Disney has given us a lot when it comes to the first ladies of pop music: Miley, Selena, Demi, we could go on and on. So when we heard a mesmerizing voice blaring through our speakers, it came as no surprise it belonged to the latest Disney diva, Zendaya Coleman. Known to fans simply as Zendaya, she got her start on the Disney show Shake It Up, about the lives of back up dancers. The 17-year-old beauty is pretty much a jack of all trades. She’s a model, actress, voice over specialist, dancer, singer, author and clothing designer. She was the youngest contestant to ever compete on Dancing With The Stars. Did we mention she’s still in high school?
Most recently she wrote a book called Between U and Me: How to Rock Your Tween Years With Style and Confidence and designed a Shake It Up-inspired clothing line. The clothes will be athletic attire for dancers; think leg warmers, headbands and tanks tailor made for girls on the go, just like Zendaya herself.
Zendaya released her first self-titled album in September, leading with her hit single “Replay.” he album got a personal shout out by Ryan Seacrest, who called it a “pop/R&B hybrid” with “hard hitting, urban cuts.” The song is ridiculously catchy, with smashing electronic beats and a R&B vibe that’s impossible to resist. Not only will her voice blow you away, but her dance skills will leave your chin on the floor. “Replay” has close to 30 million views on YouYube already, fans learning choreography perhaps? We did.
Taking a quick break from our dance session in front of our computers, we sat down with Zendaya to talk about her latest work, her new album, Dancing With The Stars, and much more. Check out our interview with Zendaya below and follow her on Twitter to keep up with the latest.
Zendaya, How old were you when you first started dancing?
I was about eight years old in a hip-hop dance group. That’s where I really got my start. I was really bad at first, but I kept working at it. You slowly grow and get better and better. But, I also did hula for a while, too.
So hip-hop has always had your heart?
Of course, its my first love when it comes to dance. Hip-hop definitely takes that title, but being on Dancing With The Stars really opened me up to different types of dance like Latin dancing and other styles I never, ever in life, thought I would be doing. I’ve found a lot of passion in it and its cool to say that’s something I’m able to do.
What was it like being the youngest contestant on Dancing With The Stars and experiencing so many different types of dance?
Well, I think it was way harder for me than everyone else. On top of being younger, I’m a minor, so there are certain stipulations, I have to go to school and I’m there for five hours worrying about history and stuff. Then I’m in the dance studio for seven hours. That was not easy. A lot of people can come into the studio well rested, whenever they want. I came in after five hours of school. It’s a little different.
You’re starring in a new movie Zapped can you tell us a little more about it?
Zapped is about this girl who’s mom remarries, forcing her to move in with her step brothers. She’s very organized, girly and put together. She’s got all the good stuff and is very comfortable with her own life. Now, she has to go to a new school and do a whole big switch and everything starts going wrong. All the boys in her life are ruining everything for her. One day she gets an app to train their family’s dog and it works on him, so she thinks ‘finally I can control something in my life.’ Then something happens and she gains the ability to control boys with her phone. She can go around and make her world the way she wants it, but of course, it all backfires in her face eventually and she has to figure it out all over again.
It’s incredible that on top of all of this, you wrote a book. What inspired you to write Between U and Me?
I wanted to write an advice book that would be helpful. I didn’t want to write something that people would pick up and put back down. I wanted to write something that was resourceful. Also, I wanted there to finally be a book out there from a young perspective. I think it’s kind of awkward to have an adult telling a 12-year-old what it’s like to be 12. It’s not just about the super deep stuff, which girls need, too. It’s also about those time when you’re like ‘Hey I’m having a bad hair day what do I do?’
Who or what would you say is your biggest influence and inspiration?
Whenever anyone asks me that question it’s Michael Jackson and Beyoncé, it’ll never change.
What do you like to listen to everyday?
My playlist is jumping around all over the place, from country and reggae and then back to hip-hop. There’s always some old school that pops in, definitely all over the place, I’m never just listening to normal current music without something else that people are like, ‘why do you have this in your phone?’
How would you describe the sound of Zendaya?
Rhythmic pop, it’s not normal pop music, not super poppy poppy pop. It has more rhythmic and R&B tones in it.
Who is your dream person to collab with?
Beyoncé! But, definitely some rap artists, like Drake.
Can you tell me about your clothing line?
That’s going to be a long work in progress, it’s not really moving up just yet- but it’s going to be really cool. That’s all I can say!
Is there anything else your fans should be anticipating for 2014?
Obviously the music! We’re already working on the next single and video, going to be way better than “Replay”! Zapped is coming out, a new Disney pilot I’m going to be working on and actually co-producing. It’s all really exciting.