Compared to the likes of “Hannah Montana’s” megastar Miley Cyrus, you wouldn’t know it by the look or sound of her, but multi-talented singer and songwriter, actress and dancer, Montana Tucker is already reaching career heights at just 15 years of age. Perhaps it’s her innate passion as a performer, and perhaps it’s partially fueled by her drop dead looks, but something has driven this teen star to stardom so early in her years.
A native Floridian, in order to further her singing and acting career she has recently made the move to Tinsel Town. Montana began modeling at the age of eight and quickly became one of the most sought out child models in Florida and NY. Montana soon after caught the attention of producers and directors and began booking national commercials, music videos, and television shows.
At the young age of just twelve, Montana had a resume that resembled what someone twice her age could only achieve, which included nine national commercials, covers of magazines and a national TV show.
FanBolt had the pleasure of sitting down with Montana to discuss her career, her future, and how a triple-threat 15 year-old stays grounded. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell me a little bit about how you were discovered.
When I was around 8 or 9 I started modeling, and I started doing a bunch of ads for Sports Authority, Limited Too, and Macy’s. When I was on all of these different shoots, the photographers would ask me if I knew how to dance, I had never had any dance lessons at that point. So I went to this workshop with Darrin Henson (known for his work with Britney Spears and NSYNC), and he came up to my parents after the workshop and said that we needed to move to LA or New York, that I would be working every day.
Instead of moving, my mom actually opened a dance company called Pop Stars, as a hip-hop training center. She brought all the choreographers from New York and LA to Florida. She brought Shane Sparks, Dave Scott, Wade Robson, and all the different choreographers to Florida, so that’s how I really got started with dancing. With the company, we opened and performed with a lot of different people. I actually won the World Hip-Hop championships.
I started dancing with Ashanti as a backup dancer, and then other people as well. And I realized… hey, I want to be that performer! I want to have fans screaming my name! Just thrill of dancing on stage, is such an amazing feeling being on stage and having people write me on MySpace. It’s just such an amazing thing.
I started taking voice lessons about a year and half ago with Betty Wright (best known from Making The Band 3, she’s worked with John Legend, Gloria Estefan, Beyonce). My singing career just took off from there. I’ve been recording, and I’m on the Step Up 2 soundtrack with a song called “Ain’t No Stressin”. It was actually a MySpace contest that I won which got me on the soundtrack. MySpace has really helped my career.
Who are you musical influences?
Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Britney in the beginning [laughs], Janet Jackson of course. I really admire Jennifer Lopez though, because she started off as a dancer, just as I did, and she became a singer. Her strongest point isn’t singing, it’s her performing, and that’s how it is with me, it’s my performing. She also acts and has a clothing line and a makeup collection, and that’s something I want to do when I get older as well.
I’ve been compared to JLO a lot. One of my songs that I recorded a year ago, called “Mile In These Shoes”, she now sings, and it was used in a promo for Desperate Housewives. I also came close to a movie she did called An Unfinished Life with Robert Redford. I got the part to play JLO’s daughter, but they ended up changing the part for the kid, and they wanted a girl that looked more like Robert Redford.
You’ve been a backup dancer for a number of singers including Ashanti and Ashley Simpson just to name a few, which one has been the most exciting for you to work with?
The concert I did with Ashanti and the Sarah Hughes and Friends ice skating event which aired on NBC. That was really cool. And also when I performed with Remy Ma, there were 50,000 people there in New Jersey at Giant’s stadium. Those were my first times being in front of really large crowds, so it was really exciting.
Now do you get nervous performing in front of that many people?
You know, I never get nervous. It’s just exciting. It’s like ‘Omigosh, I can’t believe this is happening’.
So you feel exhilarated?
Yes, definitely, that’s the word! [Laughs]
How do you balance everything with your career being so young?
When you hear about a kid in the industry, people think they’re going to end up like a Britney or a Lindsay. I think you just have to have the grounding. It’s really hard when you’re in this industry, and people always tell you yes. It doesn’t really ground you, but my parents are really strict. And sometimes I don’t like it [laughs], but I know it’s for my best. They really watch me with everything. My school work is also really important to my parents, and I am still enrolled in my school back in Florida. When I’m gone, I have a teacher with me that communicates with them. So I’m still in school, I’m still in all my honor classes, and if I don’t make all A’s and B’s then I can’t do this career. School is definitely number one. But this is what I want to do, and I’m really focused on my career.
Do you have any plans at the moment to release an album?
We’re looking at labels and trying to decide between different offers. I’ve been recording, but we just have to find the label that is the best fit. So once we get that figured out, I’ll be working on an album. I haven’t really gotten to work on writing songs, because I’ve been more focused on singing and performing, but I’m getting the chance now to write some of my own songs.
Now you were also on the Nick and Jessica’s show Newlyweds correct? What did you do on that show?
Yes, I was. I actually danced for the Ashlee Simpson at the Orange Bowl. Nic and Jessica came to that when they were filming the reality series, so the dancers were all on there.
I know you mentioned you wanted to design clothing and have a makeup line. When you look at your life 10 to 15 years from now, what is your ultimate career goal?
A lot of artists out there just come out with 1 or 2 songs, and then they’re done. I really don’t want that. I do act, I am interested in having my own clothing line. I just want to get my music out there, start doing movies and television shows, and just keep building. I want this to be my career; I want to keep building it.
What kind of clothing could you see yourself designing? Is there a certain designer that you really love their style and could see your designs being somewhat similar to?
Well my style is kind of flashy. I like gold and silver. Because I’m only 15, I’d want to do a line for teens. Most of the lines that are out there for teens aren’t that flashy, hip style. I want to come out with something new and unique with a little bit of my style incorporated in. I think that would be pretty cool.
As far as designers that I really like, I really love Beyonce’s line and JLO’s line. They really did a great job.
What are you working on now?
We just got to LA, I’ve been busy rehearsing for things coming up here. And also, we’re trying to figure out the whole label situation. I’m also going to be doing a song with a really big rapper that’s out right now, can’t say who, but he’s going to be on one of my songs. That will be coming out in a couple months. It’s a pretty exciting thing to look out for! [Laughs]
Now talking about the acting, the singing, and the dancing, could you ever see yourself doing something like Broadway? Would that ever be something that would appeal to you?
Broadway is an amazing thing, but that’s not really what I want. My training is in hip-hop and pop, and that’s really what my passion is. It’s a great thing though. In the future maybe, but right now that’s not something that I’m looking at.
Do you have any must see TV shows?
I really don’t have a lot of time to watch TV, but when I do, I really love Making The Band and The Hills. You know a show where I can’t believe the things they say… Like Flava Flav or I Love New York. They are crazy! It’s like so bad, but you can’t help but watch it when it’s on! [Laughs] So when I see that, I just can’t look away!
Interview By: Emma Loggins