Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did being born into a family of musicians and performers influence your career path?
I think being surrounded by music and entertainment helped me be shamelessly myself from a young age. I was never quiet or shy, which in the long-run has helped me get out there and create a career in the entertainment industry.
You participated in an open call for “Degrassi: Next Class” and that was what led you to pursue acting. Do you think you would have been equally as interested had that opportunity not existed?
I’m certain that I would’ve somehow found myself in the entertainment industry, I’m just not sure how the path to it would’ve looked without that callback. Having gone to an arts high school, but being rejected from both the vocal and acting program, I was constantly made to feel like I wasn’t good enough, and wouldn’t be able to pursue a career in acting or singing. So when this audition happened and the lineup was all the way down the hall filled with the drama students, one of them actually asked me what I was doing in line.. and I said, “I’m here to audition.” The strength it took to stay in that line and just do it and block out the self-doubt was the beginning of me learning how to believe in myself and pursue the things that bring me joy – no matter what others think of it.
What can you tell us about your character Eden Hawkins in the new Netflix supernatural horror series, “Locke and Key”?
She ain’t so nice! Eden is the Regina George of Matheson, and does so shamelessly. I believe she has a lot of insecurities that she deals with through staying at the top of the social ladder, even if that means stepping on people to keep her place. That’s not to say that Eden doesn’t have a nice side, we just haven’t seen that too much because of the walls she has put up to protect herself from her own insecurities.
You’re not only focused on acting. You’ve also written 40 songs in the past year. How do you find the time to start a budding music career alongside acting?
Music is actually – I find – the perfect complimentary hobby alongside acting. While on set, there can be a lot of downtime, which is the perfect time to take out my ukulele or work on some music. In between filming days, I spend a LOT of time in the studio, or at home working on my music. Songwriting has been something I’ve done my whole life but only began taking it seriously within the last year, and I think because I rebelled from music for the majority of high school and post-high school, when I started writing again in October 2018, it all just flowed out of me. Everything I had bottled up for so long came through in these lyrics and melodies, opening me up to so many avenues of self-discovery. I believe these discoveries have helped me with acting because it has made me more vulnerable and honest with myself.
Your debut album is due out in 2021. What can audiences expect from it from what you can tell us so far?
So, I’m not 100% sure if I’ll be putting out an album, but I will definitely be putting out music in some form. It’s hard to say right now because I’m still discovering what my music is, but it definitely centres around the singer-songwriter genre of Doris Day meets Amy Winehouse. There are a lot of different sounds I’m exploring right now, so we’ll see what happens in the coming year!
What’s next for your career?
Hopefully a second season of Locke & Key, and sharing music with the world!
What advice would you have for aspiring entertainers?
If it brings you joy, don’t let anyone stop you from doing it. AND, talent will only get you so far – knowledge and kindness will always get you into more doors, and won’t get you kicked out!
What’s your life like outside of acting?
Pretty chill and fun. I do spend most of it focused on music and auditions, but outside of those things I spend a lot of time with friends. One of my best friends is a mama of two little boys, so I spend a lot of time with her, doing whatever I can to make her a happy mama. (that usually includes serenading her with my songs… as soon as I get back to Toronto from LA, that will most likely be the first thing I do…)
Let the readers know where to find you online.
@halleajones on most everything!