EXCLUSIVE: RHONJ’S MELISSA GORGA ON HER NEW BOOK, THE UPCOMING REUNION, AND MORE!

melissa-gorgaIn the opening credits for the current season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Melissa Gorga introduces herself by declaring, “Sexy life, loyal wife. Take a page from my book!”

This past week, the last part of that tagline became an actual possibility, as Gorga’s first book hit shelves. A guidebook to happy marriages, Love Italian Style: The Secrets of my Hot and Happy Marriage provides a different type of behind-the-scenes look at Melissa’s life with her husband, Joe Gorga, than does the show. Here, she shares intimate stories from throughout their marriage and offers advice to her readers on how to keep things spicy, loving, and exciting with their spouses.

As this season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey winds down, Gorga dished to me about why she decided to write this book, her relationship with her husband, her music career, the show’s upcoming reunion, her thoughts on Caroline Manzo’s just-announced spin-off, where her relationship with sister-in-law Teresa Giudice currently stands, and more.

ALEX: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you and your husband meet and how did he propose to you?

MELISSA: How did he propose to me? He actually proposed to me on my 25th birthday. He put rose petals all over the room and it was really, really sweet. He surprised me. He sent me off for my birthday to this spa day, and got me like every treatment the spa offered, and at the end of the day they told me to go into one of their hotel rooms – because it was at the Short Hills Hilton. They told me to go into one of their hotel rooms to change for dinner because Joe was going to meet me downstairs for dinner. And when I opened the hotel room door, there was rose petals all over the room and champagne and he was on his knee in the room, so it was really cute.

We met … actually we were on spring break with our friends years before we actually got together. He said he saw me walk across the bar and walk across the pool actually, and he pointed to me and said, “That’s gonna be my wife.” So, it’s kind of crazy, but then we met at a beach club a couple of years later and we ended up, you know, getting together. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

Joe-flexing-in-his-teens(Joe Gorga flexing in his teens)

At what point in your relationship did you realize that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him and how did you know?

It was pretty much right after our first date. We just had the same views. We both were done, you know, kissing frogs and dating and we were just ready to settle down. We are both really hard workers, and we both just wanted a family, and we were young and that’s it. We wanted to just start our life and build the life that we have now, and that’s what we did.

Melissa-and-Joe-on-vacationWhat is it about your marriage that you think makes it so exemplary?

You know what, I think Joe and I are very loyal to one another. We back each other up no matter what, and I think that’s so important – just the respect and the loyalty aspect. And we’re also very passionate, and we compliment each other a lot which I think, you know, it works. By making him feel special, and making him feel like the man of the house, he in return treats me great, and he treats me like, you know, the woman of the house, and he puts me on a pedestal. So I think when it goes back and forth, you know, it trickles down to your kids and to everything else, and it just makes a happy place. A happy house.

So the overriding principle of your book is to treat your husband like a king and in response you’ll be treated like a queen.

Right.

Can you elaborate a little bit about what you mean by that?

Sure. I actually mean exactly that.

Just like when he comes home and he feels like the man and he feels appreciated and he feels like he went to work all day and came home to a loving home to people who really respect him and appreciate what he did all day, well then he’s gonna be happy to get up the next morning and go to work again because he knows he’s doing it for the right reason.

He doesn’t come home to a house or a family that’s like, “Oh hey, you’re home, find something to eat in the refrigerator,” like he comes home, I respect him, I, you know, give him something to eat, ask him how his day was, greet him at the door. Things … little things like that that are just so easy make a man want to come home, and they make him want to treat you like a queen because they feel like they’re the king of the house.

I see. So how did you celebrate your last anniversary?

Our last anniversary I think we just went to dinner. I think we went to dinner our last anniversary.

And how many years were you celebrating?

Nine years!

Wow.

Yeah.

What inspired you to write this book?

You know I think it was just a, a bunch of things. I think my family values are pretty strong and obviously, I think it comes through the screen on TV.

A lot of people would approach us and just say, you know, they love the, the fresh, playful style that Joe and I have, and, and I think it’s where we shine, and so I decided to write about it.

