Kyla Carter’s voice is everywhere right now. Her voice can be heard in not one but two animated series, while she hosts her own podcast called Kyla’s Korner, and she just dropped her latest singles “3 AM” and “Half Full Half Empty.” It’s a versatile resume for a performer who isn’t slowing down in the slightest.
I recently caught up with Kyla to talk about starring in both Hulu/Peacock‘s Trollstopia and Netflix‘s Trolls: The Beat Goes On at the same time, if her acting career has influenced any of her music, and the other subjects that she’s passionate about. Get to know this rising star in our interview, and then use the links at the bottom of this article to check out all of her many projects!
Brittany Frederick: How did you end up voicing the same Trolls character in two different shows that are on different streaming services? That’s pretty unheard of on TV!
Kyla Carter: I didn’t even know Trollstopia was coming out until it was released and I was in it! (laughs) I was initially hired to work on Trolls: The Beat Goes On for DreamWorks Animation and I voiced the role of CJ in multiple seasons. I would record often, so I thought that I was just recording another Trolls: The Beat Goes On episode, until the episode I recorded came out on Peacock and Hulu and it was now a Trollstopia episode. I was like “Nobody told me I was a part of this show; how cool!” So I just became a part of Trollstopia without even realizing it, which was so funny.
BF: You’ve also written music that they’ve used. Did the producers approach you to write a song for the Trolls universe, knowing that you’re also a performer?
KC: For the initial audition I actually recorded an MP3 file in my closet, on my phone. I was also asked to sing. When I was hired for the job I was told that they had a song written for my character. At that point in my career, I never thought I would do anything with songwriting. I was so excited to record for them and I think that’s one of the main reasons I started writing my own music. [That song] “Because You’re You” impacted so many fans in a powerful way, and that inspired me to start writing my own inspirational music, like my debut single “Average Puzzle Piece.”
BF: Do the two sides of your career influence each other at all? Has your acting inspired your music now that you are writing your own material?
KC: They do, because I really connect emotionally with my music. I’ve always loved writing in general. I love English class. It’s my favorite subject besides French, and I’m constantly writing. Writing music and expressing my emotions through song has always been a really great outlet for me.
Whatever I’m feeling that day is what I use for my writing inspiration. If I’m feeling really intense anger or sadness, I’ll write a sad song. Or if I’m writing a happy song, of course I use those feelings in my music. If I have an idea, an emotion, or even an experience, I’ll easily put that into my writing. And it doesn’t even have to be about that experience in general—I could be upset about school and I could write some crazy random song that has nothing to do with being upset about school, but still has something to do with that sad emotion.
BF: You started your career in theater; how did that happen, and what do you carry with you from that part of your career?
KC: My goal was to always be on Broadway. That was really my main focus, and part of that was because of Shirley Temple. Though she was on the TV, I saw that she was singing, acting, dancing, and it was everything I wanted to do. She became such an influential person in my life, even though she sadly passed away; I actually have an autograph from her in my room and I’m so happy I have it. She really introduced me to the world of acting.
With my first paycheck that I got from a job, I went to go see my first Broadway show, which was Wicked. I fell in love with Glinda and the whole entire show. To this day, it’s still my favorite musical. I really wanted to do what the actors were doing on that stage and started to audition for Broadway musicals. Soon after I booked The Sound of Music national tour. That’s where I learned professionalism and stage acting. I was eight at the time, learning what it’s like to be a professional and what it’s like to work around adults. That job gave me a lot of confidence and social skills.
BF: The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for musical artists, but it’s also given them a lot of time to create. Did you find that to be the case yourself, that you were more creative over the past year?
KC: I have, actually, yes. During that time, I really figured out who I was. I always thought that I wanted to pursue Broadway, go into college for musical theater and pursue that for the rest of my life. [But] during quarantine I was really bored, so I learned the guitar. It’s something that I’d always wanted to learn. I started playing around with melodies. And eventually, I decided to start writing songs again.
I had so much free time on my hands that I wasn’t used to. I toured for five years, so quarantine helped me reconnect with my family. I really got time to discover who I was, who I wanted to become, write music and write about all of my experiences and all the emotions I was feeling.
BF: Did you discover anything new as a fan? Anything that particularly caught your interest with all that spare time?
KC: I discovered how much I love all genres of music. I’ve always loved music, and I’m a huge fan of Broadway, but I really hadn’t explored singing pop, rock or country genres whatsoever. Over the summer I visited my grandparents and discovered a whole collection of vinyl. I especially loved listening to the Beatles records and took some home with me. Soon after I got a record player for my birthday, so now when I’m feeling down, I just put on “Here Comes The Sun” and dance around my room a little bit.
I’ve always had a passion for art. I think that’s because of my creativity and my constant drive to be doing something creative. So during quarantine I also explored photography, painting, drawing and sketching. I was really just trying to keep pushing myself as well as keep myself motivated.
But if we’re talking about shows, one show that I really don’t like to miss is High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. I’m excited for the new season. I also enjoy keeping up with younger music artists like Olivia Rodrigo, and listening to Billie Eilish. I love following their journeys, because they’re so young and I can really relate to them.
BF: You also have a podcast. What interested you about podcasting?
KC: I actually started a podcast in quarantine. It’s called Kyla’s Korner on The Mark White Show. I spread inspiring messages every single week, and I think it’s so important, because especially during quarantine a lot of people lost their drive. It was easy to lose drive and motivation being locked up in the house for months on end. And at the time, there was really no end in sight that we knew of. So I thought it was so important to spread positive messages and tell people that it’s okay to be upset, but you have to stay motivated and keep pushing through.
And speaking of songwriting, I also just wrote two original songs for an educational children’s book series called Junga the Dancing Yeti. It’s an anti-bullying video and book series, and encourages children to be inclusive. I play one of the lead characters, Heidi, and my brother was hired to play the bully, Groth! I love the message of the songs and the book series. It’s very important, especially for the younger generation of kids growing up in the pandemic, to really learn about inclusivity and kindness. No one likes a bully!
Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.