Frangi Chats To…Jai Waetford

Jai Waetford was the youngest contestant on this year’s X-Factor. At just fourteen, he drew immediate comparisons to a young Justin Bieber. It wasn’t long before Mr. Bieber himself heard about Jai, and during his Australian tour he organised a backstage meet and greet.

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After coming third in the competition, Jai’s first single, “Your Eyes”, was released at the beginning of the month, as was his debut self-titled EP.

I spoke to Jai earlier this month about meeting Justin, the X-Factor experience, and what’s coming next.

Frangipani Princess: What have you been up to today? 

Jai: We got to spend the night at home last night for the first time in a few weeks, a few months, so it’ s good to be able to just come home and relax

What was it like meeting Justin Bieber? 

It was really good, it was awesome. We were just at his concert and Scooter Braun came out and found me and mum, and took us backstage. I had no idea who he was, and he said “hey, I’m Scooter” and me and mum just tripped out. And then he introduced us to Justin, and then we chilled backstage. He showed me some new music, we met his dancers, his producers and stuff, which was really cool. It was good fun. 

Did he have any advice to give you? 

He said stay humble, which is cool. He is the most humblest guy, and I have never, ever met anyone as passionate about music as him. 

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Frangi Chats To…Third D3gree

Third D3gree auditioned for the X-Factor Australia as three individual artists: Jordan Rodrigues, Vanessa ‘Kelebek’ Skrypczak, and Jacinta Gulisano. They were placed together as a group during Boot Camp, and since then have performed as a totally awesome RnB/Pop style band.

I spoke to Third D3gree last week about what life was like during the X-Factor, what’s it like now the competition is over, and what’s happening next for the group.

Third D3gree: L-R - Jacinta, Jordan, Kelebek

Third D3gree: L-R – Jacinta, Jordan, Kelebek

Frangipani Princess: You all auditioned for the X-Factor separately, so how did you feel about being put in a band? Is it something you’d ever thought about? 

Third D3gree: 

Jacinta – We never thought we’d be in a group. Obviously if we wanted to be a part of a group, we would have entered the show in a group at first. So you know, all we were thinking about was being solo. But once we got put together, our initial thoughts were we didn’t think it was going to work, two girls and a guy, we’d never really seen that before so we thought it was a little bit weird, and we were all complete strangers to each other, so we were like “how are we going to bond with these two people that we don’t know?” But then we kind of saw that we all had the same interests and likes, and we liked the same genre in music, and it was a great choice by the judges.

What did you guys do to bond?  How did you guys get to know each other before you had to perform as a group? 

Jordan – I think we really started bonding at home visits where we went to Noosa, or Queensland, and we spent that full week together and I think spending pretty much every minute of the day with each other we just kind of learnt about each other, we learnt what our pet hates are, what we like, what we don’t like, and we kind of just had to get closer and closer through that experience, just being around each other all of the time. We did go out for a few dinners, we chilled a lot, things like that.

What made you all audition for the X-Factor? 

Jacinta – I think it was mainly just our families. They told us to give it a go, and it was also that X-Factor is one of the best talent shows out there, so why not? Why not give it a go? It’s launched so many great careers for people, everyone you hear on the radio has pretty much been on the X-Factor, or been on a show like that, so that’s why we thought we’d all give it a go.

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Frangi Chats To…Johnny Ruffo

Johnny Ruffo appeared on X-Factor 2011, and despite placing third in the series, has only continued to grow in fame. He was lucky enough to open for One Direction on their 2012 tour, can now be seen on Channel Seven’s Home and Away, and his newest single “Untouchable” was released last month.

I got to chat to Johnny about his new single, his past and future, and which fictional characters he would dine with if given the chance.

Picture courtesy of Sony Music Australia

Picture courtesy of Sony Music Australia

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Frangi Chats To….Kendall Schmidt From Big Time Rush

I’m a huge fan of Big Time Rush, both as a TV show and a band, so when I heard they were coming to Australia for SlimeFest in September, I was rather excited.

I spoke to James at the beginning of the year, and after the SlimeFest announcement was made, I was given the opportunity to ask Kendall a few questions.

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Frangi Chats To…Samantha Jade

X-Factor Australia 2012 winner Samantha Jade has recently released her newest single, “FireStarter”. A followup to her number one hit, “What You’ve Done To Me”, FireStarter is a rocking party anthem which is already tearing up the airwaves. The 26-Year old singer is currently working on her debut album, and took some time to chat to Frangipani Princess about what’s happening in her world.