What do you think is the key to a healthy sex life?

Usually I … three times a week. Three times a week you need it. You need to keep your sex life the way you were with a boyfriend. The way you would when you first got married. The way you were when you were dating.

You can’t get married and just drop everything and get lazy and stop doing the fun things and stop the flirting. You need to continue to flirt. You need to do the foreplay, like not so sexual, that’s more like flirting and wearing what he likes and giving him the look.

And I still do that with Joe and Joe appreciates it. He feels like, you know, it’s still fresh and I think that’s what a lot of women forget to do. You have to act like you’re still dating because we’re human and if you don’t get it from someone you’re gonna start looking other places to get it, you know. So you want your husband to get that from you at home.

What would you say is the biggest obstacle that you and Joe have ever faced as a married couple and how did you overcome it?

I mean there were plenty of obstacles.

I think when 2008 hit, it was very hard financially on us because we’re in construction and everything took a dive, so it was stressful for us.

We were building a home that you see on the Housewives and we had plenty of properties for sale, and we just had a lot going on and we hit a hole where we were, you know, not doing well financially and it, it takes a toll on you. And you have three children and a lot going on, so I think that’s definitely one of our harder times. And you know, there’s been times when my son Gino was in the hospital for a couple of days, and that’s when you see how much you love each other and you stick together and you’ll back each other up, no matter what. So, there’s been plenty of trying times for Joe and I.

I think it’s a big misconception when everyone thinks it has just always been easy, and we just walked right into it, and it’s like a Cinderella story, because it’s really not.

F5741UcRaz5bcgYEx6oVKQuFt7fTUZQ8Cr0RPdq9vTgUhb5Uf-2TbIxmTKoEtkyQuKREWXGFJgxd3FzKUvfAe4vvcE84sxzHMMHyeWdefZe7Uj4tkVotpUqkIrPbfEYvQTotally. What is your advice to someone who’s struggling with not getting along with their spouse’s family?

My advice is to hold on. I think that time kind of cures everything, and in time you learn how to cope and deal and it’s sometimes tricky because when it’s family they’re not going anywhere. You have to keep trying to find forgiveness in your heart and keep finding things make it seem better or feel better and it’s always a challenge because it’s family and so, I just say to keep trying, don’t give up because, you know, you got to just keep on trying.

When you signed onto this show, were you worried about thrusting your family issues into the public and how do you think or hope that this book will change the pubic perception of your family?

You know what, I wasn’t so worried about it.

I guess you never know what you’re gonna get yourself into when you’re doing it and then, you know, you think, “oh this will be fun, it won’t be bad, how bad can it be?” and then when you get on you’re like, “wow, it’s bigger than me,” you know, you understand what I mean?

It’s definitely something where we don’t have a lot of control in, but you put your life in TV’s hands which is always scary, but I think that in the end, people see how passionate we are, and how much we love each other as a family. Or else, you know, we wouldn’t argue the way we do, and we wouldn’t have the issues we have. We have it because we’re passionate.

We love one another and I think that people appreciate and can relate to us a lot.

How did you cope with the rumors that you were cheating on your husband while you were working on this guidebook to happy marriages?

You know what, I really didn’t cope with it. It wasn’t like a big deal in our house because it just was so kind of ridiculous. It was just one of those like ridiculous rumors where you don’t pay much attention and you kind of just laugh at it, so it really wasn’t a big deal for us in our life.

It was more to me … it wasn’t about the rumor. It was more about like, well where is this coming from and who was starting it.

A few of the Real Housewives – like Brandi Glanville, Carole Radziwill and Lisa Vanderpump – have already published books as well. Have you read any of them and do you have a favorite?

Brandi has a great book. Her book was fun and fresh and exciting. I really liked her book a lot.

So did I. So as both a published author and a recording artist, do you feel more passionate about your writing or your singing at this point in your life?

