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Exclusive Interview: Selena Gomez

October 12th, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Actress Selena Gomez made her mark as Alex on the Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place but this 18-year-old also sings. On the heels of the release of her new album, A Year Without Rain, we spoke with the Grand Prairie, Texas, native by phone yesterday as we launch a new Selena Gomez page on Hulu. In addition to music videos for “Round and Round,” “Naturally” and “A Year Without Rain,” you can also tune in to Selena’s web series, “Girl Meets World,” which originally aired on YouTube. In the series, cameras follow the young star as she tours Europe for the first time. Selena — a big fan of Hulu, herself — tells us more below. — Rebecca Harper (rebecca.harper@hulu.com), Editor

Hulu: You said that you’re really excited to see your videos on Hulu. Do you use Hulu much?
Selena Gomez
I do, yes, because I love how clear most of the streams are, and it’s really easy and very simple, so I definitely love going on there. I like to watch some shows to catch up on things, but I never get to watch an actual series. I tend to trail off, but I try to see all the fun shows.

So tell us a little about Girl Meets World.
I did my first Europe tour and I’d never been anywhere besides Canada and Mexico, so I wanted to take my fans on my journey. I got to go to Spain and Paris and London and Germany. I had some time in each individual place, so basically we had the camera crew follow us everywhere, and they captured every moment. It’s kind of very personal — I’d never really let people in that much. It follows me from when I start my day to when I end my day. And sometimes after I end my day, they’re still there. It’s kind of like a mini-reality show, but it was really fun. Now my fans can really see what my life’s like and I wanted them to see Europe, too. It was really fun for me.

You mention this in the first video, when did you know you want to sing and act professionally?
I definitely think that’s what I always wanted to do. I was an only child growing up. I always loved entertaining myself, so I would go to my mom’s work. It would just be me, and I would perform in her office, and I’d be putting on skits and singing everywhere, basically being me. So I feel like that had a big part in it. My mom is also an actor, but she never did television or film. She did a lot of theater, which I loved. I think that kind of worked then. I asked my mom because I really wanted to be a part of it when I was around 7 and 8, and she helped me start the process.

Your breakout role, of course, was on Wizards of Waverly Place. How did you get that role?
I was 11 years old and Disney had this nationwide casting search. They went all around trying to audition different girls in different states. So they rounded up a few people. It ended up being three people that they flew in, and I was one of them. I went to LA for the first time and I auditioned in front of all these people. I got the part in the pilot that they were doing, but it didn’t end up getting picked up. They wanted to keep me in their family, so I guest-starred in a couple of their shows. I guest-starred in Suite Life and Hannah Montana, and then Wizards of Waverly Place came along and I went through the whole audition process again, and they picked me to be the girl.

How has that role helped you with your singing career now?
Obviously Disney Channel has an amazing launching pad. They’ve just been so wonderful to every single person on their network. I feel like they have great taste, and they’re family. I think the Disney Channel is really good on being able to create that family for all of us. I started on the show, and it just really helped me branch out. I was really shy when I was younger, and in comedy you can’t really be shy. You have to be very out there and willing to give a lot of yourself. It’s helped me open up in many ways. They’ve also helped me with my music and keeping other roles. It’s just been a really good thing, being part of the Disney Channel.

How do you think Twitter and Facebook have helped you as well? [Selena has over 3 million followers on Twitter.]
I think the social networks are very important. I think that being part of Facebook and MySpace and Twitter, all of those things, it really awesome. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your fans and let them know what you’re up to. It’s a little scary sometimes because it’s very personal, so I try to use it for what it’s there for. I use it to remind my fans how much I appreciate them and how much I love and care about them, and what I’m doing and what I’m up to and see how they’re doing, and what the response is. It’s very quick and it’s very instant.

Do you have a preference for acting vs. singing?
I just don’t really trust myself. One day, I wake up and I’m so obsessed with my music and then the next day I wake up and I’m just so into my films and wanting to know what’s going on in that world and in my show. So I don’t really trust myself right now. But I think in the future once I get older and I want everything to slow down, I think I’m going to want to be in film.

