Blended Exclusive: Former Disney Star Kevin Quinn Talks Upcoming Musical and Acting Endeavors
BY WILL HEFFERNAN
Big things are coming from Kevin Quinn. You may know Quinn from the Disney Channel original show, Bunk’d. Since then, the actor has ventured into the music world. He just released his song "Gotta Shape Up" as well as a music video for another song, "Wild Ride." Truly ambitious, though, Quinn plans on releasing even more music and further developing his acting career concurrently. Blended had the chance to interview Quinn about his upcoming musical projects and acting roles.
How did you get involved in the music industry and how did it lead you to Disney?
This is how the story went, I was 15 years old and I was home sick one day from school, I was a sophomore in high school. I saw an ad on Facebook encouraging people to audition for American Idol. I clicked on the ad and at the time Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Mariah Carey were judges and so it’s just their faces on this ad on Facebook, like come sing for us, so I was like "ok!" I clicked the ad and made a 15 second tape of me singing via Photo Booth on my laptop. Not even a week later, I get this call from a producer saying that they want me to come out to LA to audition for their show. I do [and] that's kind of how I got introduced to the industry.
I made it to the Hollywood Group Rounds. Then I was kind of done when that shtick was and then I went back to finish high school. Then I was like "ok what can I do in the meantime" now that I got this intro to the business, the entertainment industry so maybe I can get into acting because Chicago has a pretty good acting/theater scene. I signed with an agency in Chicago and then I started doing some work just in local Chicago productions and eventually people started catching onto my name -- which led to a couple of gigs on local television that shot there like the Dick Wolfe Show and Chicago PD, so I did a couple of those.
I eventually thought I should just try my luck in LA, I moved to LA, and ended up getting this gig with Disney Channel -- bless their souls. Honestly, I can't speak highly enough of them, they were great to work for, and it ended up giving me a solid foundation for a career. Now I'm starting to venture into music and I'm producing my own songs. I have a great team around me that is helping me executive produce the tracks, and even write them.
How do you balance acting and music?
I don't think it's that hard for a lot of synergy in the business, like I feel that a lot of musicians will do acting gigs and a lot of actors will do music. I know Ariana Grande started out doing a Nickelodeon show. It's very synergistic and I think there's a lot of opportunity. The way I balance it is just by constantly auditioning for new projects. When I'm not auditioning or working on a project, I'm just in writing sessions. I'm writing music, working on tracks, and creating a library of songs that I can use whenever I want.
Is there a significant meaning behind your song, "Wild Ride?"
Honestly, "Wild Ride" comes from a place of truth. It was a very last-minute song because I'm working on these songs that haven't been released yet but I immediately did "Wild Ride" within 48 hours of finishing the track with the producer, who did "Gotta Shape Up" as well. The meaning behind it is when you're so young and impressionable, I think, which was kind of where I was at the point in my life when I first started working and I moved to this giant city, LA from Chicago, which is also a big city but [LA’s] even bigger.
It was kind of just a change of pace. I originally came out here alone, which a lot of people don't know. I was 17 and my parents had to work in Chicago. I didn't really know where I was going. I didn't have a sense of direction in my life, but at the end of the song it's just kind of like cherish it, you know it's a "wild ride." Life is a "wild ride," and you never know where it's going to take you next. It's an anthem.
What type of music can we expect from you next?
I kind of release music here and there. The reason why I do that is because I want to give people something to listen to until the real project comes out, which I think is going to be really big. I think when the project finally comes together it will be bigger and better than anything I've released so far. Even the connections I've made, the people I met along the way. I call it creative dating because you go into a room with a producer, writer, and see if you mesh and if you do you could have a great time creating a hit song. It's really creative dating.
Do you have a favorite song you've written so far?
I'm really proud of this one song that I wrote. I don't know if we are going to be able to release it right now, but it's in my library. I can't say the name of the song. [But] I wrote it with RedOne, I met Red and he has a great team of writers, so I got in a room with some of them and we just cranked out this awesome pop anthem that is even better than "Wild Ride." It's more cohesive. I'm working on something with Ky Fitzgerald. I'm really excited about that because he's gonna help produce some of the songs... [and] kind of oversee some of the stuff I'm working on right now. I'm moving to a different point of my music career where I get to choose the producers I work with and I really meshed with Ky.
Your new movie, Send It, involves a lot of training, what's the process like?
I recently got back from a town called Waves, North Carolina, which is where we'll be shooting. It's on an island called Hatteras Island, in the outer banks of North Carolina. I spend a lot of time training...seven days on the water, 10 hours a day. It started with wakeboard training, which I had done before. Eventually, when I [was] able to control the wakeboard, we progressed to the kite. I got comfortable with the kite and I was able to control it, which took two days. Then the third day, I was about twenty-five hours into training, I finally got up on the board with the kite and the way you have to maneuver the kite, you literally have to "send it."
But I'm excited for the character. It's my first time leading a movie, which I'm excited about. I got a great co-star, named Claudia Lee. It's a classic boy-meets-girl story in this beautiful vacation town. We are [also] finally paying homage to all the talented kiters out there.
What is your summer goal for acting?
I recently just did a challenging role for a company called Awesomeness TV on one of their shows called Love Dately. It's an anthology series about different types of people in different settings finding love. My character has high functioning autism, which was very difficult for me to play. I had a couple monologues here and there, and I had to juggle memorizing lines and those long paragraphs of words along with getting this character down where he's very persistent, he's very orderly, and he's very smart. It was by far one of my most challenging roles. My summer goal is to continue finding those challenging acting roles so I'm hoping I can grow as an actor.
Be sure to keep up with Kevin Quinn's undoubtable success and listen to his hit song "Wild Ride" now.
Lead Image Credit: Joe Brooks