I mean I’ve always loved performing the best. It was always, you know, my favorite thing to do. But I have to say it was very fulfilling to write down my whole life in this book and be able to pass it on, so I love them both. But I think performing is always going to be something that, you know, it will always tickle me forever, but I have to say I really did enjoy this whole writing process.

It was very fulfilling and to have the actual book in front of me, to be able to pass it around to my family, it really is amazing.

I bet. Do you have an album or any new music coming out soon?

I have a new song out right now. It’s called “Never Let Me Go,” and it’s on iTunes.

We’re working on an EP right now. I started working with Johnny Wright, who is, you know, amazing, so, yeah we’re working on an EP and we’re working on getting “Never Let Me Go” on the radio and it’s all good from here. Good things.

Awesome. Well I know that you recently filmed the reunion for the current season – what can viewers look forward to seeing?

I think this is going to be a different reunion than what you’re used to from The Real Housewives of New Jersey. You’re going to see a lot of support and you know, there’s definitely gonna be some twists and turns that are unexpected, but it’s gonna be different than what you’re used to.

Do you get closure with figuring out where all the rumors about you were really coming from?

You’ll have to watch and see. Yeah.

Earlier this week, Bravo announced that Caroline Manzo was getting her own spin-off show.

Right.

What are your thoughts on that and have you talked to her about it yet?

I have. I told her how excited I am for her. I think it’s so great. I think she’s got such a great family and they have such a bond and I really, really wish them the best, and I’m happy for them.

Cool. Well you don’t have to tell me the details if you can’t, but are you and Teresa currently on speaking terms?

Yes we are.

Good! Well that’s it for me unless there’s anything else you wanted to add about the book or any other upcoming projects you may have?

No – it’s just the single is out right now and the book, and I have a bunch of book signings coming up. You can go to www.melissagorga.com for all my signings, and I just really love meeting the fans, so I can’t wait to meet everybody!

0fpxzxzIMLARSL2_cw0nl2eqWSCc2-mlz9KjIIffm_YOriginally published on PopBytes

EXCLUSIVE: INTERVIEW WITH BONNIE MCKEE

bonnie-mckeeBonnie McKee is no stranger to the top of the Billboard charts.

Over the past three years, McKee has been responsible for penning nine No. 1 pop anthems and has sold more than 28 million records worldwide. She’s worked with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha, Adam Lambert, and Kylie Minogue, and her biggest smashes to date include Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me,” Taio Cruz’ “Dynamite,” and a whole slew of Katy Perry’s greatest hits – including “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” “Part of Me,” and the current #1 single in the country, “Roar.”

But earlier this summer, McKee decided to step out from behind the scenes and revisit her dreams of becoming a performing artist. Thus, with the release of “American Girl,” the debut single (available on iTunes) from her upcoming album, the California-born singer/songwriter made the transition from just being the voice behind the lyrics to actually being the voice singing them.

As she prepares for the release of her as-of-yet-untitled album (slated to be released by Epic Records in 2014), McKee chatted with me about the release of “American Girl,” her creative process, her secret recipe for songwriting success, how she plans to balance her performing and songwriting career, and much more!

Congratulations on the success of “American Girl” so far!

Thank you so much! We’re still in the grind so I won’t be happy until it’s gone all the way.

You’re responsible for writing nine of the biggest pop songs of the past few years. Which one would you say is your favorite and which one would you say is your crowning achievement?

Let’s see. Well, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for “Teenage Dream.” That’s a big one for me. But I think my favorite right now is “Roar,” the new one that I wrote for Katy Perry.

You started out as a performer then switched to exclusively songwriting for a little while. Why did you decide that now was the perfect time for you to re-emerge as a performer again?

Well, after I released my first album, I got dropped from my label, and I kind of had to start writing out of necessity. It was always my secret plan to be an artist again, so I just knew that I had to come back ripe with ammunition. I needed to have a story and I needed to catch people’s attention. I was good at songwriting and I hoped that through that, I could get back to being my own artist again.

How indicative is “American Girl” of the sound of your upcoming album?

Very. It’s all very colorful and full of pop anthems. I’m pulling a lot from my influences like Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson. It’s definitely going to be really big and fun!