Do you write any of your own songs?
I do, but the awful part for me — the unfortunate part — would be having to do everything at once, so I can’t give the individual attention that I’d love to give. My studio time is extremely precious, so I can’t go in there and spend, like, two days writing one song, or three days writing one song. I have to go in there and record the song. The fortunate part for me is that I have some amazing producers that know me personally that I’ve worked with before, that have written songs for me about stories that I’ve told them and situations that I’ve been in, and when I talk about my fans. They’ve written things that were very personal to me. Hopefully in the future I’m able to give my music more attention, so I can be more involved.

Later this month, you’re doing a benefit concert for UNICEF. Can you tell me about your involvement with that organization?
I’ve been involved with UNICEF for three years. They’re an amazing organization, and I feel like I’m part of the family. What they do is really beautiful. I’d just started to do one campaign with them, and once I realized what they do, and I was able to witness some of the work that they did, they asked me to be their ambassador. I immediately took it because I wanted to be part of it. I’ve been working with them very closely and just get so passionate about it every year, and I want to do something more. This year is the 60th anniversary of the trick or treat campaign, so I’m doing an acoustic show with my band and we’re gonna raise money through that. Hopefully that will bring about some good things.

Have you traveled with UNICEF at all?
I have. Last year I went to Ghana, Africa, which was really amazing. I was able to do some fieldwork and actually witness what UNICEF is doing to help. I got to be part of it, and it was really beautiful. It was a great experience. I’m planning on doing another trip with them soon.

What are you up to next?
I’m still working on the show, so we’re wrapping up the last season of Waverly and getting ready to do another movie. Then afterward, I will be prepping to do my first actual summer tour, which will be exciting because I’ve done a lot of concerts, but I’ve never done an actual tour that I’m going to be able to create from scratch. I will hopefully be a part of some more films, but I’m not quite sure of that yet.

How does it feel to be wrapping up Wizards?
It’s really emotional. Every week I go in, and even though we’re not anywhere close to being done, I feel like it’s just gonna come on me really quickly. I’m preparing myself but I don’t think I’m going to be prepared. It’s going to be really hard. I will tell you this: it’s a fact, I’m going to be the one that cries the most.

Last comment: about 9 hours ago 5 Comments

Exclusive Interview: Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars

August 24th, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

When Hulu spoke to Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto about the band’s latest video last week, he was calling from the beach in Tel Aviv, where he and the rest of his band were set to play another show on their world tour. By now, 30STM has played in more than 100 cities across the globe, hitting Europe, Sydney, Singapore and Japan in just the past few weeks. (It’s been so many, Leto’s lost count himself.)

Of course, the band isn’t adverse to travel. After all, many of their previous videos were shot in exotic locales, including China (“From Yesterday“) and even the Arctic (“A Beautiful Lie“). Their last video, “Kings and Queens,” however, was shot in their hometown of Los Angeles, with Leto calling it his “love letter to the city of Angels.”

Although their latest video, “Closer to the Edge,” isn’t as cinematic in scope, it was an epic undertaking, a video documentation of their “adventure around the world,” says Leto, who rocked a pink Mohawk in this video (it long gone now). And while some so-called “road videos” may depict the highs and lows that come with life on tour, “Closer to the Edge” is all about the fans as real kids talk to the cameras. “I picked people out at different shows,” Leto says. “I have 20 to 30 hours of interviews and filtered it down to make this video.” The singer teamed up with a group of five video editors and a pair of cameramen to piece together the video on what they called the “edit bus.” “We’d shoot days and work all night, until 5, 6, 7 in the morning. It was inspiring,” he says.

As for the song’s success, it’s been a bit of a surprise for Leto and his bandmates. “It seems that it has connected with our fans, and the fact that it managed to push “This Is War” to the top of the iTunes charts in Germany — knocking out Eminem, in fact — is just another thing for this modest band to be grateful for.

