Sophia Hammons is an actress in the television series Up Here. Up Here is a musical romantic comedy series. The series is set in New York City in 1999. Sophia portrays the character of Celeste. YEM was able to speak with Sophia about what she knew about Up Here before auditioning, her favorite thing about playing Celeste, and if she has a favorite song she sang in Up Here that she is excited for people to see.
Young Entertainment Mag: What did you know about Up Here before auditioning? Did you have to audition with a song, if yes, what song did you choose?
Sophia Hammons: I didn’t know much about the show when I first auditioned, beside the fact that amazing people like Steven Levenson, Tommy Kail, Kristen and Bobby Lopez, and Mae Whitman were a part of it. For my audition I sang part of “All Through The Night” by Cyndi Lauper, and the first part of “To Really Know Someone” from the show. During a producer/director’s session, I actually had a voice crack the first time singing through “To Really Know Someone” so they let me sing it again…and I had another voice crack! But we all just laughed it off and they were so sweet about it.
YEM: When you found out that the creators were the same creators of Frozen what was your initial reaction? And what was it like working with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez? Did you get to learn something new about your acting or singing voice while working with them?
Sophia: I was so excited to have the opportunity to work with such talented people like them. When we were recording the songs in the studio, I was slightly nervous in the beginning, but they made it such a fun and playful environment and helped me feel comfortable and confident. One thing I learned recording with them is that body movement while singing actually makes a difference in how it sounds. You can somehow hear my smile in the songs!
YEM: What has been your favorite thing about playing Celeste? Did you learn anything about yourself while playing her?
Sophia: I’m a very calm and collected person, but Celeste allows me to let out any pent-up anger or anxiety because she just says what she thinks. But my favorite thing about playing Celeste was that I got to physically become her with fake braces, iconic 80s outfits, and frizzy hair.
YEM: If you met Celeste in real life, do you think the two of you would be friends?
Sophia: I honestly think I would hate Celeste if I met her in person. But that was my goal when trying to play her! I wanted her to be like the annoying voice in your head that’s always telling you to do the things you don’t want to do. However, I do think a version of Celeste lives inside my head already.
YEM: Celeste is someone from Lindsay’s past, did you do any research about the time period that she is in? What was that rabbit hole like?
Sophia: While preparing for the role, I created a playlist filled with songs she might listen to. It consists of Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, and more artists like that. I also read a lot of teen 80s magazines, it’s crazy how much our sense of fashion has evolved.
YEM: Do you have a favorite song you sang in Up Here that you’re excited for people to see? What episode is it in?
Sophia: My favorite song that I sang in the show is “It’s A Sign!” It was also my favorite sequence to film because there are so many funny moments, and it was really fun to be able to play around with them. However, my favorite song in the show is “Who Am I and Who Are You?” It has literally been on repeat since the soundtrack was released.
YEM: What was the most challenging part of working on Up Here and how did you overcome it?
Sophia: The most challenging part of working on the series was having to leave my friends for the summer and move to the other side of the country. However, filming this show allowed me to make new friends and become a part of the “Up Here” family.
YEM: What’s one acting First that you had to do for Up Here that you’ve never done before?
Sophia: I’ve never filmed a musical before or even a series, so there have been a lot of firsts for me on this project. When filming any musical sequences, we would actually sing over the back track so that it would look the most real and that was nerve racking at first, but turned out to be really fun for me.
YEM: Do you ever get nervous before filming a scene? If yes, what do you do to help balance those nerves so that it doesn’t show on screen?
Sophia: Toward the beginning of the shoot, I was nervous knowing I was working with all of these experienced triple threats, but our directors, cast, and crew made it such a loving set. I never felt uncomfortable and if I were to mess up in a take, we would joke about it and start again. Mae actually helped me a lot with calming my nerves. She would tell me stories from early in her career that were really comforting.
YEM: Did you get to go into the studio and record the songs for Up Here? What was that experience like?
Sophia: Yes, we recorded all the songs in a studio. It was so cool to see them piecing everything together as I was singing. The process actually created a love for recording music that I didn’t know I had!
YEM: What message do you hope the audience takes away after watching Up Here?
Sophia: I think one of the great things about this show is that it’s so relatable. Viewers are really going to be able to connect with the ups and downs of Lindsay and Miguel’s relationship. But I hope the audience takes away that the voices inside our heads are sometimes right, usually wrong, but they make us who we are.
YEM: If you were to describe Celeste in 3 emojis what would they be?
Sophia: I would describe Celeste as the rolling eyes emoji because she’s constantly rolling her eyes at Lindsay, the brain emoji because she lives inside Lindsays head, and the pink bow emoji because it’s her signature color!
“Working with people with positive attitude in this industry is very rare especially during music events where a lot of known personalities are present. Hence, hosting an event like this should always be prepared. “