Kylie Cantrall is an actress, singer, and dancer. She is the star of the hit Disney Channel series, Gabby Duran and the Unsittables, which just released its second season. Kylie is also a part of the Disney animated film Ron’s Gone Wrong which premieres in October 2021. New music is also going to be released soon as well. YEM was able to speak with Kylie about how she gets into character, her songwriting process, and encouragement she has for young kids who also want to sing and act.
Young Entertainment Mag: What do you do to get into character when you play Gabby Duran?
Kylie Cantrall: I usually try to completely embrace my inner Gabby Duran before I shoot a scene. So usually that means I duck-tape a crew members car in the parking lot, kick a door down for no reason or drop a bucket of slime on my head! But if I don’t do those things than usually it’s just being prepared on my lines and getting some good sleep the night beforeJ
YEM: What’s one acting technique you picked up from a fellow cast member?
Kylie: Brent Clark (who plays Sky’s dad) has this brilliant technique he uses to remember all of his lines and it’s writing them on the inside of his hand with marker! I tried it a few times and it helped. The key is to use the right color shade of marker so that it’s not visible on camera. Also timing it out perfectly so that when the other actor says their line you can quickly glance at your hand without anyone catching you!
YEM: Talk about your experience on how you broke into You Tube as a young sensation. How did you come up with the idea and how has your channel evolved over time?
Kylie: When I was 8 years old, I used to be obsessed with this kid who did covers on you tube and his name was MattyB. One day I showed my dad one of his videos and I said to him “I want to make videos like this” but I didn’t just want to do covers I also wanted to do skits and talk about my love for Disney Channel. I think that’s how I manifested my Disney Channel show honestly! And recently I made set vlogs where I shot footage of me with the other actors on set and what a day in my life looks like! My channel has evolved throughout the years and even though I haven’t been super active on you tube lately, I definitely plan on making more vlog content in the near future.
YEM: When did you first become a Disney star, and how did you and the people around you react?
Kylie: I had been auditioning for Disney for about 2 years before I booked Gabby Duran. I guest appeared on a few other Disney shows like Bizaardvark and Ravens Home, ultimately landing the lead role of Gabby Duran at age 12. I had been so anxious to book a lead role and had been so frustrated with the number of times I came close to booking other roles so when I got the call that I booked the job for Gabby I remember feeling like “OMG finally!!!” but also extremely grateful and my friends and family we’re all over the moon!!
YEM: You write your own songs, which is phenomenal. What is the process of songwriting like for you?
Kylie: My process usually involves, having a sudden random concept pop into my head at the most random time. Usually when I’m about to fall asleep, in the car or on the toilet lol!! I’ll get a sudden idea, write it down and then later I’ll vibe to tracks and go through my concept book and see which concept works best with which track. Then the rest of the process is like lighting a match either it’ll catch and spread a “beautiful musical fire” or only a tiny little spark will flicker. All it takes is a great concept with a catchy melody and you never know when it’s going to happen but that’s what makes song writing so fun!
YEM: What encouragement do you have for young kids who want to act and sing?
Kylie: No dream is too big!!! Your only limitations are the ones you put up for yourself. Dream as big as possible, write all your goals down, visualize them and do something to work towards those goals every day. Even if it’s as little as singing your favorite songs on karaoke for your parents or filming a fake self- tape to play for your friends. If you work at your craft and practice every day, nothing can stop you!!!
YEM: Being in front of the camera is probably a normal thing for you now. What can you say is different between shooting for a film versus shooting a music video? Is one easier than the other?
Kylie: With filming a tv show it’s much more structured. With lines your required to say, a director that knows exactly how they want it to be performed and a set that’s already completely built before you get there. A lot of it is planned and prepared which means the actors are also planned and prepared and there’s much more that’s set-in stone. But when filming a music video, it feels like you don’t really know what to expect and you can just be yourself in front of the camera and are able to experiment and try different things out. So, music allows me to express more freely who I am.
YEM: What was your first music video that hit a million views, and what can you say it takes to get to that point?
Kylie: Well, on my you-tube series “Hello Kylie”, I would always include a cover song, with a music video. Episode 11 was my first video to pass the million mark. But as far as an “official” music video,??? That would be “Abraca DAB Bruh” 🙂 I shot that video when I was 11 and the crazy part was: we shot until 4 in the morning, blasting music in a downtown LA neighborhood. After the police showed up, with some noise complaints, we put a look-out at the end of the block and every time the police would roll by, he’d text us “kill the lights and the music”, so they thought everyone went home. Haha average life of an 11-year-old making a music video!!
YEM: It’s so neat that you were a voice actor for the animated film “Ron’s Gone Wrong.” What is it like to portray a character using just your voice?
Kylie: It was such a fun experience. I think the coolest part is that no one has to see you, so that means no hair and make-up trailer for an hour or two before shooting. You can literally fall out of bed and just hit the studio with sweatpants, messy bun and some Starbucks. (I guess you know now how I recorded most of this movie) 🙂
YEM: Your new single “Sad Boy” is coming up. How different is this song from the songs you’ve created in the beginning of your career?
Kylie: Well, the biggest change is that I’m signed to a record label now. So, that means we have this huge team helping us find tracks, pairing me with the right producers and calling in favors to put some amazing artist collaborations together for this next Single.
YEM: What did you pursue first – singing, acting, or dancing? And is there anyone that you’d like to focus on more than the other?
Kylie: Well, I grew up in a music household. My Dad is a music producer and my mom is a choreographer. So, I kinda got it from both sides and I made a decision at a pretty young age that I wanted to do music for a career. (I think I was 5) Haha. I really grew to love acting too but my true passion has always been music.
YEM: How have your career goals changed in the past few years?
Kylie: It’s kinda weird because my daily goals are the same. Be inspired to create the best possible art I can. It’s just that now I have a bigger team around me, and I’ve gone from shooting skits in my bedroom to a crew of 300 people, on a giant studio lot in Vancouver. But at the end of the day, it’s all about “entertainment” and I just want to give people a way to escape the stress of daily life and just jam out to a song or laugh at another episode of Gabby Duran running around with her Alien friends.
YEM: Who is the greatest inspiration in your life and what about them keeps you pursuing acting and singing?
Kylie: It might sound corny, but I really think about the greats who came before me Beyonce, Janet Jackson, JLO, Etc. And I think about how much work they put in to being “On Point”. It makes it easier to motivate at the end of a long 9-hour day, knowing that Beyonce would view 9 Hours as a half-day! Haha. (I guess I can push myself a little more) 🙂
YEM: Are you planning to go on tour, and what do you imagine it’s going to be like?
Kylie: I’ve been lucky that I’ve toured, in the past, to promote my other Singles. Maybe that’s why I was so affected by the isolation that COVID brought on. There is no feeling in the world like connecting with a crowd. You have this magical moment in every show where the audience and the artist are in perfect sync, sometimes it lasts for seconds, other times it lasts for song after song. Performing for a live audience is the BEST… It’s probably my favorite place to be so I’m hoping to be touring around to a town near you… soon!!!