Kyla Carter is currently starring as ‘CJ Suki’ in the new DreamWorks animated series “TrollsTopia” streaming on Hulu and Peacock. She can also be seen starring as the same character in the Netflix series “Trolls The Beat Goes On”. Kyla’s single “Because You’re You” from Season 4 of the Netflix series soundtrack has become a hit with Trolls fans and beyond, garnering over 28K-streams on YouTube alone. As a singer/songwriter herself, Kyla has plans to release more original music in the new year. YEM spoke with Kyla about using her voice in the Trolls Universe!
Young Entertainment Mag: How did you get started as an actor and a singer?
Kyla Carter: I started my professional television career when I was age 5 and was cast as Hattie the Witch in the Nickelodeon series “WALLKAZAM!” and Young Nora in the HBO series “THE LEFTOVERS.” My professional stage career began at age 8 when I was cast in the Broadway National Tour of “The Sound of Music,” directed by three time Tony Winner, Jack O’Brien. I toured the USA and Canada for 18 months, performed over 500 shows, visited 50 cities and 26 states, and never missed a single day of work or school on the road! My love of acting was inspired by Shirley Temple.
YEM: What is it like to be a character on two Trolls animated series? How is voice acting different to acting live?
Kyla: It is very surreal to see a cartoon version of yourself on the television! When I auditioned for the role of CJ Suki for Trolls The Beat Goes On, I had to sing a pop song. Therefore, I knew if I booked the job, I would be singing in the show. However, I did not know that CJ Suki was going to have her own pop song written just for her! Recording my very first pop song in the studio for DreamWorks Trolls was an amazing experience that I will never forget. In fact, my love of pop music began with CJ!
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! However, there is nothing like performing on stage for 5000 people and hearing the roar of their cheers when I come out to bow!
YEM: Who is your character CJ Suki who appears in both TrollsTopia and Trolls the Beat Goes On.
Kyla: CJ Suki was originally part of the DreamWorks animated series “Trolls the Beat Goes On.” She was created based on some of my own features, like freckles and blue eyes. She is a pop singer, a spunky firecracker and loves her Aunt DJ!
YEM: Other voiced actors include Amanda Leighton, Megan Hilty, and Skylar Astin – what is the process like in creating Trolls and do you get to meet other cast members during takes?
Kyla: 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. Recently, I met Lauren Mayhew who plays Val Thundershock. She is super funny and really cool!
YEM: What has been your favorite moment so far?
Kyla: Working for DreamWorks Animation the last four years has been a DREAM JOB with a DREAM TEAM of amazing creative directors. I am so proud and honored to be part of a franchise with great music, positive messages around friendship, and lots of fun humor!
YEM: What is the message behind your Trolls hit single “Because You’re You.”
Kyla: “Because You’re You” has become a fan favorite with over 33K views on my YouTube channel! CJ Suki is trying to encourage her Aunt DJ to be true to herself, because she is perfect just the way she is. Aunt DJ is her hero and she aspires to be just like her.
YEM: TrollsTopia is about the Trolls trying to connect with different tribes of Trolls with different musical specialties. Why do you think that the message of celebrating people’s differences is important today?
Kyla: We were all born to stand out no matter our differences. There is no fun in blending in! I think it’s so important to embrace what makes you unique and support and learn from those around you. I have been blessed with fans from across the world. I’ve been so lucky to learn from amazing humans living in Ghana, Nicaragua, Brazil, Britain, New Zealand, Guatemala, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, India and so many more.
YEM: How do you think music like the Trolls songs can make a positive impact on the world?
Kyla: The music is positive, happy and uplifting – something we all need to feel daily!
YEM: Trolls is about being passionate about music. What makes you passionate to create your music?
Kyla: I have been a professional actor since I was five years old. I have toured the USA for the last five years in two Broadway productions. I performed over 600 shows, visited over 75 cities, 35 states and performed for audiences of 5,000 people! My life has been really incredible, but I have missed a lot of “normal” childhood experiences. My lyrics are about the struggle, sacrifices, and drive to live my dream.
YEM: What kind of music do you love to make? Who are your musical inspirations?
Kyla: Writing music lyrics has always been a hobby of mine. And it has been a way to release my feelings and struggles. However, during 2020 I was given the gift of time to really discover who I am and the type of artist I want to be. With this time, I have been writing a ton of songs that are now being produced and released this year! I want my work to be remembered as honest, pure, and from the heart.
I’d love to record with Taylor Swift. I think she is a true role model for young artists. She is classy, insanely talented, and appreciates her fans. Her music is inspirational, relatable, and her sound is similar to mine.
YEM: Do you have any exciting new projects coming up?
Kyla: I love songwriting and have been actively writing songs to be produced for about a year. I am really excited to release my first single early this year. I am also excited to work on a new animated television series in the title role!