Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous
By Noah Michelson
Is there anyone in Hollywood that you'd want to see playing the role of Jem?
I don't know. Personally, selfishly, I'd love it if they did some kind of awesome 3-D animated movie where all the voice actors that originally were involved could revive their rolls. I think that'd be really cool. It'd be awesome to be Jem again.
So if you got a call tomorrow and they asked you to reprise your role, you'd be up for it?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I reflect on it all the time -- what a lovely opportunity I was given back then and if I could reach more people with the message and the sweetness of the show, I'd be down in a heartbeat. I'd love that.
You put out an album last year and you've getting songs played on MTV and different television shows.
Yeah, my record got licensed to MTV and that was actually quite recently, so it's going to be in their library. I actually don't know what it's been used on until I get a check from ASCAP and then it gives me the breakdown and I'm like, 'Ooh, it was on such-and-such.' I just got one the other day and one of my songs was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show! I was so excited because I love her. I have songs in the Warner telepictures library so they used one of my songs on her show. I've been trying to find the episode but I haven't been able to so far.
Where did the song 'Jem Boy' come from?
I was working with this producer/writer in Nashville and we were originally just going to write together -- we didn't intend to do a record together -- and I was telling him about the Jem fan base. I said, 'There are so many fans all over the world and I would love to bridge the gap from Jem to my music world, which has always been there, because so many of them don't realize that I sing.' So I was telling him about the fan base and especially the boys. It's a given that the show was for girls but there are so many boys who watch the cartoon -- gay boys, straight boys, just lots of boys. I came back to the studio a couple of nights later and he said, 'I should have waited for you to cowrite this but'' and he ran with it. He wrote 'Jem Boy' and it was so campy, I loved it immediately.
I read that Jem was originally a 7-minute cartoon they played in between two other longer cartoons aimed at boys. The creators wanted to reach female viewers, but they wanted there to be enough action for the boys so that wouldn't change the channel.
They had great storylines. It was like a soap opera for kids with all the different characters and subplots. And there were enough car chases and all the things the boys liked to keep them watching. And the girls got all the fashion and the music videos and the girlie stuff.
And I know there were a lot of boys -- myself included -- who didn't care about the action and just wanted more of the girlie stuff.
[Laughs.] There was something for everybody.
Did working on Jem influence your music at all?
Not really. I've always been a fan of '80s music, growing up with Madonna and Pat Benetar and all that. So in that regard, I'm sure some of those songs were influenced by the artists that were out at the time but I've just pulled from so many different kinds of music. For a long time I didn't even know where I fit as an artist because I love pop and I love singer-songwriter and I love country and electronica. I was like, 'Oh God, who am I?' I feel like I finally figured that out and that's a nice place to finally be.
What else are you working on besides your music?
I'm mostly focused on the music right now, though there is a guy in Nashville who got a hold of me and he's doing a project that seems to be along the lines of a Robot Chicken kind of parody and he wants to hire me to do some voice-over stuff. So that'll be really fun. Otherwise I'm just writing songs for my next record. I'm working with a couple of different writers, so I'm full on with that.
Did you tour with the last album?
I'm doing this independently so I don't have the big guns behind me to fund a tour, but what was really cool was that at a lot of the conventions I was invited to attend I played live. It was really fun. I got to meet the Jem fans and then they got to come to a concert. Last year when I went to JemCon in Los Angeles I was doing a concert and there were a bunch of people dressed as the Holograms and they looked so amazing so I said, 'I need my girls! I need my band!' These girls came up on stage behind me while I was singing one of my songs off my album and I was backed up by the Holograms. It was a pretty cool moment. All I was missing was my pink hair.
Have you ever dressed up as Jem?
Not completely, but when I was in Atlanta at the convention they asked me to dress up and I didn't have the whole outfit but I had the pink wig and I had the makeup. I've got pictures on my MySpace page. That was the closest I've gotten. I need to work it one year, maybe for Halloween? I'm not really a show off kind of person, so it'd just be strange. It'd be like, 'Who are you? Jem?' and I'd be like, 'Yeah. I am. I really am!' [Laughs.]