Over 25yrs ago, Paula Abdul burst into the spotlight. The song and dance girl emerged as a choreographer on the Tracey Ullman Show to a global superstar. Before launching her music career, Paula was choreographing music videos for Janet Jackson and Prince.
In 1988, Paula Abdul released her first album “Forever Your Girl.” The lead single “Knocked Out” began to get traction on MTV. But it wasn’t until “Straight Up,” did the world begin to take notice. Only until recently, after being bumped to number 3 by Adele, Paula’s “Forever Your Girl” reigned as the second longest charting album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Abdul enjoyed further success with release of subsequent albums, 1991’s “Spellbound” and 1995’s “Head over Heals.”
Due to chronic pain associated with neck and back injuries from a cheerleading fall (former Laker Girl), dance, car accidents and even a plane crash. Paula put her career on pause until she landed at the judges table on American Idol.
At 53 years old, Paula is teaming up with New Kids On The Block and Boyz II Men on The Total Package Tour. Kicking off in May with a show at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. The tour runs through July 16 with a show at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida.
As an actor, getting steady work for a few days is a blessing in this business. That said, I was ecstatic to get cast as a court reporter for five days on the TNT hit drama Murder In The First.
When I arrived on set, I was placed directly behind the defendant which meant plenty of camera time. I was given direction to take notes and listen carefully to the testimony. Not a big deal, right? I’ve served on jury duty a couple of times and seen enough of courtroom scenes to figure it out.
I spotted a guy who looked familiar but I could not place him. When I heard him speak, I was able to figure out who it was. Mark-Paul Gosselaar was standing before my eyes! I grew up watching Mark-Paul play Zack Morris on the Saturday morning comedy Saved By The Bell. This was beyond surreal. I felt as if I stepped into a time machine or that I was stuck in a parallel television universe where Zack Morris grows up and becomes a big time Hollywood director. Pinch me.
I watched Mark-Paul closely as he gave the principals notes and directed with expertise. A director who is also an actor seems to have a better understanding of the process. Mark-Paul was friendly and funny – a pure delight. I even overheard him sharing stories about his four children keeping him up at night with the cast.
I couldn’t believe where I was – far away from my home in Brooklyn where I dreamed of moments like this. With hard work and determination anything is possible.
The fictional trial ended with a jaw dropping surprise ending! Be sure to pay extra special attention to episode seven. You can’t miss me! I give major face. 🙂
Murder In The First airs Sundays at 10/9c only on TNT.
In other Mark-Paul news….he makes his debut as Mike Lawson, a confident catcher on the Fox series Pitch – a drama about the first woman in Major League Baseball. The premiere episode airs tonight 9/8c.
In 1994, grunge music was popular and so was an emerging group of female singer songwriters. Lisa Loeb was front and center. The Grammy® nominated artist started her career with the platinum-selling Number 1 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film Reality Bites. She enjoyed further success with hit songs like “Do You Sleep?” and “I Do” just to name a few.
To this day, she is still the only artist to have a Number 1 single while not signed to a recording contract, a remarkable and unparalleled feat for an unsigned artist. Lisa continues to craft irresistible pop songs for the 21st century, while designing eyewear, writing children’s books, supporting non-profit causes and acting. Lisa’s recent television appearances include John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, Orange Is the New Black, About a Boy, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, King of The Nerds, as well as Sprout’s Sunny Side Up Show.
“Stay” brings me back to my youth, invoking the feeling of wanting to make my place in the world. Lisa will always be special to me. We became friends on Twitter (post modernism at its best) and bonded over our cats. I asked Lisa, if I could interview her; she agreed. Here’s what she had to say ….
Hi Lisa, legend has it, Ethan Hawke discovered you while performing in a coffee shop. He would later play “Stay” to Ben Stiller, long story short “Stay” was included in the film Reality Bites and boom instant stardom. How much of this is true?
Ethan and I met in NYC after I graduated from Brown University through a friend we had in common. A group of actors, musicians, writers, and other creative types used to hang out together, and all supported each other. I wrote music for Ethan’s theater company too. Ethan asked for a recording of my song “Stay” to pass along to Ben Stiller and the other folks involved in placing music in the film Reality Bites. Ethan conceived and directed the one take video for the song as well.
