If you are a kid, you probably watch YTV. If you’re a parent, your kid probably watches YTV. On the channel, there are shows like Spongebob Squarepants, Sam and Cat, Fairly Odd Parents, iCarly, Victorious and more fun shows! In a spin-off of the VERY popular talent competition show The Next Star, you’ll be voting for the next super group on The Next Star: SuperGroup
The show, premiering on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, young singers try to beat other contestants with singing, and the prize is big – a 2-song recording contract with SONY record label and a management deal with 21 Entertainment, who handles the careers of already-stars like Fefe Dobson, JoJo and Kreesha Turner. Singers like Alyssa Reid was a contestant and is one of the most-heard artists on radio, so the stakes are high!
So, what’s the diference between The Next Star and The Next Star: SuperGroup? Now, you have probably heard or watched American Idol, right? Well, instead of one person performing for the judges, there are groups of five people! The show will follow the paths of the 30 finalists who travel to Toronto and compete in groups of five while they are mentored by an expert panel featuring Cory Lee from Degrassi: The Next Generation and Instant Star and music producer and songwriter Damon Sharpe from Big Time Rush. They’ll be joined by So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s choreographer Nico Archambault and vocal coach Sarah Morrison from Canadian Idol and Canada’s Got Talent. You can bet there will be a whole lot of drama between the groups, laughter, tears, great singing and dance moves, too. Some of the contestants on The Next Star: SuperGroup are people who you might remember from The Next Star like Ryan Hawken and Amer Dhahliwal from Season 5, Parker Schmidt and Shania Fillmore from Season 4 and Mimoza Duot and Isabelle Stern from Season 3. These six could have an advantage because they know what it feels like to be on TV and to be in front of people. But will they have taken the advice from the past judges to make it through?
The host will be the talented Jordan Francis, who you might remember from Camp Rock, and he’ll be perfect with his laid-back style and stage experience.
I got the opportunity to talk to Cory Lee about The Next Star and how she feels being a mentor, and she was as nice and friendly as I thought she’d be!
A lot of performers have gotten their first start on the show. How did you get your first start?
I started singing and acting really young. I was like eight-years-old, and my mom enrolled me in like a musical theatre summer camp. After the camp was finished, the vocal coach pulled my mom aside and said, I see a lot of potential in your daughter, and I want to give her some vocal lessons if that’s okay with you. I started taking vocal lessons from that moment on for about seven years from this lady who actually is a huge inspiration to me. And she really helped push me to audition for a lot of musicals, and that’s how I started doing musical theatre. It wasn’t until I was in a musical – I was about 12 – and an acting agent came backstage and asked if I was interested in professional acting for TV and film. And that was the moment where I started acting. Most people think that I started acting before I started singing, but I actually starting singing before I started acting.
It happened really naturally. It sounds like that you have like a lot of inspirational role models and that your parents were also very supportive and really got you started with music, too.
They definitely did. I feel like that’s totally key. It becomes so much harder if your parents aren’t supportive of what you do. Like my mom, I remember, drove me to auditions all the time when I was like 12, 13. Like, if she didn’t do that I don’t know if I could have done all those auditions.
Definitely. Do you still keep in touch with your mentor who got you into singing lessons?
Yeah. Totally. She actually became really close with not only me but my mom and my dad. And so yeah. Her name is Pat Waldron. She’s a vocal coach in Vancouver. And yeah, definitely we talk usually once a year. I love her! She’s an awesome lady.
She sounds really cool. What kind of mentor would you be?
I’ve kind of seen the industry from many sides, and I definitely feel for a mentor to be the most beneficial, you have to be really supportive. You got to push people a little bit out of their comfort zone. But at the same time you got to give them all the facts. I didn’t want ever to do be kind of sheltered. I don’t want people to always tell me yes because it was all those no’s that made me strive even harder. So you have to be the right balance of supportive and like realistic to push them to their best place, that they can like shine brighter than they did before.
For those kids who haven’t seen the show before, but watch American Idol, if you could compare yourself to any judge there, who would be the closest to your style?
I would go with Jennifer Lopez. She’s very encouraging to the kids, but at the same time if she doesn’t like something she’ll definitely tell them and give them constructive criticism in hopes that they can get better for like the next week.
That’s how they can become more motivated, and like you said, strive harder. What would you say to the kids who love music and are just starting out? What should they be doing?
I always say it, but knowledge is power. They should learn as much as they can about whatever it is that they want to do, whether it’s singing or dancing or acting, and then take a lot of classes. Most people don’t realize how hard it is in the industry and how hard you have to work. And if you have the tools and the talent and the hard work to back you up eventually opportunity will meet preparedness.
That’s really good advice. You can do whatever you love, find out how to do it better and learn all you can, and you can build it into your career! What’s the one thing you wished you knew when you started performing in music or acting that you know now?
I wish when I was younger someone told me that I was going to really, really, really have to work hard because I had to almost learn how hard I had to work. I tell people you have to work so much harder than you’re working right now because it takes so much more than you realize.
When I started just with We Day, I didn’t really know how hard it was going to be because I thought that I would just have to write and memorize my speeches, and then that would be it. But there’s so much more to learn about it, like how to edit the speech, and how to actually speak in front of a crowd.
Totally. Even what you love to do, at some point it does becomes work, you know? And it’s only because we love it so much that we push through those moments that we aren’t necessarily having tonnes of fun because at some point in what we do it feels like work.
I agree! Let’s go back a bit. What’s been the best part on being on Degrassi and your favourite scene so far?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. Probably my favourite moment was when I found out that I got the role! I had done another show, Instant Star, with the same production company. That show really opened a lot of doors, and a lot of the people on the crew, like the hair stylists and the makeup artists, and even like the cameramen, they’re the same from Instant Star onto Degrassi. So when I found out I got the role on Degrassi, not only was it an awesome opportunity, it was like going home to family. And I knew I was going to see all these people that I loved so much on a daily basis, and it’s like not only was it an awesome job, it was an awesome job with awesome people associated with it.
That’s so nice – liking the people you work with is so important, it must really feel like a team effort. What are you listening to now?
The last album I downloaded from iTunes would have been the Beyoncé album. Oh. I love me some Beyoncé as she’s calling herself now. I think the album is awesome. I really like her and respect her for not only being an awesome artist but she really feels like she’s the captain of her ship, which I think is really cool.
Definitely. Like a leader. A lot of people look up to you because of your success and drive. I write a lot about being eco-friendly and wondering if you do anything to be more eco-friendly at home or on the road.
Actually this is an amazing question for me. Most people don’t know, but parents are environmental consultants. I have lived a green life longer than pretty much anyone else that I know. We were recycling, we had a compost. We were doing all these amazing things way before they were popular.
Your parents were being eco-friendly as a job!
Yeah, that’s what they do. Like, I don’t even know another way of living. I always recycle. I always try to be green. I think the Earth is precious, and we need to preserve it for as long as we can.
That is so cool!
No one’s ever asked me that question before, so that’s awesome! I mean it’s hard being eco-friendly sometimes, but you do what you can. If we all just do what we can it’s going to add up and it’s going to be better for the environment.
How great is it that Cory’s parents are environmental consultants? Now we know where Cory gets her kindness about not just people, but the planet! So, get ready Canada, and start voting for your next supergroup on The Next Star: Supergroup!