Nick's New "How to Rock" Series: Info From the Stars
She is daughter of rapper/actor Master P. 15-year-old Cymphonique (cool name!) has toured with Raven-Symoné, Ashley Tisdale, Demi Lovato, JoJo, Wonder Girls and the College Boyys. In 2011, she was nominated for "Best Female Hip-Hop Artist" at the BET Awards.
Cymphonique’s character Kacey Simon is a former “mean girl” who falls out of favor with the “in crowd” after she has to get braces and glasses. Confident, bold and beautiful, she is now on a constant campaign to take her new friends and band mates to the top of the school social ladder. She can sing, she can dance, and she's proving to that band Gravity 5 that she also knows how to be a true friend.
Max Schneider has been on Broadway and other TV shows. He plays Zander Robbins, the new kid in school and guitarist for Gravity 5. Zander is cool, handsome and sometimes a little vain, but he is also confident, loyal and the voice of reason among his band of friends.
We’ll let Cymphonique and Max tell you about themselves and the new show that premieres Feb. 4th on Nick.
TeenTV: Cymphonique, were you encouraged to go into music? Was your dad trying to keep you away?
Cymphonique: My dad actually didn't even want me to be in the entertainment business because he just knows how crazy it can be. But I've just always loved it, and I've been singing since I was two years old. I started off in the church choir. I did my school community plays. It was almost a coincidence, and it was just something that I always loved.
My dad's all about education, and that's what we put first. So he's, like, "Okay, even if you're going to be in it, you're still going to be going to school, and you still have to be making A's." So, I have a tutor with me all the time everywhere I go, and, yeah, the music was just in me ever since I was a little kid, and it was just sort of a coincidence that I just happened to be in the Miller family.
TeenTV: What about you, Max? What was your background? When did you get started?
Max: I started in musical theater when I was five, always done theater and music and written music, and I just continued to do it throughout. I started on Broadway when I was 16, and I started writing my own music when I was 14. I play ukulele and guitar and piano, and what's great about this show is actually I've been privileged to have one of my own songs that I wrote on the show. That's really what's wonderful about the network. They embrace kid actors to bring who they are to the stage, and we get to perform our own music, and it's all original, and it really brings the voice of youth today, which is something that I feel like a lot of shows may not have, which is why our show is just fantastic, and I love doing it.
TeenTV: A lot of kids can identify with your character wearing braces and glasses and maybe being less popular because of it. How do you see that Cymphonique?
Cymphonique: Well, I feel like the braces and glasses were an eye‑opener for her friends to see. These girls didn't really like me for who I am because with braces and glasses, they wouldn't accept me. So I feel like that's why it was such a great concept for the pilot because that's her transformation from starting off as the “Perf” girl and then going into Gravity 5. So it's more like the transformation for her, and it's her epiphany.
Max: I wore braces as well. Most of our cast has worn braces, and actually a lot of the cast wear glasses as well. And really, the message of the show is it doesn't matter if you wear braces or don't wear braces. It's all about seeing people for their personalities, for what they bring to this world.
Braces do come off at some point but your personality stays with you. And that's really what this show is about. It’s about who you are and not what you look like. So it's just initiation for her to realize who her true friends are, people that will stick by her throughout the series for being herself and for her talent and for just loving who she is and we love who we are.
TeenTV: Can you both talk about getting the roles in the new show?
Cymphonique: The way that I auditioned for Nickelodeon was I flew to New York, and I did a general audition. I was like “I do not want my dad to be any part of this. I don't want them to see Romeo. If I'm going to book a job or be an actor, be in the entertainment business, I want to make sure that I get there on my own”. So I went to a general audition, and there were thousands of kids. I had to sing, dance, act. They had different voices I had to do in just in a couple of minutes.
After I flew back to L.A., I didn't really expect anything from it, and then that's when we got the call from Nickelodeon saying that, "We actually like this video, and we want to do something with you." And then it wasn't until after that that they found out who my dad was and who my brother was. So I definitely feel good that Nickelodeon was behind me before they ever knew who I was related to.
TeenTV: Cool! Max, your bio says you were in an advertising campaign with Madonna. You have any stories about that?
Max: It was about two years ago. I was 17 at the time, and it was incredible. It all happened in three days, and it was just surreal. Like my agent called me and told me I booked it, and I was, like, "Nah, really? Really?" So it was so wonderful.
She was so warm, and just meeting her, I was so nervous. I'm a huge Madonna fan, and she just embraced me as if I was her own son, which I played in the campaign. And I was only supposed to be in one of the shots, and she ended up bringing me to all of the shots in the campaign except for two, and it was one of the best days of my life. It was amazing.
TeenTV: Cymphonique, talk about your music and the music on the show. What style of music is it?
Cymphonique: We recorded many songs, like, a lot, but the type of music on the show, is definitely not just limited to hip hop. We have pop, rock, R&B, and hip hop, and we even do ballads, and I even have a duet with Max. So, yes, there are no limits with Gravity 5. We just have all sorts of music on the show. We'll have a sound track for the show, and then after, I'll have my own album.
TeenTV: Are there any themes or messages in the music on the show?
Max: Every song has a message, just like the show, Kacey really learns a lesson in every episode, and each song really portrays that message or another message, and it's awesome music too. So it's great.