The band’s tour continues overseas for a few more weeks, then it’s off to Mexico before kicking off their U.S. tour and making an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards next month, where Leto and his bandmates are nominated for four “Moonman” statues. “We’re happy to be nominated. We found out in New Zealand and it was such a surprise. Winning would be one of those great moments for us as a band. These awards are really just a way to take it all in and show our gratitude to our fans.” — Rebecca Harper (rebecca.harper@hulu.com), Editor

Last comment: Oct 22nd 2014 2 Comments

Live Stream Event: HullabaLOU Music Festival

July 23rd, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

What’s the hottest ticket in Kentucky this weekend? Three days of music at the HullabaLOU Music Festival at Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby. If you didn’t grab tickets to the event, never fear: Hulu will be live streaming many of the acts slated to appear this weekend, so you’ll have access to most of the music, including Sunday night headliners Dave Matthews Band.

You can launch the live stream from our home page (just look for the HullabaLOU logo in our Featured Content section on the right) or from the player below:

Live Stream Lineup (all times are Eastern):
Friday
2:30 – Hazel Miller
3:20 – Rick Bartlett’s Rockin’ Soul Revival*
4:05 – Blood, Sweat & Tears
5:05 – Exile*
5:35 – Gloriana
6:45 – J.D. Shelburne*
7:20 – Doobie Brothers

Saturday
2:30 – Jimmy Church
3:20 – Kim Taylor*
4:00 – WAR
5:00 – Duke Tumatoe & the Power Trio*
5:45 – Joan Osborne
6:45 – Ben Sollee*
7:15 – Gov’t Mule

Sunday
1:45 – Andrea Davidson
2:35 – Taj Mahal
3:35 – Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet*
4:15 – The Black Crowes
5:30 – Stealing Angels*
6:30 – The Avett Brothers*
7:30 – TBA
8:30 – Dave Matthews Band

* Indicates a delayed performance

Enjoy the show,
Rebecca Harper ()
Editor

Last comment: about 11 hours ago 5 Comments

Herbie Hancock on The Imagine Project

June 22nd, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

To mark the release of Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project, his latest CD, the Grammy-winning jazz great is sharing a special treat with his fans on Hulu: a making of documentary that follows Hancock around the world as he collaborates with a dozen musicians, from well-known artists like Seal and Pink to Latin superstar Juanes and Malian singer Oumou Sangare, on a selection of covers that reflect messages of global peace. Below, the musical pioneer tells us a little more about the project. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

Tell us about The Imagine Project — how did you embark on such an ambitious, world-crossing project?
Herbie Hancock:
It was an idea that grew out of something that was kind of bubbling in my head anyway, and a suggestion from my attorney. I was thinking about what would be the purpose of making an album — that’s what I do now; I think about what purpose it would serve, what would I want it to be about, what do I want it to do. My conclusion is usually that I want it to address some issue of today. I was thinking about globalization, and my attorney called me at around that same time and said, “I have an idea for you that I think fits into the way you think, and I think it’s pretty compatible with the Buddhism that you practice. How about taking John Lennon’s song,’ Imagine,’ and using it as a centerpiece or springboard to doing a record about peace?”

And when your attorney comes up with a good idea, you can’t say no, right?
Exactly! That’s right. You know, ideas don’t just have to come from me. Wherever they come from is fine. It really did fit in with everything I’ve been thinking about, so we decided to this Imagine Project, which is about peace through global collaboration.

After spending several weeks, maybe even more than a month, thinking about all of the ramifications of it and the possible connections, just getting the details of what it could mean — I want that firmly established, because that’s a foundation that will give me direction, even before writing music. I decided that the best way to establish global collaboration as a means for peace is to honor various cultures outside of my own. How many ways can I do that? One way, which I thought would be a great idea, is to go to these countries. Maybe not all of them, because I was also thinking about the idea of making it a project that’s conscious of the environment. We still wanted to do that, to pay attention to the carbon footprint that we used for flying. We recorded in six different countries and seven languages are represented, with artists from 11 different countries.

