Kyla Carter chatted about her voice work on “TrollsTopia”, her growing music career, working on Broadway under a Tony Award-winning director and more!
Despite only being 14-years-age, Long Island, New York native Kyla Carter has already accomplished a lot in her career.
In this interview, Kyla breaks down her experiences to date, such as voice acting on TrollsTopia, her passion for music and singing as well as playing ‘Gretl von Trapp’ on Broadway under Jack O’Brien, a Tony Award winner.
Welcome, Kyla and thank you for taking the time to do this!
Kyla Carter (KC): Hi, nice to meet you and thank you so much for taking the time to interview me!
As a multi-faceted talent, with experience in acting, singing and dancing under your belt, what inspired your interest in performing?
KC: I have been told that I was singing before I was speaking and I was doing pirouettes at 5 years old in the soccer goal during soccer games. So, I think it is safe to say that I was born to entertain!
Who would you describe as your biggest professional influence?
KC: My love of acting, singing, and dancing was inspired by Shirley Temple. When I was four years old, a commercial for the Shirley Temple DVDs came on the television. I begged my mom for the whole set. I watched every movie, color and black and white over and over, and I said to my mom, “I want to do what she does. I want to be just like her!”
On the acting side, you voice ‘CJ Suki’ in the DreamWorks animated series TrollsTopia. How would you describe the show to anyone who is unfamiliar?
KC: “TrollsTopia” is a spinoff series of the original movie “Trolls.” The characters spread positive messages about friendship and love. What makes TrollsTopia unique is that it embodies all genres of music, with fun characters, humor and positive messages built around friendship.
Do you share more similarities or differences with the character of CJ?
KC: My character CJ Suki is cool and so sweet. She was created based on some of my own features, like freckles and blue eyes. She is a pop singer, a spunky firecracker and loves her Aunt DJ! We are very similar in that we love spreading positivity, but I have to say she is more edgy and cooler than me!
Compared to other forms of acting, what makes animation stand out, in your opinion?
KC: Voice actors often never get to meet the other actors in the series. We spend our time recording our lines alone in a recording studio. You have to be able to take direction fast, and change up the line readings many ways, using different inflections and emotions. There is a lot of pressure to be able to portray the character correctly and you only have your voice to do that.
From 2015-2017, you played “Gretl von Trapp” in The Sound of Music on Broadway under Tony Award-winning director, Jack O’Brien. How influential was that experience on your career as a whole?
KC: I was lucky enough to perform in three roles during the 18 months I toured with “The Sound of Music Broadway National Tour” as Gretl, Marta, and Brigitta! It was my first professional stage job, which helped shape me into the actress I am today. Working with Tony Award-winning Jack O’Brien was like taking a master class in musical theatre at 8 years old.
The schedule was intense, I performed over 500 shows, traveled to over 50 cities in 26 states, to audiences of 5,000 people and never missed a day of work or school!
Before landing the part of Gretl, had you seen the 1965 film with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer? If so, what inspiration did you take from it?
KC: I was exposed to many classical movies at a very young age. After seeing that movie my parents took my brother I to Stowe, Vermont where the real Von Trapp family eventually settled after touring the USA performing.
The property where we stayed is owned and operated by the Von Trapp family, which I thought was cool and I learned the true history behind the movie. I was inspired by how close the family was and how much they loved music.
You’ve released original music, as well as contributing songs to the TrollsTopia soundtrack. What do you find fulfilling about music that acting can’t provide?
KC: My whole career I have been acting out other people’s creative ideas. Although I love that, and have enjoyed making a career out of playing pretend, I find making my own music fulfilling because I am sharing my own message and creativity with the world and not someone else’s.
Having done so in the past, how important is it for you to contribute musically to the projects you are involved in?
KC: I am happy to contribute whenever I am offered an opportunity to. Recently, I was asked to write a jingle for an airline and two songs for an educational children’s book series. I was thrilled to have this opportunity, yet I am also happy to portray what the creative team wants to the world.
In terms of your upcoming or soon-to-be released work, whether acting or music, is there anything you can discuss?
KC: I am also so excited to announce that I will be releasing a new single in June or July that is very different from my previous songs. As a new artist, I feel it is important to change it up and surprise my listeners.
In addition, I recently was hired to voice the lead character in a children’s book series about anti-bullying. I will be playing the role of Heidi and I will be working with my brother for the first time, who is voicing the bully, Groth in the series!
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, what goals have you set for yourself?
KC: I have set many personal goals for myself. Covid gave me the gift of time, and with that I have been able to spend a great deal of time with my family and friends, something I didn’t have the opportunity to do in the past, as I was always traveling. I want to continue to make time for these important people in my life, even as the industry opens back up and work is picking up again.
I also will continue to write music, and release the songs that I feel are important to share with the world. I want to be a role model for others and I hope I can continue to inspire others to live their dream, be true to who they are and live life as I do, SUNNY SIDE UP!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Kyla! Take care and stay safe!
KC: Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me!