Empire is down to the last two episodes for the fall season and things are about to heating up for Tiana Brown (Serayah McNeill) on Empire. On tonight’s episode, Serayah premieres her new hit “Ace’s Hight” from the upcoming Empire Soundtrack!!!
Get all the details on what is about to go down and our EXCLUSIVE interview as Serayah talks everything Empire and her debut album on the flip…
CelebNMusic247.com had the pleasure of speaking with the talented Serayah McNeill who talked to us in the round.
Serayah talked everything Empire, Tiana Brown, her upcoming album and which producers she was working with! On tonight’s episode you get to see Serayah rehearsing her song “Ace’s High” while rehearsing for a fashion show sequence. While Serayah is on the stage rehearsing Nessa and Andre are plotting.
Serayah talks everything Empire + her debut album:
The singer/model/actress introduces herself:
“Hi, I’m Serayah, and I’m definitely excited to hear whatever questions you guys have, also to share some information about the new song, Aces High, that’s going to premiere on the season finale of Empire.”
First Suzanne Lanque with The TV Mega Site [who transcribed the interview] asks her about “Ace’s High”? I watched it and enjoyed it, by the way.
“Thank you. Well, it’s a really fun song. The scene that they had me do it in a fashion show and it’s premiered very, I think, eloquently and it’s definitely a crossover song. I like the song because it has that upbeat and that DJ feel that it can be played pretty much anywhere—a club, a rave, anything like that. That’s why I’m excited about the song. It’s a lot different than any other song Tiana has done.”
On her progress is coming on her debut album:
“The album’s coming along great. I’m actually still working on it, it’s a work in progress. I’m really excited about it and everyone that I get to work with and in the future that I’m going to work with.”
In regards to a release date?
“We were hoping by the top of the year, but I think we’re going to push that a little bit and just give it some more time to really be great.”
Who does Tiana love more on Empire?
Serayah continued the Q&A with Jamie Steinberg of Starry Constellation, who asked does Tiana have real feelings for Graham or real feelings for Hakeem?
“You know what I conclude about Tiana’s story because it’s very open-ended, I would say that Tiana has a lot of history and feelings for Hakeem. Obviously they were dating in the first season, so they have a lot of ups and downs that they went through, things like that. I think that she definitely has that place with Hakeem, but as far as Graham, I think she liked him but probably not as much as Hakeem.”
Jamie also asked her if she participated in the writing of “Ace’s High”?
Serayah Talks Ace’s High and Ester Dean:
“It was actually something that was brought to me. I know that there’s a writer that Ester Dean had worked with, and I love Ester Dean anyway. She’s amazing, and she writes hits all the time. So I was just really excited about the song. I loved it the way it was. It’s incredible, and I’m looking forward to the fans getting to hear it.”
Next on the line was Malcolm Venable with TV Guide, who asks Serayah about the fiasco that Tiana got involved with in terms of Becky on Empire. Any chance of reconciliation or wanting to get back with Hakeem?
“Becky definitely went and got into some trouble trying to get some of the songs released on the show, but things are looking up for Becky and Tiana, I can say that. And as far as the—what was the other question?”
Will Tiana possibly get back with Hakim?
“I don’t know if that’s telling too much, but I really do think that she is so annoyed with him just because of everything that’s ever happened. People always say there’s always a chance exes will get back together, especially if they’re around each other. So we’ll see.”
Serayah talks possibilities of a Empire Tour?
The next questions come from Ny Magee with EurWeb.com, who asks, are you guys ever going to go on tour and perform the songs from Empire?
“That’s actually a really good idea. I know first season that they did, Hakeem and Jamal did like a spot tour and a couple of dates around in malls and stuff like that, but I haven’t heard any word about us all being on tour. We’ll see, but I’m not sure.”
Ny also asks, what can we expect between Tiana and Nessa on Empire?
“A lot. They’re definitely going to be surprised because I don’t think they’ve seen Tiana be so outraged at someone and I don’t think that they would be expecting Nessa to do what she did, so I’m really excited for everyone to see that battle between the two.”
