Darcy Rose Byrnes is a twenty-year-old actress, stand-up comedian, professional dancer and songwriter. You may recognise her from Disney’s dramedy television series “Big Shot” where she plays Harper’s character in elite girls’ high school. Darcy Rose has been also involved in the music production of the show and arranged numerous pieces such as “Everything To Me”, “Double Double” and others. She has also appeared on “Desperate Housewives”, “The Young & The Restless”. You can hear Darcy Rose’s voice and singing in “Sofia the First”, “Elena of Avalor,” “The Legend of Korra” and “Spirit: Riding Free.”
Hi, Darcy Rose, and thanks for taking your time to speak with me. How are you doing and what’s the most recent project you have done?
Thank-you! I’m very well. I play Harper in Big Shot on Disney Plus! I also wrote 5 songs for the show. This is my songwriting debut! The first season finishes airing in June and then you can binge the whole season!
You have started performing on stage since you were three, do you think being creative is something you wanted to do since you were a child or you had other hobbies?
Oh boy. Well, this is maybe not the most flattering story but here goes: When I was two, my mom saw me watching a commercial on tv. Not only was I aware that it was people playing pretend, but I also said, “I’d do it better.” Yup. I also had a full-on meltdown after a dance performance because “I wanna do it again!!!” But as far as hobbies go, I’m pretty lucky that I’ve been able to incorporate my hobbies into my career. I love languages, I spoke Irish Gaelic in Sofia the First. I’d write songs in my free time, now I’m writing songs for Disney.
How did you find starting your tv career as Abby in “The Young & The Restless”?
It was incredible. Soap Operas are the best training. We would shoot an episode a day, with 4 cameras. I learned very quickly to get it right on the first take. You may not get a second.
Why did you choose to professionally dance Latin?
There was a competition the week of my birthday. I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate! I danced to my own song, ‘Chasin’ the Picture’ (which I wrote in honor of Sofia the First ending).
Where do you usually find your inspiration?
Probably from language and relationships. When it comes to my writing, I love fixating on little quirks of language and dissecting it. I love playing with a phrase like a ball of yarn and unraveling it until it doesn’t make sense anymore, only for a listener to find out at the end of a song or the story that the ball of yarn was not being unraveled, but being made into a hat with a pretty bow on top. Words that have no English translations are a frequent inspiration for me. That’s one of the many reasons I love learning languages.
Were you homeschooled because you wanted to focus more on acting and dancing?
I started homeschooling because I had a dedicated set teacher on the Young and the Restless. When I switched to homeschooling, I skipped a grade and then graduated high- school halfway through tenth grade. I still study on my own and have no intention of stopping.
Do you think that studying improv in Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) helped your career?
Absolutely! I think studying Improv and Musical Improv helped me not only recognize ‘the game’ (the funny of a scene) quicker but helped me hone how to double down on it. I think it also gave me a sense of freedom and confidence. The motto of UCB is “Don’t Think”. You’re taught to trust your instincts and not second guess yourself. I think that has helped me both in my everyday professional life, like in meetings and pitches (like when pitching the song Everything to Me to Big Shot), but also when working. I take a sense of play and ‘go with the flow with me into every scene.
How do you usually write your songs?
Depends on the song. Sometimes I start with a lyrical idea, put it to melody, and then put it to music. In other songs, I write accompaniment and lyrics/melody at the same time. Other times, I start with the music and end up writing the whole main riff before adding lyrics. I don’t have a set writing process which I think helps for creativity. I go with the flow and like to challenge myself to try new things and think in new ways. Songs I write don’t even stay on the instrument I wrote them on. ‘Chasin the Picture’, started on the baritone ukulele, now it’s a piano song.
It is widely known that you play twenty different instruments, how did you learn to play all of them and what are they?
I started taking piano lessons when I was 4 or 5 and guitar a year or two after. My parents got me a ukulele when I was, 13, I think. I taught myself to play it. From there, I started added instruments. When I was older I took flute and violin lessons as well. Burbank Music Academy was my music school. Every instrument brings a new perspective to my songwriting. I have more instruments I’m still learning but here are the ones I’ve played the most: Piano, guitar, ukulele, bass, flute, bodhrán, zhongruan, lever harp, tenor guitar, banjo, mandolin, tin whistles, keytar, guilele, dumbek, theremin, kalimba, violin, autoharp, accordion, xylophone
As a stand-up comedian, what type of jokes do you usually, tell people?
I’m a musical comedian so my comedy is mostly my songs that I can’t play in my coffee house gigs, but I do a fair bit of regular jokes and shtick in between. But as far as the type of musical comedy I do: I’m a “blue comedian,” as they say. My set is not for young ears. I played Princess Amber on Sofia the First for Disney Jr, but when it comes to my comedy, I’m “not THAT kind of Princess.”
What made you learn American Sign Language? My mother! She taught me a few signs when I was a baby. I fell in love with the language and kept studying. I think I’m much more expressive when I’m signing. My personality changes depending on the language I’m using. One of my cast-mates on Big Shot also signs, and apparently, they were trying to figure out if I signed as well because when I’m not being Harper, I talk with my hands a lot. I never realized my signing knowledge had influenced my mannerisms. I absolutely love learning languages and talking to people. Every language has a different perspective on life.
Any upcoming premiers we can see you in?
The rest of Big Shot! I’m spending my free time recording my music. I have some voiceover projects (an animation pilot and video game specifically) on the horizon I can’t talk about just yet. All I can say for now is 2022.