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Frangi Chats To…The Collective

The Collective are the hottest new boy band to hit the Australian scene. After coming third in the 2012 season of X-Factor Australia, the five piece group are making waves in the music community. Their newest single, “Another Life”, has just been released, and is super awesome and totally catchy.
The Collective - Another Life
1/5th of The Collective, Will Singe, sat down to answer some questions with Frangipani Princess. Here’s what he had to say!

Frangi Chats To…The Knights Of The Round Table

Steph and I attended Supanova Sydney last weekend, and we made it our aim to sit down and chat to someone from the Merlin cast. Because we’re amazingly awesome, we got to grab the Knights of the Round Table, aka Sir Gwaine (Eoin Macken), Sir Percival (Tom Hopper), and Sir Leon (Rupert Young), for a quick chat (with a lot of emphasis on the quick) before they left the convention.

When you google their names together, this is the picture that comes up (we're not complaining!)

When you google their names together, this is the picture that comes up (we’re not complaining!)

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Frangi Chats To…Alex Day!

Note: I’m having trouble with the formatting of this post, but I’ll try and fix it tonight. Sorry for the annoyance guys!

This interview has literally been a year in the making. But fear not, because it is finally here.

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For those of you who don’t know, Alex Day is an extremely talented British Youtuber. You may have seen his hilarious series, “Alex Reads Twilight”, or maybe heard one of his brilliant songs (Forever Yours went to number four in the 2011 UK Christmas Chart). Maybe you just know him as Charlie McDonnell’s best friend. If you’re reading this and you don’t know of him, I order you to race over to his youtube channel, Nerimon, as soon as you can, and fall in love with him yourself.

I have loved Alex for over three years. When I was on exchange in 2010, his Alex Reads Twilight videos were the main way I coped with my crushing homesickness and managed to stay the full six months. From that time, I vowed that one day I would speak to him for my blog.

It turns out we’re both hopeless communicators (or maybe just have a lot of things on our plates. He’s busy making videos and music, and I’ve been trying to finish high school and survive University), because it has taken twelve months from the first email I sent, to the moment of this interview finally appearing on my blog. I suspect some of you thought it would never happen. But after many emails (and much fangirling on my behalf every time one appeared in my inbox – I promise I at least pretend to be professional), and Alex being lovely enough to answer every question I sent his way, here is the much awaited for interview with Alex Day.

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On Vlogging

What made you begin making youtube videos?
I just thought it’d be fun 🙂 That’s the best reason to do anything, I think.

 Is your ultimate goal music or vlogging, and why?
Definitely music. I see vlogging as something I really enjoy and I’m really proud of my videos but I never expected to be a filmmaker professionally, it’s just one part of what I do, and I’d be much prouder to be remembered for my music because I put so much more work and heart into those. Making music makes me happier than anything else I do.

Something you are best known for is your “Alex Reads Twilight” videos. What made you begin these, and did you expect the response you received?
I really didn’t! I just bought the book cos I thought it would make for a fun idea for a video, but when I sat down to read the first chapter I thought ‘there’s way too much gold in here for just one video’ and so I split them up chapter by chapter. It wasn’t intended to be such a big thing.

(Reader Question) You’ve been a youtuber for many years now, and work very hard. Do you have an opinion on “newer” youtubers such as Jack and Finn who have large numbers of subscribers with very little effort?
I think you’re underestimating Jack and Finn, who take their YouTubing far more seriously than I do. For me, making videos is just a thing I did in my spare time and it got out of control! Either way, Jack and Finn are hugely attractive so I of course hate them. 🙂

On Solo Music

What is your favourite song that you have released, and why?
In terms of the release and everything it achieved it has to be Forever Yours but I actually think Good Morning Sunshine is the song I’m proudest of, from those I’ve released so far 🙂 I love the sound and style of it and it means a lot to me personally.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Bruno Mars, because I think he writes really great songs.

