Recently I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Tara Macri, an actress, and singer who hails from Canada. Her new songPrettiest Girl in The Room has broken the top 100 on Hot AC charts and is sure to climb even further. She also recently starred in the new movie Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scrolls, a prequel to the Kung Fu Panda series of movies. We talked about everything from her new movie to her music career to what show she’s obsessed with. Check out the interview below.
You’re in the new movie Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scrolls. Can you tell our readers what it’s about?
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scrolls is a prequel to Kung Fu Panda. It is the story of how The Furious Five came to be the warriors that they are. The story follows Tigress and all of them and their journey with Shifu. It takes place about 10 years prior to Kung Fu Panda.
Were you a fan of Kung Fu Panda before you got the role?
Yeah, I was. I’d seen the first one. It was so funny. It was so well done. It had such a good message. It was also accessible for kids and adults. It was really well done.
I was pinching myself when I got to go to the Dreamworks lot and work there. I think Dustin Hoffman had come in the day before me to do all his scenes. He plays Shifu and I play Young Tigress. Tigress is normally played by Angelina Jolie. So it was really cool. It was just really good. To see all those scenes with Dustin Hoffman was pretty cool.
Did you get to meet any of the other voice actors?
No, We all came in on different days. How you do voice overs is you go in and they’ll have storyboards. You’ll do scene by scene and you have the director in the booth with you. They explain what’s happening in each scene. It’s a full day of work. So everyone comes in on a different day.
What are some of the similarities and differences between Young Tigress and Tigress?
She wants to impress Shifu. The difference is that she hasn’t quite found who she is in the prequel. She’s still finding herself. You do have the same sense that she’s loyal and she’s extremely smart and strong. So those are some of the similarities.
I think the only difference is she’s still finding her path.
What are some of the different challenges between voice acting and live action acting?
For voice acting animation you have to play animals a lot of the time. (laughs). So the challenge would be to make them as real as possible. Whereas with live action, it’s you. You’re usually not portraying an animal then.
How did you get into acting?
I really wanted to do it as a kid. I bugged my parents all the time. I think they were a little hesitant at first. When they saw how much I really wanted to do it they finally agreed after me bugging them (laughs) to take me to an agent. That’s when I started auditioning and working and having a really good time.
Was your family supportive of your acting?
Yeah, I was really fortunate because they were always there and very supportive of it. So I’m fortunate because I know that’s not the case all the time. It’s an up and down career. So they were just happy to see me working. (laughs)
You are also a talented singer. What was it like the first time you heard your song Prettiest Girl in The Room on the radio?
It was incredible. I think I was driving to the station to do radio promotion the very first time I heard Prettiest Girl in The Room. It doesn’t get old. Every time I hear it I get so excited.
I also have a lot of friends that listen to radio or Sirius Satelite (they picked it up and the played it quite a bit). My friends are all over. Some of them are even in Australia. They’d be texting me saying, “We just heard your song on the radio!” That was exciting too.
I was really lucky that Pat Monahan, the lead singer of Train, heard Prettiest Girl in The Room and said some really nice things about it. That’s one of the reasons it got play on Sirius satellite. That was exciting! It’s always nice to hear that the artists you really admire like your stuff. You’re like “that’s cool!”.
Your song Prettiest Girl in The Room recently broke the top 100 on Hot AC charts. What was your reaction when you first heard?
Excitement. It’s so exciting to see all of the hard work that everybody has done being paid off. I’m still excited. It doesn’t get old. That’s the thing, you know. It just… it’s really cool. Especially because I’m hearing people’s reaction to the song. That’s such a great feeling. People like it and it’s a positive message.
What inspired you to write Prettiest Girl in The Room?
You know when you have a bad day? I wanted to write a song that said it’s ok to be vulnerable and it’s ok to have a bad day. When you’ve having a bad day and things just aren’t going your way or the way you think it’s going to go, it’s nice to have people in your life whether it’s your best friend or your boyfriend or your girlfriend. You have that person that is there and they can help you see that it’s just a bad day and it’s going to be ok.
It’s about saying that it’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to have a bad day and to know that tomorrow’s going to be a better day. I think that’s something everyone needs to hear once in a while.
Yeah, I do too. Foot Locker is airing an interview with you and an acoustic performance of Prettiest Girl in The Room in 1100 of their stores. How did you get involved with them?
That was actually through, her name is Lisa, and she works out of New York. She was the one who introduced us to the company that was doing that. When I was doing radio promotion in New York they invited me to come into their studios. We did an interview and I got to play Prettiest Girl in The Room. They had done a piece, I haven’t seen it yet, they’re editing it. They’re going to air it. Which is really fun. I can’t wait to see it.
While I was performing Prettiest Girl in The Room I had been traveling a lot. Like I had been going from L.A. to NY. One of my strings broke while I was playing but luckily it happened at the very end. So they were able to edit that out. (laughs).
Who are some of your musical influences?
There’s a huge, long list. P!nk, I love her, Eminem, Kanye, the late Michael Jackson, I mean he’s fantastic. Also, there’s this artist, I don’t know if you know him but his name is Amos Lee and I love all of his records. He’s an amazing singer and songwriter.
Are you going to be doing a full-length album anytime soon?
Yes, that’s in the works right now. We have the second single, it’s a summer song, ready to go. It’s called This Crush. The album will be coming soon.
If you could give advice to your younger self what would it be?
To relax. (laughs) Everything is going to work out in the end.
That kind of echos your song Prettiest Girl in The Room.
Yeah, it’s interesting that you said that. I think that also there’s a theme listening to all the songs that we have for the record. There’s this theme of pushing through whatever happens. It’s a positive message of pushing through whatever is going on in your life. That’s just a reflection of where I’m at in my life right now.
We at TNWU all have something nerdy/geeky about us. What is something nerdy or geeky about you?
Oh my gosh. There’s a lot! My obsession with The Walking Dead. It is one of my favorite, favorite shows. I have a Daryl shirt. I have a Carl get in the house shirt. Do you remember in the second season when they all just kept yelling, “Carl get in the house!”? (laughs).
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