Published on January 8th, 2019 | by Landon Buford0
Simonna on the New Year, New Movie Projects, and Standing up for Rita Ora
Simonna (https://www.instagram.com/therealsimonna) is a Lithuanian-born, award-winning singer and actress who released her first album at the age of 12. As one of the most-watched young talents in her native country, Simonna can be on seen on MTV and some of the country’s most popular TV programs. Having now relocated to the U.S., she has quickly begun to get a foothold in both music and film with her records being Grammy-considered three years in a row and having landed roles in several films to be released in 2019, including The Great Illusion (starring Selma Blair and Graham Greene), Crazy for the Boys (Cheri Oteri), and The Blackstone (whose soundtrack she also contributed to) – to name a few. I had the chance to catch up with Simonna to discuss what inspires her, upcoming projects, and more.
You began singing at the age of three. What inspired you to start?
I was always a stage person. When I was 2, we were on a cruise with my parents. One night as I saw a singer who was performing. I jumped up on stage with her and began dancing, singing and performing. When they could see that I wasn’t going to stop, they gave me my own microphone (but turned off, obviously). I wound up “performing” all night with the singer. My parents instantly knew I was born for it. It was something I wanted before I could even say the word “entertainment”! So at age 3, I began taking singing classes. I had 3 or more rehearsals a week. And the older I got, the more professional this all got. I feel like God blessed me with so many opportunities so that I could follow my dream.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when you are creating music?
Experience. I have been through a lot in life. So many experiences shaped me as a person and provided me with the knowledge that fueled an even stronger passion for life, which in turn made me work even harder to follow my dream and achieve my goals. And then there’s also the love for music itself, which is inspiring too. When I was growing up, my vocal and stagecoaches had me performing famous cover songs. When you’re constantly listening to and working with music, you start getting your own ideas and begin creating your own music. Simply just being around and “living” music is the inspiration in itself.
Who are some of the vocalists that you grew up listening to and admired?
So many amazing artists. Gladys Knight, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney of course, who is an icon for many people of my generation. I also grew up listening to new artists like John Legend and Rita Ora, who I recently defended in the media after the Thanksgiving Day parade. I just couldn’t sit back and watch everyone questioning her talent. To me, Rita is one of the best singers out there. I also love old, classic songs too, from artists like Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, James Brown – and of course the icon Aretha Franklin, who is one of the biggest role models of almost every female singer. Her songs still inspire me every day.
Exactly!! You got that right! You know this girl doesn’t lip sync it’s not my world! Now let me go find some turkey!! https://t.co/GmC5TCMBSx
— Rita Ora (@RitaOra) November 22, 2018
What was your first reaction when you first found out that your single “Every Time You Need Me” was being placed on such platforms as Nickelodeon, MTV (US, UK, Australia, Canada, etc.) and Revolt?
I was so happy – I can’t even fully express it! Whenever you write a song or make a music video, of course, you want people to see it. And knowing that my videos are played in retail stores and on TV and that my music is being heard, is the best feeling in the world! I do not do what I do for views or fame. I have such a huge love for music and for movies, and I want to share that love with everybody. I want to create amazing music that makes people happy. I want to make amazing movies that are meaningful and inspire people. I want to share the love that I have for entertainment with everybody. We can’t live without art any more than we can live without love.
Are there any new music projects that you are currently working on?
In 2019 I’m focusing more on movies, just like I did in 2018. I am working on some amazing projects that I feel will be really big and life-changing. But music is part of who I am; I’ll never stop singing and making music. Even now, I’m involved in the soundtracks for a few of my movie project. Some I can’t mention just yet but will be announcing them as soon as I’m able. I feel like it’s going to be an exciting year!
Why did you decide to attend the New York Film Academy College instead of USC?
The New York Film Academy is amazing. I went there for the first time in 2010 when I came to Los Angeles. I instantly fell in love with the Academy, its staff, and the musical film program. The possibility to work on the back lots of these studios where some of the most amazing movies have been made, to be exposed to incredible industry professionals, all was so exciting. It’s really a place that provides so many opportunities for their students to learn and follow their dreams. I also have a Victim Advocacy certification as well as a Bachelor of Arts of Communication degree. I just graduated in May! [https://instagram.com/p/BjSvrAkAmdc/] School has always been very important to me. I love learning and never want to stop. I’m learning every day while on set, and continue acting classes. I read books, watch documentaries, do exercises, rehearsals. I am so blessed because right now I have the most amazing mentor. She’s so brilliant, intelligent, and with an enormous experience in the entertainment industry, she’s sending me documentaries, articles, advice about what books I should read for acting techniques. She’s really the best adviser I could ask for.
You are currently filming “The Blackstone.” Can you talk to us about your character in the film?
Yes. This movie is unique, exciting and scary. I feel like I’m playing the coolest character – a ghostly woman. I always wanted to play some interesting and different. And when I landed this role, it felt like my dream just came true. Being a ghost is so much fun – such a creepy look with the makeup and wardrobe. I can’t wait for you all to see it! I get to do all the crazy things in acting that I never thought I’d do. I had another role a few months ago where I was covered in dirt and locked in a cage. So much fun!
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I really love my job 🎬📽😂 One of the craziest things I’ve had to do on set – sit in a cage! Looks fun, right? 😅👀 – To be honest, I don’t know how I could live without acting. 🎞It makes my life extremely interesting and exciting. 😀🙌🏽 I can’t imagine a day without acting (on set or just rehearsals). Movies & shoots; many different roles & exciting characters – it all makes my life complete. And hey, I get to do all the crazy things I never thought I’d do😀 For example, a few months ago I couldn’t even imagine myself covered in dirt and locked in a cage😀👀⚔️💣⛓ I have been a ghost; a detective; Hollywood diva; blondie girl; glam-sassy celeb influencer(yes, in a movie), a receptionist; a cheerleader; a special agent; and yes, this role – caged girl. WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE. I can’t even explain to you guys how much I love my job. I feel so blessed and to thankful for every single opportunity. My life couldn’t be more interesting & exciting.
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One of my most exciting roles!!! I must say, it’s really weird to see myself in the screen as a ghost but it’s so exciting. Being a ghostly woman is so much fun. Love this creepy make up, dress and look! @the.blackstone.movie is going to be just amazing. Creepy, scary and really exciting! Can’t wait for you all to see it.😅🎥👻🎬☠️🕸🦇🕷
What are some things that you enjoy in your downtime?
Like I mentioned before, I love learning. I read books, watch movies, documentaries, listen to music. And I love cooking too! I don’t eat meat or fish myself, and I admit that’s not my favorite thing to cook. But I love sweets, so I love to bake pies, cupcakes, and cookies.
Do you have any business ambitions outside of the entertainment industry?
I am a very passionate animal advocate. I have a victim advocacy degree and use it to support animal rights. Animals are just like us: they feel pain, they bleed the same as us, and they love just like we do. But unfortunately, they cannot talk or tell us if something is wrong or if they are hurt. That’s why we need to speak for them. I am a big supporter of Peta and many other animal rights organizations. I’d really love to open my own shelters someday, like disaster shelters so that we could help save wild animals affected by fires or hurricanes or other disasters when they happen. It’s a very big dream and hopefully, someday it will come true. Until then, I try to be there for the animals by supporting their rights. I also have some entertainment-related business projects. And I have a perfume line and I want to launch a makeup line in collaboration with some amazing makeup brand.