Karen Moul with SciFi Vision asks, are we seeing some real development in Tiana and taking control? And, will Andre be sorry that he messed with Tiana?
“They’re definitely going to be sorry. I feel like anything done in the wrong, with the wrong intention, always comes back and gets you. Definitely people have been taking a shot at Tiana this season in the later episodes that we’ll show, and they’re going to get something back for it for sure—boomerang effect.”
Serayah talks her upcoming album with Emilio Ricci of CelebNMusic247.com.
He asks, is there anyone that you could tell us that you’ve been working with producer-wise?
The Empire star says:
“I’ve been working with this producer named Donut. I’ve been working with Ester and a few others and hopefully more. But I’d definitely love to keep the team of just a couple people and have a sound that’s consistent, so I’m not too much focused on having everyone on the project, I just want it to be great.”
CelebNMusic247 follow up with another question about her song “Ace’s High.” Will you be featuring some of your songs on your debut album from Empire or is it going to be all originals?
“I’m looking forward to doing all originals, but we’ll see. I feel like if Aces High does good enough and things like that, as like Look But Don’t Touch did, of course, but as of now it’s all originals.”
Serayah talks collabs on her upcoming debut Album?
Then, Ronda Brook with Kontrol magazine asked, what can fans expect from your album? Will the songs be similar to what Tiana sings on Empire or will you have a different style?
“I feel like the overall sound is going to be the same—not sound but as far as the regular listener listening to the song, my voice is going to sound familiar because obviously I’m singing and adding some of me on the tracks for Empire. But the vibe will be different, a little bit more sultry as well as the pop and the fun stuff but more sultry, soul, R&B stuff as well.”
As for collaborations, she adds:
“Yes, actually, I do. I hope to collaborate with Jeremih or someone that’s really good right now that’s out. I love Nick Jonas, Jeremih, they’re really great. But as far as right now I don’t have anyone from the show being on it.”
Serayah reveals who has been the most influential regarding her music career?
Serayah talks about her influences:
“I would say definitely probably a mix between my mom, Sade and Beyonce or Janet Jackson and Beyonce. Obviously my mom supports everything I do and makes sure that I’m doing the best that I can all the time. Even when I don’t want to or when I don’t feel like going anymore. Then, Janet because she’s an amazing performer, and she just goes in on stage. Next, Beyonce because she has an amazing career, and she’s such a big businesswoman in the midst of being a celebrity. So those three are my top.”
Serayah talks love interest on Empire:
Ariana Romero with WetPaint.com circles back to an Empire question regarding Hakeem and Tiana. She asks, do you think maybe Tiana will get a brand new romantic interest in the next season?
“Well, not in this season for sure but maybe in the next season. We’ll see, it depends on how things roll out with Hakeem, I guess. I feel like as of now it’s either because Graham is gone, it’s either her career or Hakeem. I don’t think it will be anyone new because of what Graham has done. I think that’s burned her bridge for new people.”
In regards to working with Taylor Swift?
“Maybe, but I don’t see as far as us planning to do something, but if something organically happened, that would be amazing.”
Avery Thompson at HollywoodLife asks the Empire starlet, what’s going to be happening with Tiana in these final two episodes of this year?
She weighs in saying:
“I can say that she’s definitely focused on her career like always, but she’s getting picked on a little bit by people who want to be in her spotlight, like Nessa and then people who want to be back with her like Hakeem is really trying. Throughout all this, she’s just trying to press forward and get this music that she wants out, out and that’s what really matters to her—trying not to let the personal life override, but sometimes you just can’t help it.”
Serayah talks impact of Empire:
Then, Art Shrian with NewYorkEye asks how does the role on Empire impact you in your personal life?
“Well, as far as my personal life, it impacts it in the way of being on TV and being recognized, but I think it’s pretty black and white because it’s glitz and glam for Empire, but I’m still working on everything in my personal life as far as other projects and things like that.”
As for Tiana’s life on Empire, Serayah expresses:
“I think for Tiana, the evolution of the character has been amazing, but I would like to just see her I guess do more of the music and everything that we’ve seen her do but I think just hear more from who she is maybe and things like that that we haven’t really seen from her.”