Do you have a title and/or release date planned yet?

Not yet. I’m still writing. Most of it’s done, but I like to write up until the last minute. You never know, it could be that last song you write that’s a spark of genius and could be the title of the album. So I’m going to wait until I decide what I’m going to call it.

Why did you choose “American Girl” as your re-introduction to the pop world?

Well I felt like “American Girl” was the quintessential Bonnie McKee song. I’m known for my lyrics and big melodies, so I felt like it was very me. I pulled from my own real life experiences and it just seemed like the most obvious choice.

The video for “American Girl” is filled with so many familiar faces. How did you get all of these celebrities to participate?

Most of them are friends of mine. I just sent out a mass text and e-mail. I wasn’t expecting that many people to participate! It was really moving actually. When I got the Tommy Lee video back of him in drag as me flying upside down in the air and playing the drums, I literally was bawling. I was crying. I filmed a reaction video and sent it to him and was like, “look what you’ve done to me, Tommy!” It was just so overwhelming because that song had been on my hard drive forever and no one had really heard it. So for the first people to be hearing it to be these people, and then for them to get so creative with it, was really over the top and overwhelming.

How is your creative process different when writing for yourself versus writing for other artists?

When I’m writing with other artists, most of the time, I have that artist in the room. It’s like a therapy session in a way because I’m picking their brains about what they’re going through and what they want to say. So they share their feelings and I take that and I turn it into a pop song. When it comes to myself, I have to dig a little deeper. I’ve written so many songs in my life that I really have to push myself. There really are so many things to write about in a pop song, so I like to get really creative with my lyrics and try to say something kinda quirky that I don’t think a lot of artists would want to say. So yeah, I’d say I get a little quirkier with my own lyrics.

For the fans that have been following you from the start of your career, will the songs you had featured on your MySpace in between your first album and now ever be available to download or buy?

Yes! There was one song called “Thunder” that got remixed by Rusko – he’s a really awesome DJ. I sent him the acapella and he did this whole thing to breathe new life into it, so that one got kind of a life again. “Stars In Your Heart” may actually make the album. I’m actually planning on making a video for that one either way, even if it’s just for online release. And then I think “Love Spell” will have a new life too. That’s a song that a lot of big names have recorded. A lot of people have wanted that song and I’ve heard so many great, famous voices on it. But I don’t want to give it up! It’s a song that I wrote for myself and is very personal to me, so I’m excited to sing it.

You’ve also written a lot with Max Martin and Dr. Luke, who are pop songwriting legends in their own rights. What’s the best piece of advice they’ve ever given you?

Literally every time I write with them, I learn something new. I always try and let the professionals do their thing and I try to pick up as much as I can. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned is simplicity. It’s easy to try to get overly clever, but I think it’s important to instead just pick and choose the moments where you want to be clever and let the record just be accessible. So yeah, I’d say simplicity is definitely the most important thing I’ve learned from Max Martin and Dr. Luke.

So is keeping it simple your secret formula for writing so many #1 hits?

I guess so. It also helps working with all of these amazing artists and songwriters, so it’s always a collaborative effort. But yes, I think that’s the key – writing a song that people can relate to, even if they don’t speak English. As long as you can sing along to it and still feel something, that’s what works. So phonetics are also really important.

I know you yourself weren’t present at the VMA’s this year, but what were your thoughts on the mob of redheads who were all chanting your name on camera?

I thought it was amazing! It was so cute. I didn’t even know that was coming, so when I saw it, I was like, “Oh my god!” It was quite a surprise. It was really cool. It’s awesome to know that you can have a Bonnie McKee costume – and the fact that it’s recognizable is really awesome. It really warmed my heart.

That must have been a really big moment for you!

Yeah! It was a big moment for me. It was one of those moments that I was like, “oh my god, this is really real,” so it was pretty cool.

Speaking of the VMAs, what was your favorite performance of the night?