“Stay” and Reality Bites spoke to a generation who was told they would amount to nothing. As it turns out, many of us are doing just fine. How were you able adapt to the pressures of fame and continue on a road of success?
Having a great support system, made up of my family and friends just keeps everything grounded. And I was just raised that way. I kept working hard, making music and doing projects that mean something to me, and try to balance my personal and business life.
Your music and styling has stayed true to who you are. Was there ever any pressure to “sex it up” or change your musical styling venturing into dance or pop like other artist have?
People have never pressured me to be like other artists, although I’m always looking to explore different styles and approaches. I haven’t gotten too far outside myself, but there’s always another song and another recording.
Your album titles “Tails” & “Hello Lisa” (which is a play on Hello Kitty) and let’s not forget your signature eyeglasses all pay tribute to the feline. Have you always been a cat person? What’s the obsession?
I love cats. I don’t know. They’re cute. They’re soft. They’re mysterious. I’m just a cat person. 😻
Me too, cats are the best!!!
Next question, what music do you listen to? What gets you going?
I listen to everything from Queen to Sufjian Stevens, David Bowie to Elton John. Lots of classic rock and singer songwriters from the 1970’s radio. Also, my husband works with a lot of newer bands, so I’m usually pretty up to date with some idea of what’s going on.
If you could collaborate with one person dead or alive who would it be?
I’d love to work with David Bowie.
You have also built an impressive resume as an actress? What do you enjoy more, singing or acting?
It’s really my dream to be able to play a character in a great story on film, but singing definitely comes more naturally to me. I love singing in front of an audience- there’s a special connection that comes from a live performance.
Your nonprofit Camp Lisa helps kids attend summer camp, what inspired you to start this amazing organization?
I wanted to share the summer camp experience with kids who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go to camp. A kid can learn a lot about themselves, have fun, become a great leader, member of the community, challenge themselves by trying something they’ve never done before. It’s an amazing experience that resonates through your entire life. How could I not share that?!
In 2006, you appeared on E! Entertainment Network’s No. 1 Single which documented your journey to find love. You have since married and are now a mother of two. What advice do you have for those reading who are still looking for their soul mate?
Read the book, “If the Buddha Dated” by Charlotte Kasl. Focus on what you want. Not what everyone else expects from you. And then if it’s a priority for you to meet someone, make it a priority in your schedule and your life if you have that kind of flexibility in your schedule. Focus. Relax. Make it a priority.
Work wise and on a personal level, what’s up next for Lisa Loeb?
I’m touring, making tons of new grownup songs, a new kids’ project, getting the camp musical I collaborated on, Camp Kappawanna, on the road, and we’ll see what’s next. That’s a lot. Believe me.
I hear you, that does sound like a lot! With your busy schedule, thank you for taking the time, it was a pleasure speaking with you. Keep us posted, looking forward to hearing your new music. Until then, I’ll see you in the Twitterverse. XOXO. 😘
As we remain focused on the future…here’s a look back to the song and the one shot video, directed by Ethan Hawke that put Lisa Loeb on the map! Enjoy!
When Missy Elliott made a surprise performance during Katy Perry’s halftime show, I jumped out of my seat, screamed “YES” and thought Missy is gonna slay this and show these kids how it’s done. Then I remembered it had been ten years since Missy’s last studio album The Cookbook and that a whole generation didn’t know who she was. I was right and Twitter instantly blew up with people asking “Who’s That Girl?” – as a result digital sales of “Get Ur Freak On”, “Work It”, and “Lose Control” sky-rocketed! America got the message, Missy who has won five Grammy Awards and sold over 30 million records was well deserving of the admiration.
What’s next for Missy? A new album is in the works. Back in April, Pharrell Williams while making an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, confirmed he is working on the project. In other Missy news, she is also cooking something up with Jennifer Lopez, who recently tweeted a photo of them together in the studio.
I’m looking forward to the new album and this collaboration but until then, I’m gonna throw it back and get my freak on…
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