I imagine any artist would drop anything would come to you, but it’s great that you went and experienced their cultures firsthand and let that seep into the music, becoming part of the album.
The thing that really struck me because I get to travel throughout the world as a musician, especially a jazz musician, I’ve noticed that on the charts of several countries — and not just European countries, but Asian countries and various others throughout the world — quite a few of the top 10 records really come from American music, but they’re always in English! Even though they sell globally, they’re not really done with a global perspective. I decided I wanted to do a really global record that’s just that from the onset. That’s when I decided that I would have it in multiple languages. One of the best ways to honor a culture outside of one’s own is through language, showing that you have enough respect and are paying enough attention to the culture that you would bother to have their language represented. I was able to do that on this record.

How did you choose some of the cultures represented in The Imagine Project?
While I was still trying to put together the basic purpose and foundation, it actually was already on my schedule to go to India under the auspices of a partnership between the State Department and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. We were there with Martin Luther King III and several congressmen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s first travel to India to study Gandhi’s non-violent teachings. So it was a historic commemoration of that event. We all felt honored to be part of that and to represent America’s cultural art form, jazz. While we were there, we actually did interact with Indian musicians. Since I knew that was coming up real soon, I thought maybe there would be a day off and we could record the first track in India. We hadn’t discussed songs or anything. But anyway, we finally put that together and Chaka Khan, who was actually going over there as one of the cultural representatives, I asked her if she would be interested in making this recording with me and she agreed to it.

We did this first record in Mumbai, and it’s with Chaka Khan singing in English, of course, and an Indian singer named Chitra singing in Hindi. Anoushka Shankar, who is Ravi Shankar’s daughter and also the half-sister of Norah Jones, is playing sitar. We all did that live in the studio in Mumbai and then later on, Wayne Shorter came on the track with his amazing soprano saxophone work. He had never heard the track before — he just wanted us to put the equipment into record and get his first response from hearing it the first time. And that’s what’s on the record. I couldn’t ask for anything more perfect — it’s amazing. That’s almost unheard of, but he did that.

We continued on and recorded in Paris with some groups from Mali, [including] Oumou Sangare from Bamako. She’s on the “Imagine” track and sings in Bambara, which is one the Malian languages. This is the first track on the record, and intro is Pink and Seal. The two of them and me, just the three of us, played this slow intro. This rhythm starts up and it’s a combination of people with a group Konono No 1 — they’re from the Congo, and they play thumb pianos, large ones so they have a deep tone. It’s kind of the foundation for the rhythm. We have a guitarist named Lionel Loueke who is from Benin, West Africa. He’s been in the country for several years — working with me for about four years now. He’s an amazing guitarist. Anyway, India.Arie is singing on top of this rhythm, she’s singing “Imagine” — not as a ballad; it has a rhythm. It has a nice kind of beat. Then Jeff Beck comes in and plays, too. It’s a combination of people; it just moves from one to another.

We also did “Don’t Give Up,” Peter Gabriel’s beautiful tune which he originally recorded with Kate Bush. Pink is doing that as a duet with John Legend. Pink and John Legend — it’s off the hook. It is amazing, the voices are fantastic, the quality of their voices and the way it feels. We also have a track with Dave Matthews and a track with Juanes, who’s a fantastic young Colombian singer — he’s well-known on the Latin circuit. There’s also The Chieftains, who are a traditional Irish group, along with Lisa Hannigan, who is also Irish. She used to sing with Damien Rice, and they were on my record Possibilities. She sings Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing.” Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks also sing Leon Russell’s “Space Captain,” which Joe Cocker made famous.
There’s a young British singer, James Morrison, singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” There’s an artist from Brazil, Ceu. She’s a young, vibrant singer from Sao Paolo that’s one of the hottest new singers on the scene in Brazil. That’s quite a variety of material on the record.

