Kyla Carter can be heard voicing the role of recurring character CJ Suki in Trolls: The Beat Goes On! for Netflix and she also makes an appearance voicing the character in DreamWorks series TrollsTopia. She can be heard on the soundtrack singing the popular song Because You’re You which is now on her YouTube channel with over 37k views. For her first voiceover role, Kyla was cast as Hattie the Witch for Nickelodeon’s Wallykazam! and she had her first major TV role as Young Nora Durst in The Leftovers. On stage, Kyla has played lead character Susan Waverly on the Broadway National Tour of White Christmas and over a number of years, she was part of the original touring company of The Sound of Music where she made her Broadway career debut. As a singer-songwriter, Kyla will be releasing her original music this month and regularly uploads covers to her YouTube channel, and during the pandemic, she has started her podcast Kyla’s Korner, which is aired weekly on The Mark White Show. Speaking with Kyla, she talks about voicing the role of CJ Suki in Trolls: The Beat Goes On!, playing Susan Waverly in White Christmas and her new podcast Kyla’s Korner.
How is it voicing the role of CJ Suki in DreamWorks animated series TrollsTopia which streams on Hulu and Peacock?
CJ Suki was originally part of the DreamWorks animated series Trolls: The Beat Goes On!. She was created based on some of my own features, like freckles and blue eyes. She is a pop singer, a spunky firecracker and loves her Aunt DJ! Voicing CJ is super fun, because I get to be someone totally different than me. CJ is really funky and cool. She’s a lot more chill and laid-back than I am. I tend to worry about things a lot more and it’s good to push past your boundaries and stretch a little.
How did it feel booking the role of CJ Suki for the first time in Trolls: The Beat Goes On! for Netflix?
I was really surprised when I booked the role because there was no call back. I submitted an MP3 from my cell phone and found out two weeks later I would be a guest star on the new DreamWorks series. After my first recording session, I was told they loved my character so much that they would be writing me in as a recurring character.
What’s it been like seeing the fan response to your song on the soundtrack, Because You’re You, and what was it like to record?
Recording my very first pop song in the studio for DreamWorks Trolls was an amazing experience that I will never forget. In fact, my love of pop music began with CJ! I am so happy Because You’re You has become a fan favourite with over 37k views on my YouTube channel! I think the message of the song encourages listeners to be true to themselves and know that they are perfect just the way they are.
What do you remember most from being cast as Hattie the Witch in Wallykazam! and how did you find the experience of working on your first voiceover role?
I was just six years old when I auditioned for Hattie the Witch in Nickelodeon’s Wallykazam!. I went to Nickelodeon Studios and sang a children’s song that I had just learned in my first grade class about the Three Little Pigs. I was soon called back to read with the creative team and a week later I remember screaming with excitement when I found out that I booked Hattie. At the time, I was their youngest cast member. That experience shaped me into the voiceover artist I am today. I learned everything I needed to know about voice work at a very young age from working with that amazing creative team.
Can you tell us what Young Nora Durst was like to film as in The Leftovers?
I was so excited to play a younger version of the actress Carrie Coon! I remember filming outside with Justin Theroux in the snow, and I was given hot chocolate and body warmers. It was a fire scene, with tons of firefighters and a burning house! It was my first big television role and I remember being so scared of the burning house!
On stage, you most recently performed in White Christmas as Susan Waverly, what was this like to do?
The past two years I had the opportunity to play Susan Waverly in the Broadway National Tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It was an amazing learning experience for me, where I got the chance to play a lead role, visit a new city every week, and perform for audiences of 5000 people!
You began your Broadway career in The Sound of Music, what did you enjoy most about your time in the production?
Working on Broadway for the past five years was a whirlwind of experiences and emotions. I’m so thankful that I got to play Gretl, Marta and Brigitta on the Broadway National Tour of The Sound of Music. As part of the original cast, I performed over 500 shows, visited over fifty cities and twenty-six states without missing one day of work or school on the road! It is cool to look back and say, I remember that theater or I remember that coffee shop. I learned so much, saw so much, and gained so much experience. I will always cherish those memories.
Last year, you were a special guest on The Early Night Show with Joshua Turchin, how was this?
I am super passionate about using my platform and talent to give back. I regularly perform at Broadway charity events to help raise money for Broadway Cares and The Actors Fund. I was happy to continue this mission as a guest star on The Early Night Show.
We understand you enjoy writing original music, what upcoming plans do you have for this?
I love songwriting and have been actively writing songs to be produced for about a year. I am so proud and excited to be releasing my first single this month!
What can you say about your YouTube channel and how do you decide which songs to cover?
My YouTube channel has evolved over the last year. I only started singing pop music recently, and realised how much I love to cover songs that I can use my own voice and style to put a unique twist on it.
During the pandemic, you started your podcast Kyla’s Korner, what inspired you to start this and can you say more about it?
Kyla’s Korner is a podcast segment featured weekly on The Mark White Show, where I share encouraging and inspiring messages. The main message that I try to relay to my listeners is to “Live Life Sunny Side Up”. I was really excited when Mark offered me this opportunity, because the theme of his show is making a difference. I believe that if I can make a difference in someone else’s life, even if it is just one person, I am making a difference in this world.
Had you always wanted to be an actor and performer and what encouraged you to start?
I have been told I was singing before I was talking. But, what really inspired me to pursue a career in performance is the actress Shirley Temple. When I was four years old, a commercial for her DVDs came on the television. I begged my mom for the whole set. I watched every movie, color and black and white over and over, and I said to my mom, “I want to do what she does”.
How do you like to spend your time away from music, acting and voiceover work?
I love four-wheeling, fishing, swimming, surfing, photography and drawing.
What TV and theatre shows do you enjoy watching and who are some of your favourite music artists?
I am LOVING Julie and the Phantoms on Netflix! It is everything I love – a musical, comedy and drama all in one! Broadway musicals have had a huge influence on my love for music. My favourites are Wicked, Hadestown, Dear Even Hansen and Hamilton. I am also influenced by Taylor Swift and Kelsea Ballerini.
What are you hoping 2021 brings for your career?
2021 will be the year the world discovers Kyla Carter’s original music! I am hoping for continued success in doing what I love and to have the opportunities to always live my dream.
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