Whether she’s recording her lines as CJ in the new animated series TrollsTopia, filming her latest song cover for YouTube, or working on an episode of her podcast, 14-year-old Kyla Carter is using her voice to make a positive difference. “I encourage those around me to always try to look at the bright side of life, dance in the rain, and be the SUPERHERO in your own story,” she says.
In this exclusive interview, the actress, singer, and songwriter shares her inspiring journey.
Q: Hi Kyla! Congrats on your roles in TrollsTopia & Trolls The Beat Goes On. Let’s rewind a bit: Tell us about what you were like as a little kid growing up on Long Island and how you discovered your passion for acting and singing.
A: Growing up in a beach town on Long Island has been a life filled with surfing, sunbathing, and swimming! My parents are teachers and my brother, who is only 13 months younger than me, is my best friend and biggest supporter. My love of acting was inspired by Shirley Temple. When I was four years old a commercial for the Shirley Temple DVDs came on the television and I begged my mom for the whole set. I watched every movie in color and black and white over and over, and I said to my mom, “I want to do what she does.”
Q: How did it go from a personal hobby to a professional career?
A: When I was 4 years old, the local teachers and I sang and danced and encouraged my parents to have me pursue acting professionally. By age 5, I had an agent and I booked my very first audition. I have been blessed ever since with amazing job opportunities.
Q: It’s so cool that you got to travel and perform in so many places, on a Broadway tour nonetheless! What was the biggest thing that experience taught you?
A: Traveling the country at such a young age was a whirlwind of experiences and emotions. I performed over 600 shows, visited over 75 cities, 35 states, and performed for audiences of 5,000 people! This experience has taught me to embrace whatever life throws at me, and to never sweat the small stuff. I have seen a lot of poverty and mental illness in our country and this has taught me to accept others for who they are, because there is beauty in everyone. I learned never to judge a book by its cover. I have also learned that it’s the “simple things in life that are MOST extraordinary.”
Q: What’s the difference between acting in on-camera roles and voice acting in the Trolls shows? I think our readers would love to hear what a typical day is like in the sound booth.
A: What is interesting about being a voice actress is that you are in the recording studio just for your character’s session. Many of the DreamWorks Trolls characters live in different parts of the United States, and we record remotely via video conferencing at a local studio. Another interesting fact about recording is that most lines are said 3-5 different ways and the creative team picks what they like best. A voice actor has to be able to think quickly on their feet and take direction fast! One time I was asked to say a line like Batman would say it! Creativity is key!
Q: Will you be releasing your own original music in 2021?
2020 has given me the gift of time. This year has been a year to really discover my love for song writing and develop the type of artist I want to be. I am so excited to announce that I currently have a few songs in production and they will be released in early 2021!
Q: What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
- Trust Yourself – you may have a lot of creative freedom when it comes to certain roles. Don’t overthink it. Go with your first instinct because it is most likely the best one.
- Be Confident – you will be criticized a lot. You may be too pretty, too perfect, too short, too tall, but remember to never take it personally and know that you are enough. You may not fit that role, but you may fit another down the road. Never change who you are.
- Stay Positive – if you love what you do, keep doing it. There is a lot of rejection, so again don’t take it personal. Keep grinding away because the right role may be just a phone call away.
- It is a Journey Not a Race – slow and steady will win the race. Never push for something that is not meant to be.
- Eyes On Your Own Paper – there are so many talented people out there. Support your competition, never be jealous, and focus on your goals. Do not worry what anyone else is doing, we all have our own amazing path in life!
Q: And what advice would you like to share with our readers?
A: Never compare yourself to others, be unique, and inspire those around you with positivity and kindness. I encourage those around me to always try to look at the bright side of life, dance in the rain, and be the SUPERHERO in your own story. And most importantly, ALWAYS live life, as I do, SUNNY SIDE UP!
Photos by Melissa Coleman