How did you go about choosing which songs were part of the album?
Actually, that was done with a team of people, primarily Larry Klein, who is the overall producer. He did a lot of research to suggest certain artists and certain songs. We all wanted the songs to have something to do with the idea of peace — not just global peace, but even family peace, or peace within the individual. Because very often, we’re conflicted. We’re in one place, but we want to be someplace else. Or we’re doing one job, but we’d rather be doing another job. There are all sorts of things that happen even on the individual level. I looked back and said, you know these are all inspirational songs, inspirational for the human spirit, the human condition, and the day-to-day obstacles that people have to deal with. Like the song “Don’t Give Up” is the perfect representative of that idea. We had a really great time making the record.

What was the idea behind filming all of this and putting it online?
Well, I learned from my record Possiblities.We shot that one and made a film. That film has shown on Showtime or HBO several times, and it was on HDNet. Especially since we were traveling to several countries this time, it’s a journey of what’s in the people’s heart. It said something that needs to be emphasized and can’t be emphasized too much.

America is an immigrant country. We are all not from this country, for the most part. Our ancestors are from all over the planet. Right now, immigration is an issue. If you want to see an immigrant, all you have to do is look in the mirror. Because we Americans have threads of our beginnings throughout the planet, I was just in various countries that contain those threads. Those are really our people, the Indians, the Brazilians, the Africans, the Europeans… that’s really what the album is all about.

Last comment: Oct 10th 2014 1 Comment

Celebrity Picks: Charlotte Gainsbourg

April 15th, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

With 40 film appearances and three albums under her belt, you’d think the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg would be comfortable performing in front of a crowd. But, Charlotte Gainsbourg says, it took work — and few pointers from “Loser” singer-songwriter Beck. Thanks to his guidance, she’s currently touring the states to produce her latest album, IRM, which was produced by none other than Beck himself. To mark the addition of a selection of music videos and rehearsals from her album on Hulu today, we spoke to Charlotte about the collaboration with Beck and her tour, and even asked her to highlight a few of her picks from the world of online video. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

Hulu: Before you share your picks, can you tell us a little bit about your new album? What was it like working with Beck?
Gainsbourg:
It was quite intimidating at first. I think I was a little shy, but he made everything so that I would be comfortable. We recorded a lot of things in his house. It was very warm and so the whole process was quite amazing for me. To come back and forth, to go back to Paris and think about it, come back, being a different person … so the whole thing was quite incredible for me. And just to watch him invent the songs, to decide on a beat and gradually build it up and think of every instrument … I mean, he was just wonderful to watch. That was part of the pleasure for me, to learn something from him.

Do you have a favorite track from the album, if you could even pick just one?
I have two that are very different — I’ve got “Trick Pony,” which means a lot because my son plays the drums on that song. And I love the fact that it was upbeat and all that, and it came at the last minute. The other one is completely the opposite. It’s called “La Collectionneuse.” It’s sort of a very dark song, which was the state I thought I was in at one point; just about connecting your memories and being overwhelmed by them.

And you’re on tour right now, aren’t you?
Yes, I’ve just started. It’s my first time for me, because on the last album I did, I didn’t feel I had the courage to do it. It’d been 20 years since I’d done anything music-wise, so I wasn’t prepared at all. And also, Air had recorded that album with me. Because they went on their own tour — they’d just released their own album — I felt I needed them to be with me if I was going to perform live. This time, it was a bit different because Beck helped me to find a band and he helped me put all this together. Also, we talked about live shows while we were recording the album, so I sort of got used to the idea that it was something that I would like to do. We had the time to rehearse quite a lot with the crew. Yeah, we started in Vancouver [on Saturday]. [Monday] was Victoria and [Wednesday], Seattle.

And you’ll be at Coachella this weekend.
I’ve never been, so I’m a little nervous of the crowd. Also the people performing are so incredible. It is a little intimidating, but I really want to perform there and also just to listen to Thom Yorke and the Gorillaz and the people that are going to be there.

I always remember the heat.
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s what they said. Unfortunately, I go on at 5:30, which I imagine is going to be boiling hot.

And will Beck be there?
I know he’s coming, yeah. I asked him to come on stage, but I’m not sure he will.

How long will you be touring?
We’re just touring North America first, so the west coast until Coachella and then the East Coast until the 25th of April. Then we take a break in May and start again in Europe June and July.

