Earlier I had a chat with the rising star and the multi-talented Kyla Carter who is currently starring as “CJ Suki” in the new DreamWorks animated series “Trolls Topia”. We sat down and talked about her roles in films as well as television. We spoke about how apart from being a thriving actress she’s also a musician and performer and has achieved a huge amount when it comes to her music career with regard to being a sensation to the youth all over the globe.
TrollsTopia is a super hit amongst fans. How does it feel being a part of it?
Working for DreamWorks Animation is a DREAM JOB with a DREAM TEAM! Voicing CJ is super fun, because I get to be someone totally different than me. CJ Suki was originally part of the DreamWorks animated series “Trolls the Beat Goes On,” so I was so happy when I found out CJ would be appearing in the new Hulu/Peacock series “TrollsTopia”! What is really interesting is that CJ was created based on some of my own features, like freckles and blue eyes.
Your character C.J. Suki is a fan favorite. What about your character do you feel appeals to your fans?
CJ is really funky and cool. She is a pop singer, a spunky firecracker, and loves her Aunt DJ!
Your single “Because You’re You” is also a hit amongst fans sending them a powerful message. What went behind creating such an inspirational song?
Recording my very first pop song in the studio for DreamWorks Trolls was an amazing experience that I will never forget. In fact, my love of pop music began with CJ! When I auditioned for the role of CJ Suki, I had to sing a pop song. Therefore, I knew if I booked the job I would be singing in the show. However, I didn’t know that CJ Suki was going to have her own pop song written just for her! I am so happy “Because You’re You” has become a fan favorite with over 37K views on my YouTube channel! I think the message of the song encourages listeners to be true to themselves and know that they are perfect just the way they are.
Since you’re planning to release more original music, do you have any plans of releasing an album any time soon?
I am so excited to be releasing my first single this month! I have been writing songs and music seriously for about a year, and have so many songs that I would love to produce. I definitely see an album in the near future!
Since you’re from Long Island, New York and you have been acting since quite a young age. How do you deal with managing your acting career along with music?
ORGANIZATION and SCHEDULING are key! My life is planned to the minute daily. Planning time for school, work, training, songwriting and even down time, keeps me focused and successful in every area of my life.
Since you have acted in both film as well as theatre productions, tell us a bit about the differences when it comes to acting in film as to that of theatre and how does it affect your approach towards portraying a character?
When working in film or television, there is lots of waiting around and many takes to get it just right. On-camera acting involves a more grounded approach where you have to connect with the camera. This is completely different than live theater, where you are performing on a stage for 5000 people! The acting has to be BIG and ANYTHING can happen! I feel like every performance is a fresh start to discover something new about your character.
Being in the Sound Of Music musical is a huge achievement at such a young age. How does it feel to play a well-known character such as Gretl von Trapp?
I will always cherish the memories I had working with three time Tony award winning director, Jack O’Brien. Every day was a master class and being able to play Gretl von Trapp, as well as Marta and Brigitta was incredible. One of my fondest memories was meeting Kym Karath opening night in Los Angeles.
Since you have worked in Broadway before, do you have any plans of doing a another Broadway musical again in the future?
YES! It would truly be a dream come true to be back on that Broadway stage! I have multiple dream roles, but some of my favorite Broadway roles that I would love to play are: Glinda in “Wicked,” Zoe in “Dear Evan Hansen,” and Eurydice in “Hades Town.”
How do you cope with making long tours throughout the US and Canada along with managing school and work?
Every production provides a set tutor and I am required to attend school three hours a day for 15 hours a week. Whereby the adult actors get to tour the beautiful cities we visit during the day, the children in the production must attend school, rehearsal, and work in the evenings. I actually enjoy having school on the road more than I enjoy going to school at home! We have the best field trips and great teachers that make sure we will be well prepared for when we return home.
Working for major studios in their flagship shows at such a young age is no joke, how do you feel being a part of so many projects and what inspires you to do so?
I am really proud of all that I have accomplished. I work really hard and have made many sacrifices to live my dream. My success can be accredited to my parents, brother, team of agents, and the amazing coaches and mentors that have believed in me since I was 5 years old. I am so thankful for those that have helped me every step of the way and who continue to support me on this journey. My inspiration to continue to work hard despite the sacrifices and challenges is knowing that with hard work, perseverance, and passion, I can achieve anything.
Since you have a thriving YouTube channel, tell us a bit about the role of social media when it comes to expressing yourself as an artist.?
My YouTube channel has evolved over the last year. I only started singing pop music recently, and realized how much I love to cover songs where I can put a unique twist on it to make it my own. With that said, I am now ready to show the world my own music in 2021! My style is honest and optimistic, and my music is soothing, unique, and from the heart.
Your podcast “Kyla’s Korner” is a big hit amongst listeners and gaining popularity on different platforms, what do you think makes your podcast so interesting and captivating towards your audience?
Kyla’s Korner is a podcast segment featured weekly on ‘The Mark White Show’, where I share encouraging and inspiring messages. The main message that I try to relay to my listeners is to “Live Life Sunny Side Up.” I think there is a lot of power in positivity and that is what captivates my audience. My goal each week is to come up with a topic that my listeners can relate to. I want them to know that despite challenges, road blocks, disappointments and bad days, there is always a way to find the bright light in the darkness.
Your positive outlook towards life has inspired many young boys and girls to dream big, how good does it feel to make such a positive impact and be a role model to children who look up to you?
I feel it is so important to be a role model for young people and if my words can make a difference in just one person’s life, then I know I am making a difference in this world. I have learned valuable lessons at a very young age that I want to share. I also think it’s important to inspire those around you with positivity, kindness, and hope that dreams really do come true!
The Interview was originally published in JAMO Magazine March Issue 2021