There were some really good ones! It was a really exciting year this year. I feel like the past couple years have been pretty dull. I really enjoyed Lady Gaga’s performance because she always brings 110%. And of course, Katy. She’s always great. It’s always exciting to hear the songs that I wrote being performed. Every time I’ve seen someone perform a song live that we wrote together, I cry. Every single time. I’m a big cry-baby. So that’s always exciting. And of course, Bruno Mars.

It must be really interesting to see all the visual narratives and choreography and production value added to the performances of these songs that you wrote and seeing how all those things play out on stage together.

Yeah, it’s really cool! I’m always excited to see the music videos too because I feel like every time I write a song, I have a video for it in my head. I’m always imagining what the video for the song would look like. That’s kind of how I write, so it’s always fun to see how they turn out.

As a co-writer of “Roar,” what is your response to the allegations that the song sounds too similar to Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”?

Yeah, I heard about that. It’s funny because people forget that we wrote this song months ago. We wrote the song before “Brave” came out and I had never actually heard it. Then when I listened to it, I was like, “oh yeah, I guess that is kind of reminiscent,” but it’s a total coincidence. I had never heard the song before and I think it’s a great song, by the way. I love Sara. I think she’s so talented. And it happens all the time. I hear stuff on the radio that I’m like, “what?! I just wrote something like that!” but there’s no way that anyone could have copied that because nobody in the world’s ever heard it. But it’s just kind of something that happens and I think it happens all the time.

Will we be hearing more of your songs on Katy and/or Britney’s upcoming albums?

Yeah, I wrote 4 songs on the new Katy album, Prism. I’m really excited about those. We really had a lot of fun writing them together. They’re really different and fun. She likes to get experimental so they’re kind of a departure from her last album that I worked on with her. As far as Britney, I don’t know. If they call me, I’ll definitely do it. It’s always so exciting to hear an iconic voice like Britney’s singing the words that I’ve written.

That actually leads in nicely to my next question –  Do you ever get nervous or star-struck when collaborating with artists of that caliber? For instance, I heard you wrote a song on Cher’s upcoming album. That must have been quite an experience!

I know that Cher recorded a song that I wrote and that was really exciting, but I don’t know if it made the final cut of her album or not. That happens a lot – where the artist will record like 45 songs and they’ll pick the best from those, so I have no idea if she’ll be using it or not. But either way, it’s an honor to have her voice singing my song. She’s just an idol of mine. But yes, absolutely, I get nervous. Britney Spears is someone I grew up listening to and idolizing and watching and studying, so to see her in the flesh and to hear her voice was just really surreal. I’ve gotten to meet all kinds of people – like Steven Tyler was a big one for me. I got to sing for him and he got to sing for me, just me and him and a piano, so I’ve had tons of amazing experiences. It’s been very rewarding being behind the scenes.

What’s one song from the past year that you didn’t write but wish you had?

Hmm … “Call Me Maybe” is maybe 2-years-old now, but I wish I wrote that one. From top to bottom, it’s just a perfect pop song. There are no holes, no questions about it. It’s just a perfect pop song. And Carly Rae [Jepsen] is a total sweetheart.

After your album is released, how do you plan on balancing your career as a songwriter and your career as a popstar?

Well I’m fortunate in that I’m able to pick and choose who I want to write for and what I want to do. But I think for now, I’m an artist. It was always my #1 goal to be on stage and to be able to move people with my own voice and have that experience of sharing my music with people. There’s just nothing like that. So I think I’m going to focus more on my own artist project. As far as songwriting stuff – I’ll do things that I can’t say no to. If Katy calls, I’m not going to say no. If Britney calls, I’m not going to say no. If Cher calls, I’m definitely not going to say no.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your album or any of your upcoming plans that we didn’t talk about?

I don’t think so! I guess just buy the “American Girl” single on iTunes!

bonnie-mckee1Originally published on PopBytes

EXCLUSIVE: ZENDAYA DISHES ON HER DEBUT ALBUM

zendayaAt only 17-years-old, Zendaya is starting to give James Franco a run for his money with her rapidly growing and multi-faceted resume.

