teacher saying this is due tomorrow, there were no due dates. I figured it out and I know what I have to do and it was a really good lesson for me and I’m really grateful that experience happened so next time I’ll know better.

Do you get to go back to school after you’re finished filming?
I’m not sure, it depends on what happens after the film. I thought I was going to come back to school this year, but then I booked the film which starts the same day that my school year would start if I was going to regular school. My independent studies are in the same system so we all start on the same day. For example, if I finish the film and I jump into something else then I won’t go to school but if things kind of simmer down then I will try to go back to public school for as long as I can.

Do you miss your school?
I miss it so much. I would be a junior this year and I want to go prom. I want to go to homecoming. I want to do all that stuff.

So, do you have any new music coming out?
Within the movie we are recording some songs ,so I’ll be releasing some music through the movie as my character, which I think is really exciting. It’s 80s style music because the storyline of the movie is a girl teleports to the 80s and I’m playing an 80s pop star. She’s just kind of taking in this whole new decade. It’s really interesting. They put a cool twist on Anastasia.

Is there any music from the original Anastasia in this film?
Its all new music. I am covering an 80s song but we’re putting our own little twist on it and I’m really excited to do that and I’m really excited to be an 80s pop star. I mean I wasn’t even born when the 80s were going on.

When did you start wanting to do all of this showbiz stuff?
When I was three, I used to sit my family down and I would sing for them and I wouldn’t let them get up from the couch until I was done with my show. I would make up my own songs and they were all pretty three-year-oldesque and my mom supported me and had to sit there and watch me sing. When I turned six I saw a Rhianna music video. I was 6 or 7 or 8, before the double digits, and she was just killing the game and I was in awe of her and I told my mom “that’s what I want to do.” So she signed me up for singing lessons. They were singing lessons and I loved to sing but I wasn’t going in front of people and singing. I said “no mom, that’s not what I want to do. I want to go on the stage and I want to sing.” So mom put me on the stage and I had terrible stage-fright of course. But, I still wanted to do it. I still loved it and eventually I got over the stage fright and I am where I am today and I have to thank my mother because without her supporting my dream I wouldn’t even be here.

You do a lot of performances at charity events. Tell me about that.
I did Relay for Life, which is a cancer walk. My dad passed away from cancer so that is something really important to me. I did that locally and I also performed at lots of churches and lots of benefits. Just anything they would invite me to that had any charity involved. I did one for Cystic Fibrosis in Anaheim and I’ve done so many and I want to continue to do them because it’s so important to me to raise awareness for causes. They’re also my favorite shows to perform at because people really appreciate you singing there and you coming out there. At those shows it’s all about something greater than ourselves and about something so important. I just get so excited to be a part of that.

So, tell me what is on your bucket list of projects career-wise?
I really want to win a Grammy and sing at the BET Awards. I think those two are at the top of my bucket list. I love the BET Awards. I went and I saw Beyonce sing there and it changed my life. And I mean the Grammys are the Grammys. So yeah, those would be the top two of my list.

American Idol is coming back. Do you think you’ll try out?
No, I think I’m done with singing competitions for the rest of my life. The Voice was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I think it’s a once in a lifetime thing. I think doing it twice is so much stress and so much work and so much pressure. I think now that I’ve done it I’ve come out a stronger person, but I think it’s a learning experience and after you learn from it you should go on to the next step in your career. To each their own. Whatever you want to do you can do but for me personally, I don’t want to go through that again. I loved The Voice so much but I have never worked so hard in my life. I have never felt the pressure more in my life.

How do you tune out the negativity that creeps into competition shows with live tweeting?
I went through quite a bit of stuff growing up in public school and it made my skin really thick when it comes to stuff like that. I would love reading the comments so I could respond to people who would comment nice things. Of course, I’d run across mean comments and of course I wouldn’t respond and I wouldn’t pay attention to them. They wouldn’t really bother me because I know who I am. My family knows who I am. Most of the people know who I am and anybody can have their own opinion about what they like and what they don’t like. I don’t get why they comment about it. I think freedom of speech is important and I don’t support hate comments but I don’t pay any attention to them. I read a lot of them, I just don’t pay attention to them.

What sort of advice would you give to other young people trying to get into this business?
Remember school is the priority. That’s a big thing. Also, just don’t do it unless you love it because it’s a lot of work. It’s so much work. A lot of people come in the industry because they want to become famous really quick. I was singing for eight years before I got on The Voice and that was the first thing that ever happened for me. If I didn’t love singing I wouldn’t have kept singing for seven years with nothing happening, just performing at small events. I think once you fall in love with it, if you love what you do it doesn’t feel like you’re working. I would spend hours upon hours practicing, just singing and doing everything I could do to improve my voice and improve my performance. I think if you have the love to do it, keep going and eventually something will happen. Whether it takes a month or eight years or ten years. Nobody is an overnight success and that’s really important to remember.

We talk about TV a lot at Talk Nerdy with Us. What do you watch? What’s your favorite binge?
I binge-watch so many shows it’s crazy. Not even a joke. I binged Grey’s Anatomy, every single episode, I think I watched that in like four months which is crazy because it has over 100 episodes. I don’t know what I was doing. Then I did How to Get Away with Murder. There’s just so many. I love binge-watching shows. If I have 5 minutes of free time I’ll spend it watching something. I just love, love, love watching shows on Netflix and stuff. (Good Netflix plug)

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