Rolling Out

‘Empire’ star Serayah McNeill explains how she gets ready for her sassy role as Tiana

EMPIRE: Serayah McNeill in the “Be True” episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Oct. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.
Image provided by The Garner Circle PR group

Now, we all know that last season the explosive show “Empire” took the world by storm. They introduced powerful characters like Cookie and, of course, the infamous Lucious Lyon. But, we also got a chance to see the sassy, sexy and fierce new talent Tiana Brown played by Serayah McNeil.

Find out how McNeil feels about being a part of a show like “Empire” and her character Tiana.

With “Empire” being your first acting role, how does it feel to be on set with veterans Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson?
I would say it’s surreal. Overtime, I get to see them or be in a scene with them. They work so magically together and I see how they become their characters. And, for me, it took the pressure off of myself to be one with my character. It’s very inspiring, I would say.

Who do you connect with more on set?
I would have to say Jussie [Smollett] and Terrence [Howard] for sure!

On this season of “Empire,” will we be seeing your character Tiana Brown more?
Yes! Just like you got a glimpse last Wednesday, you got a chance to see Tiana in a different setting. And, we’re still filming so I’m excited about some future episodes. There are still some scenes that are going to be epic and all my Tiana fans are going to love it even more! I get so excited for the reveal of the show.

What’s the hardest thing you have to do to get yourself prepared for your character?
I don’t know how I do it. I just try to become different emotions that I think she has. I’m also really laid back and I don’t want that influence in my character, because Tiana is very much not like me. So, that’s one of the things I try to do before a scene.

Rolling out hears you have an EP coming out soon. Tell us more about it.
I’m still recording and we’re still trying to figure out what songs we want to be a part of the project: what singles to put out. I’m really excited about that and to start performing so I can incorporate Tiana songs from “Empire.” And, people will gain the same love for my music. It’s definitely coming out soon. I’m putting together my video, so I’m just really excited.

What’s the name of your first single?
The song is called “Keep Up”

Which artists do you like to compare yourself to in today’s music world or the past?
Aw, man. I would love to be compared to a fusion of artists. Sometimes, I feel like I’m Toni Braxton, or Aaliyah and sometimes like I would see Brittney Spears, when I perform. So, yes, it’s definitely a fusion. And, sometimes I have these R&B moments of Toni Braxton, but chill like Aaliyah or during my performances I feel like I’m Janet Jackson. I’ve grown up with all these different genres of music and my music is going to be really influential for my project.

Serayah Mcneill’s EP will be dropping soon, so be on the lookout. Until then, stay tuned every Wednesday night to Fox-TV for her role as Tiana on “Empire.”

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