Born and raised in California, Zendaya (which means “to give thanks” in Shona – a Bantu language native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe) kicked off her career as a regional musical theater actress before becoming a fashion model and ultimately landing a starring role on the Disney channel sitcom, Shake It Up.

This fall, the Dancing With the Stars runner-up will continue to take the entertainment industry by storm with the hotly anticipated release of her eponymous debut album (in stores on September 17th, pre-order on iTunes). Already, the record’s irresistibly catchy lead single, “Replay,” has been sizzling its way up the dance charts and is continuing to build momentum.

On the heels of her album hitting stores (which is now streaming in full), Zendaya chatted with me about launching her music career, why her record stands out, her upcoming acting gigs, fashion, the publication of her first book, and much more.

ALEX: Your album hits stores next week. What can your fans expect from the record?

ZENDAYA: I think they can expect a lot of good stuff. I wanted this album to very much signify who I am as an artist and really make it clear to people who I am and who I am creatively. And I think that’s what people are gonna get. It’s definitely all about rhythmic pop, so it’s not just pop music, but it has little influences of other urban tones to it and has got some old school vibes in there. It’s just, you know, a twist on regular pop music.

Stylistically, how similar would you say “Replay” is to the rest of the record?

I think “Replay” is a nice setting tone for the whole record. Do you know what I mean? It just kind of explains my style a little bit – which mixes the two worlds of pop and R&B together. So it kind of gives it a nice tone to begin with. But of course there’s other songs on there that are very different, and some that are very similar. So it’s kind of like, it’s just one of those things you have to hear for yourself.

Do you have a favorite song on the album?

That’s tough. I think it’s really important for me to like every single song that’s on my album. You know what I mean? I have some kind of connection to every single song. I love each in a certain way. My favorites are definitely “Replay” … there’s a song on there called “Fireflies,” which is an amazing song because it again does that mixing pop and R&B thing together, which I think is really cool. A song called “Heaven Lost An Angel” has a super old school vibe, and I feel like it’s just like one of those old school jams.

I see. So I imagine that there’s a lot of pressure deciding which song to release as your debut single. What made “Replay” the perfect choice?

Well, when I first heard “Replay”, I was like, “this is going to be my first single.” I was obsessed with it the moment I heard it. I believe in it. I feel like it’s very different. It mixes that pop sound with a very, almost like R&B melody, and I think that that’s very special and something that’s not been done before in pop music. So, I’m proud of that.

What was your reaction the first time you heard the song on the radio?

I was doing my makeup in New York, and I heard it on the radio, and we were playing it. I jumped up and down, and I like jumped on the beds. I started singing it. I reenacted the whole music video, and then just casually went back to doing my makeup.

How do you feel about being compared to such R&B heavy hitters like Aaliyah, Cassie and Ciara?

I mean that’s really cool. I think Aaliyah definitely had a lot of influence in what I wanted to do stylistically. Obviously in “Replay”, you know, I have a look that I wanted to kind of give an updated Aaliyah flavor to – which is like the long hair, the all-white thing. I had like that tomboy thing, but still very feminine. So that for sure. Honestly, it’s cool to take other people’s inspiration, or to be compared to them is very cool. But again, I’m creating Zendaya. But at the end of the day, that’s awesome to hear, to be compared to those lovely ladies.

What other musicians or albums were you listening to while you were recording your album?

I mean, honestly, for me, my number one goal is actually to make music that couldn’t be done by other people. You know what I mean? Like, I don’t want people to hear my songs and think, “I can see so and so singing this.” I like music that I just make for myself. You know?

You want to make it really unique, of course.

Exactly. So, I mean, inspiration-wise, I definitely love Chris Brown’s kind of music – how he does the whole mixing of those pop and R&B worlds, too. But for me it was mostly about creating my own lane and doing my own thing, and trying to be as different as I could.

Would you say that your music is aimed for your younger fans that watch you on the Disney Channel, or are you attempting to reach out to a broader audience?

