How was playing Frenchy in Grease Live?
It was one of those things where I just immediately said yes to it right away and then later thought about it and thought “Oh my god, Frenchy is such a beloved character how am I going to do this?!” But then the day I met with Didi Conn, who played the original Frenchy, I felt better about it because she was so supportive and I knew that she would be in the show. I realized I would be able to mimic her voice and it gave me the confidence I needed. Frenchy is just as insecure as any other high school student and she wants friends, so she kind of ushers Sandy into the group. When we got the costumes from William Ivey Long, I felt much more in character. When you wear the skirts and the shoes and the Pink Ladies jacket, you find yourself walking differently and becoming more in character.
Any plans to do more musical theater in the future?
I would hope so. It’s another great passion of mine. I am most passionate about songwriting and I think my own projects are always going to be number one. I like theater because it’s more out of my comfort zone and it heightens my own show and performances. You always learn something about yourself by doing something out of your comfort zone.
For your latest album “E·MO·TION,” you were heavily influenced by ’80s pop. What specific songs or artists were you most inspired by and why does ’80s pop resonate with you?
Back when I was doing “Cinderella” on Broadway I was running a lot in the morning because for that show I had to wear the ball gown which was 18.5 pounds. So I was trying to stay in shape so I’d be able to wear it and perform, so I ran a lot and listened to a lot of old school pop music. Specifically, I listened to a lot of Prince.
Where do you find inspiration when writing your songs?
A lot of my inspiration comes from relationships. Not always personal romantic relationships. Sometimes I get inspiration from my friendships or talking to friends about their relationships. I also get a lot of inspiration from traveling like when I was in New York. There’s always something inspiring there. I found a lot of inspiration when I was in Sweden for a month recording the album. I was alone and could walk around during the day and record at night so I found a lot of inspiration. I also find a lot in Los Angeles from meeting like-minded writers. It took time to find them because a lot of artists like to create a song in a day. I like to find my inspiration then work with it for awhile and really dig for a diamond.
Besides the new music, what changes are happening with this tour?
With this tour the crowd is more our age. When I opened for Justin Bieber, I had a great time because the fans were cool and we were playing in these huge stadiums which was not something I had ever done before. To be honest I prefer the intimacy of smaller theaters that we’ll be in for this tour. I like the older crowds too because I can talk honestly about the songs and not have to really filter anything because of the younger kids. I think this is more sincere.
Where are you most excited to visit on the tour?
Everywhere! We are just really stoked to celebrate this album we spent so many years working on. Obviously I was excited to do “Grease: Live” but it was right after the album came out so I wasn’t able to be two places at once. I couldn’t celebrate the album right away, but now we are stoked to get out there. After, we are going to Japan for a week and a half which is always one of our favorite places to go. Then we have the Canadian run for six and a half weeks.