Serayah talks about her environment on set?
“The environment on set is great, but as far as the writers, yes, before the season, I sometimes get to sit down with the writers and just think of different plots and things that could go on with my character. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen or it’s going to roll out that way because of all the other characters, but I definitely throw out ideas.”
Working on this show, what would be your message?
“What I really admire about the show that I’m on is not only that it is a black or relatively African-American cast but just that we’re seen in the light of not only black people can come from in the gutter or have nothing, but they can rise and become moguls and millionaires and things like that. So that’s what I really admire about the show. Also, I think it’s really amazing that now at this time we get to have black television back and see it back in action. For the young kids watching, it’s great.”
What shows do you like on TV?
“I’m really into this show called Insecure. It’s on HBO. It just came out. It’s hilarious. The other show that I like is Power, and I really enjoy, I really like Blackish too. It’s a cool comedy. It’s super ditsy and funny and quirky.”
Serayah talks gender fluidity on Empire and direction for Tiana:
Kylie Krabbe with AllHipHop asks a two part question. What would you say are the big differences or similarities between you and Tiana? Is there anything that you really fought for Tiana to be like on the show?
“I would say me and Tiana have a lot of similarities as far as being a go-getter and a dreamer and singing and dancing. All this stuff is what I’ve always wanted to do. And yes, of course, this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life, so definitely I’ve been in the shoes of fighting all the no’s and waiting to get the yes and once you get the yes, pressing forward and doing what you can with your opportunity that you got.”
How do you feel about Tiana being bisexual?
Serayah talks about her character being bisexual:
“It’s okay. When I first got word that that was what was going to happen, I didn’t know how to feel, to be honest. I have no problem with people who are bisexual or transgender or anything like that, but to play a character I just didn’t know—it wasn’t in her breakdown. It came to me later in the script. I just wanted to know where she was coming from as far as an actor. I didn’t want to just be doing it. So my only thing was just to have a talk with the writers and be like okay, why is she this way?…
…What we came down for with the character is that she was going through a period of being in the industry, being in the fast life, and some people get caught up and they start trying things they’ve never done, whether it’s drugs, whether that’s being bisexual, whether that’s whatever and they go on this fast road. But the thing for Tiana was it was just an experiment and she’s like not for me, and that’s what it was. So I had a far greater understanding about it after we talked.”
Do you get fan mail?
“I don’t think I got any mail, but I definitely get recognition. When I’m out on the street, I definitely have the gay community on my side for sure.”
Kylie asks, is there anything that you really want for Tiana in the future?
“I always wanted Tiana to collaborate with Jussie, and in future episodes she finally gets to. Now I think she’s good. It would be amazing if she had a collaboration with a guest star on the show. That would be really cool, but other than that, I think I’ve reached that now that I got to do a song with Jussie. It was really cool.”
Serayah Talks achieving her dream and future goals:
The last question goes to Karen Moul with SciFi Vision who asks how does the reality compares to the dream and what has surprised you?
“I don’t think about it a lot until I get a question like this. It’s really a blessing to be able to do what you want to do in general, but to be able to accomplish such a—not a far-fetched dream but a far-fetched dream in people’s eyes because when you look at celebrities and you think of movies and shows, you think of things and people, like they’re not human and it’s in other world….
…It’s really amazing that I got to be a part of it at this young age. That’s totally correct. But what’s the most surprising part about it to me that I’m still surprised at is that yes, I did want to act and sing and everything, but the universe gave it to me in one package, and it’s really, really cool. Actually I’m just always grateful for the opportunity, and I’m just always working really to just work on different stuff and just to keep the ball rolling.”
Serayah concludes the interview telling us that she is in the upcoming film Burning Sands:
“Yes, actually I’m on a movie that I just got word that’s going to Sundance and it’s called Burning Sands. I’m really excited about that because it’s a film and I also have another film that I can’t talk about, but I’m really excited to do as well.”
Serayah Thank you.