I think it’s for all audiences, you know. It’s for my younger fans as well as for the newcomers. I think it’s just time-transcending music that anyone can listen to.

Awesome. Well “Replay” is continuing to burn up the dance charts. Do you have a favorite remix of that song?

That’s really hard because I was blown away when I heard all the remixes. They’re all so different! They took a song that I thought couldn’t be done any other way and made it amazing. I was like, “wow, this song is different in so many other ways, and it’s so creative!” It’s just really cool to be a part of.

Do you have plans to tour in support of the record?

Yeah, yeah! I’ve been touring for a while now. I tour around all over actually. We even went to Canada a few weeks ago, and I think that’s important. Not only just to promote the record or to promote my new stuff, but also just to get more in touch with my fans and meet fans that I probably wouldn’t have been able to meet before.

Absolutely! Earlier this year you came in second place on Dancing With the Stars. Congratulations on that! Were you surprised how far you got considering that you’re the youngest contestant in the show’s history?

I was not surprised. I think that because I was younger, I worked just as hard – if not harder than everyone else. And plus on top of that, I was balancing school and everything else that comes along with that. I think you should walk into everything you do with the intention of doing the best you possibly can. So I walked in there feeling like I was going to go as far as I possibly could, and, just had a really open mind, and was very happy and focused. I think that’s the key to success in general – to go into things with a successful point of view.

What was your favorite routine from the show?

My favorite routine, I think, would be … oh man, that’s a tough one. I think, “Argentine Tango” was one of my favorites, because that was one of the hardest ones that I did. Just to say that I actually did it and completed it and conquered it is a big deal for me.

Between singing, acting and dancing, you’re the definition of a triple threat. Is there one of those activities that you hold closer to your heart than the others, or are you equally passionate about all three?

Honestly, I’m equally passionate. There’s not one that I love more than the other. I think they all kind of come together. They’re hand-in-hand anyway, you know? Like if I’m doing a music video, I’m doing a little bit of singing, and I’m doing a little bit of dancing, and I’m doing a little bit of acting. You know what I mean? It all kind of comes together.

Totally. So with Shake It Up ending, do you have any other acting gigs lined up, or are you using this time to focus more on your music?

Well, I’m definitely focusing on my music, but currently I’m in Canada shooting a Disney Channel movie.

Oh, great. Is there anything you can tell me about that?

Not too much, but it’s called Zapped, and it’s a really cute, cute story line. I think it’s going to be a really great movie. And it’s funny! But still very real.

As a former fashion model, how has your style evolved now that you’ve transitioned into a pop star?

I think it takes everyone a little while to really understand their style and who they are. And for me, I’m kind of like the tomboy/urban thing. That’s, you know, really my thing. And then, you know, when I go for the red carpet, I dress it up and get a little girly – but there’s always some kind of edge to it. It’s not just, you know, regular. There’s some kind of oomph.

Last month you also published your first book, Between You and Me: How to Rock Your Tween Years with Style and Confidence. What inspired you to write this?

Like I said, I like to be a positive influence for my younger fans. I think that it was just kind of a way for me to help them, and just get them through the tween years, which can be kind of crazy. It’s more a book of giving back and hopefully just trying to make those years smoother. It’s yet again another good, positive influence in their little tween lives to help them get through whatever kind of craziness is going on, and just a way to offer sound, regular people advice. Not from a teacher or from a parent, but from more of a big sister point of view.

Now that it’s winding down, what’s your favorite memory from this summer?

I think there’s a lot. I’ve accomplished a lot this past summer. I’m very proud of everything I’ve done. I think it’s gone by really, really fast. I just like performing. That’s one thing that’s been very important to me. All the work I’ve done on my album, and everything I’m doing with Vevo is really cool. It’s been a great year and I can’t wait to keep going. Also, being on The View was crazy, so I’m very proud.

Is there anything else about your album or anything else that you’d like to add that we didn’t talk about?

I think that’s it! It’s genuinely me and I really hope that everyone enjoys it!

Zendaya-Zendaya-2013-1200x1200Originally published on PopBytes