Tracee Ellis Ross originally wanted to sound like Jennifer Hudson when she made her singing debut in The High Note.
The Black-ish star plays superstar musician Grace Davis, who hits a midlife crisis when she’s torn between recording a new album and doing a Las Vegas residency, in the new movie.
Tracee, who is the daughter of music icon Diana Ross, was nervous to make her singing debut in the film, and thought it would be a good idea to emulate one of her singing heroes while playing Grace.
“I wanted to sound like Jennifer Hudson,” she told musician Tyler the Creator for Interview magazine. “But then I realised how weird it would be if I opened up my mouth and Jennifer Hudson’s voice came out. People would be like, ‘What the f**k?'”
While she insisted that she doesn’t embarrass easily, she was fearful of not living up to her own expectations on stage.
“Part of my fear was I had an idea of what I thought I was supposed to sound like, as opposed to walking into it to discover what I sound like and let that be it,” she explained. “And what I realised is that singing and soul is not about sounding like something, it’s about telling the truth… We do all this pretzeling to try and be who we think the world wants us to be, but the practice, for me, was about getting out of my way.”
Tracee added that realising her potential and accepting she wouldn’t sound like her mother was pivotal to her playing the character truthfully.
“Stop trying to sound like something and let your voice out of your body, which is why it feels like, when you do sing, the truth is coming out of you,” she shared.
The High Note is available on demand now.
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