So it’s going to be a busy summer.
Yeah, yeah, it’s exciting. My children [who are 7 and 12] are going to be able to come with me since it will be the summer, so it all makes it quite incredible to look forward to.

Do you have any acting projects lined up for the future?
I hope I’ll be able to do it, but I should be able to do another film with Lars von Trier next summer, just after the tour in Europe. Then do a film with Yvan Attal, my boyfriend/husband/partner. It will be our third film together with him as a director. It’s a beautiful script. I’m still crossing my fingers because you never know, with financing and all that, if it will really go through. It’s been a long time since we wanted to do this, so I really hope we’ll be able to do it in September.

So what does a beloved actress and musician watch when she’s online? Below, Gainsbourg shares her picks — all found using Hulu’s search tool.

Some Like It Hot
You have a clip where Jack Lemmon is engaged. I love this film. It’s a film that I discovered when I was quite small, quite young. My father used to love this film, and so we watched it together. I can still watch it — I think I must have seen it more than a hundred times, so I know
everything, every bit of dialogue, everything.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I remember seeing that film and then knowing that Michel Gondry was going to call me because he wanted me to shoot in his next film [La science des rêves]. And I was really excited because I just adored this film. I thought it was the most original piece I had seen in a long, long time.

City of God
Then there’s City of God [link goes offsite], just because it’s a very, very strong film. I saw it not a very long time ago, I just discovered it. It’s just one of those very, very powerful films.

Annie Hall
I’m a huge fan of Woody Allen, and of course especially Annie Hall. [Link goes offsite.] It’s just one of the classics that you can watch again and again and again.

Fish Tank
Then there’s a film that came out quite recently called Fish Tank. It’s difficult, when you love a film, to know what to say about it. You thought that the performances were incredible, the way the filming was incredible. Everything was quite amazing. I think it was when I was in Cannes, I think they got an award. It was very well-deserved.

Neil Young
Then I went to music. There’s a live video of Neil Young playing “Heart of Gold.” [Link goes offsite.] It’s a wonderful clip. It’s Brian LeBarton who’s playing the keyboards in [my] band. Before we started rehearsing live, he said go and have a look at Neil Young singing. He showed me different pieces, but this one was so… He’s such an incredible artist. Just to watch how he can be charming and so easy. And to think of yourself performing, it’s a little overwhelming because you think you’ll never be able to be as obviously brilliant, of course.

Beck
I found Beck [on IFC's] From The Basement. [Link goes offsite.] I think Radiohead did [this show], too. There’s both Beck and Nigel Godrich, who’s the producer I worked with on the album I did with Air — I just love his work. This concept of a TV show that has no [audience]; it’s just done in a basement … it’s just beautifully done. If we could do more recordings like that, it would be wonderful. And then you’ve got Beck and everything I admire about him. His way of performing, again it’s like Neil Young. It’s seems so easy and so natural. There’s something also about his voice. I just remember that when we recorded together, he used to sing the lyrics that he wrote to see if they worked. Just listening to him, I admire his way of singing very, very much. I thought it was a pity not to have him more on the album. I’m happy that we did this duo together, but he has a very, very special way of performing.

Radiohead
Next, Radiohead and the song “2+2=5“. [Link goes offsite.] It’s just an album that I loved, and it’s a song I love. It’s a band that I love seeing live the most, really. It’s the always so intense. Thom Yorke has a way of getting into the songs. His intensity is quite incredible to watch. He’s performing in Coachella with Nigel Godrich; I’m looking forward to that.

Elvis Presley
The last one would be anything to do with Elvis, because I’m a big fan. I can’t say a song in particular. There’s a recording that I have, I’m not sure it was filmed, when he cracks up laughing. Anyway, I’m not sure it was filmed, but the recording was so incredible. What can I say? I’ve been listening to him since I was a child. It’s like Some Like It Hot, it’s one of those things that accompany you all through life. It’s always reassuring to go back, to listen to him. No one really comes to his level. It’s sentimental.