YEM Interview: Jordana Lilly speaks about making her Jewish Holiday EP “All I want for Hanukkah”

Jordana Lilly is an actress, writer, and singer. She has a new holiday EP being released today titled All I want for Hanukkah. This EP is a Jewish original holiday EP that she made to represent jews during the holidays. YEM was able to speak with Jordanna about what she is most excited about when it comes to her EP, wanting to be the next Rachel Bloom, and Larry Saperstein directing her next music video.

Young Entertainment Mag: What was it like being a Disney cast member and how did it lead you to where you are now?

Jordana Lilly: Being a Disney cast member was such an instrumental chapter of my lil journey in so many ways. Aside from all of the amazing friendships I cultivated over my 6 years with the company, my time at the parks also introduced me to immersive theater (a type of theater where you break the fourth wall and essentially act all up in the audience’s face) I absolutely fell in love with it, and immersive theater has been such a big part of my life since! Also, I really enjoyed being a part of something everyone was proud of for such an extended period of time. A lot of people in LA, especially in entertainment, have a “I have cooler places to be than here with you” vibe going on, and it was a great lesson to be perfectly stoked, excited and proud to be exactly where we were, making magic for people. I try to apply it to everything and be perfectly stoked to be with whoever I’m with, doing whatever I’m doing, at all times!

YEM: You have a new EP, what are you most excited about? And what are you most excited for people to take away from it?

Jordana: I have always had an unhealthy obsession with Christmas songs and romcoms, despite going to synagogue 2-4 times a week and not celebrating Christmas. I loved singing Christmas music so much, I used to join my friends in their caroling endeavors – I even joined my friend’s Christian youth group just so I could sing Christmas songs with them! My only qualm with holiday music is and has always been…and yes, I see you Adam Sandler and ILY but…where are the Hannukah bops at?! Like where is our Ariana Grande yummy warm crispy pop but make it Jewish?! So this year, I decided to do something about it 😈 It was a very last minute decision – made the call to do an original holiday EP about a month ago and we THREW this thing together at lightning speed and listen…I don’t wanna toot my own horn unless I’m the conductor of the Polar Express BUT I think writing holiday songs might be my calling?!? I’m proud of every single one of these five songs on the EP, but I think I’m mainly just excited to spread good vibes and holiday cheer, and represent all my fellow holiday music loving Jews and provide us some bops to close out Hannukah RIGHT!

YEM: You do far more than just music: produce, write, act etc.. What’s been your favorite part and what pushes you to do more?

Jordana: I don’t have a favorite baby when it comes to my passions because I’m chronically indecisive (I’ve had to re-park my car in the Trader Joe’s parking lot because 90 minutes when you’re choosing between 4 types of granola, is not enough, that’s how you know it’s really bad), so the plan I’ve been implementing has essentially been to fling paint everywhere in the hopes that a lot of it will stick! I went to college for theatre, acting was my first passion aside from singing in the shower and writing fan fiction from Hermione’s muggle parents’ POV, but over the past five years especially, I’ve fallen in love with screenwriting, immersive theater, playwriting, songwriting, comedy, and pretending to be a pop-star. No matter what the medium is though, the collaboration component is always the best part – whether it’s finding that bass riff that we didn’t know my song needed with my music producer, bouncing ideas around with my writing partner and striking gold, or blacking out from being so in the moment while performing music live with my best friend, being in flow with others is my favorite thing in the world and I plan on following that feeling wherever it leads!

YEM: So we read somewhere that you want to be the next Rachel Bloom? What is it about her that you aspire to be? (actually one of my favorite quotes I’ve heard her say was that “laziness is a form of being scared” and it really stuck with me)

Jordana: Rachel Bloom is my messiah…JK ours hasn’t come 🤣. As an awkward Jew with loads of anxiety who learned to escape through musical theater and comedy television, when I discovered “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” I felt more seen and inspired than I had in SO long. I have always aspired to create musicals with tons of heart, heightened forms of comedy on screen, television shows with characters you fall in love with, and movies that bring attention to mental health topics – when she really just combined all of these in a way that was larger than life yet incredibly intimate, my mind was BLOWN. I love her, she’s a boss with unapologetic confidence – she knows what she’s here to do and she dang does it! I admire that so much! I also definitely resonate with that quote too! It helps reframe and go from a word often filled with a lot of shame and non-movement to a very real feeling that we can confront, address, get underneath. Mental health queen!

YEM: How excited are you to have Larry Saperstein direct your next music video and what can you tell us about it? Did he tell you anything about his time on High School Musical the Musical the Series? Isn’t it such an incredible show (such amazing talent)

Jordana: Working with Larry has been absolutely incredible, he’s a talent and a mensch, a gentleman and a scholar! He is definitely a go-getter and a consummate professional, and has been soaking up so much knowledge from being on set so much that he has been able to apply everything he does. He knows exactly how to best work with the camera in a musical setting – anticipating/waiting for camera movements, making actions clean and concise, and, on his end, intuiting how things will cut together because of all his experience working in the filmed musical space. It’s truly an honor to work with and be friends with him! 🙂

YEM interview with Larry Saperstein:

YEM: If you could be on any show right now to showcase your multiple talents, which would it be and why?

Jordana: I would absolutely love to be in my own show – just shot a 35 minute pilot episode for a comedy series I wrote, “Psychic School,” last year, and it was one of the most fulfilling and fun experiences of my life! It’s finished and we just submitted to our first batch of festivals – the DREAM would be if it got picked up by a studio (and I got to play the lead and be head writer of course hehe). I just finished fleshing out the first few seasons and it has so many places to go, I would love to see it through! I also have a musical comedy pilot I would love to manifest into existence soon as well!

 Listen to Jordana’s EP All i want for Hannukah here!