What was the creation process like for your album?
It was quite disconnected; I kept going into the studio throughout 2011 and 2012 making songs as and when I wanted to, not really focusing on an end product but on making the best song I could each time until I eventually had enough that it felt right to collate them together. The first thing you do (or at least I do) when discovering a new artist is check what their recent good songs were, which usually means finding their most recent album on Spotify and listening to it, so I wanted to have that there to get everything in one place.
How did you come up with the title for your album? 
It’s from a book by Friedrich Nietzsche called Beyond Good And Evil. I first heard it in 2006 and thought “that would be a good album title” – when I released my first album in 2009 the plan was to call it Epigrams And Interludes until another title grabbed me that I felt was more relevant. The same thing happened with the second album. Finally I knew I had to get it out of my system and make it, and it so happened that it fit thematically on this one as well so I was happy 🙂
Your song “Bread”, is very creative. What is the inspiration behind it? 
Thanks! Credit for the lyrics must go to the writer, Charlie McDonnell, who originally released the song in 2010. I released my second album the same time he released his and the original plan was to each cover one song, to release them both on iTunes and effectively help promote each other while having some fun. Charlie was all set to record my song Georgia and I picked Bread, which I did with my good friend Tom Milsom producing (he produced my first two albums and a few of the songs on Epigrams), but Charlie sadly never did his cover and I was left with a song I had no place for until now.
What’s your favourite song on the album? 
Ooh, I don’t know! Production-wise, I’m proudest of Oh No! I’m In Love :(, which is also the only song I’ve ever been aware of that has an emoticon in the title, but my favourite song over all is probably Good Morning Sunshine or I’ve Got What It Takes. It’s hard, though. I obviously like them all 🙂
You’ve said the video for “I’ve Got What It Takes” was the hardest you’ve created to date. What was the creation process like? 
Oh, god, yeah it was. The video was being edited – this isn’t an exaggeration – an hour before it was supposed to go live at midnight. It got to 11:55 and the video went live, being uploaded from the UK by my cameraman while I was in America and people started watching it before I had even seen the finished result! So it was very stressful but we’re both super proud of it.
Do you have plans for your next single release? 
I haven’t got plans for my next single release because I haven’t written any songs yet that I think are good enough. For now I’m happy for Epigrams to sit and bookend that phase of my life before I move on to new things.
You got some pretty cool covers when you released Stupid Stupid, including one from Stephen Fry. How’d you get everyone involved? 
With Stephen I actually just emailed him and asked. I said “can you please spend just a few minutes reading these lyrics aloud and send them back?” and he said “obviously not because I’m in Twelfth Night at the moment and have literally no time”, although obviously he was nicer than that because he is Stephen Fry and the nicest man in the world. Anyway a week later I get an email from him with an audio attachment – he had a spare 15 minutes and remembered I’d asked and did it! What a lovely man. And as a special bonus, his email signature said “sent from my fryPhone”. ❤
When you released “Stupid Stupid” you also held Stupidfest, is this something you hope to do again with future releases? 
No, it was just a one off special thing I wanted to do to be silly. I would like to do a tour though. I’m trying to figure that out at the moment.

On Fans

Have you had any crazy encounters with fans?
Someone gave me an apple with a condom packet sellotaped to it and their phone number written on. My first thought: “why the apple?”

Do you think that fans sometimes go “too far” in regards to celebrities (whether that be “youtube celebrities” or “mainstream celebrities”) and their actions?
Not intentionally, no. People are always speculating on who I’m dating, and occasionally people turn up at my window peering in at me and taking photos while I’m eating a sandwich, but it’s not meant maliciously. So while I’d say certain things cross a line, I think it’s just up to people to define what their personal boundaries are so people know what to expect and to make sure not to cross those boundaries.

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On Australia

What do you think of Australia and your Australian fans?
I love Australia! I really wanna go back cos people are always asking – I never realised how many people know me over there. Actually another of my short-term goals is to get major support on Triple J with whatever my next single release is, so maybe that’ll give me a reason 🙂

Your music has been playing on the radio here in Australia, any chance of you making a visit? 
REALLY? That’s awesome!! I didn’t know that 😀 I actually if I do get to do this big tour I think I should definitely stop off there because everyone always tells me I have a big reach there, which is great ❤

On Chameleon Circuit

How did you first come up with the idea for Chameleon Circuit? 
It was easy, really – all of my friends were in wizard rock bands (playing songs about Harry Potter), and I knew if I got into that I’d just be another person writing songs about Harry Potter, and I liked Doctor Who more anyway, and since nobody else was doing that we got to be the first! And that was way more exciting 😀 It also happened that I’d written a song around the Doctor Who theme tune and Charlie had written a song about his favourite Who episode ‘Blink’ and between us we thought ‘that’s two songs – we should start a band!’
What has been the highlight of being in Chameleon Circuit? 
Playing on stage at VidCon in 2011. That was the most rockstar I think I’ll ever feel or look. It was awesome. And I got to play bass which always makes me feel sexy.
What’s your favourite Chameleon Circuit song? 
I think The Doctor Is Dying has a really awesome epic feel to it but I’m also very personally proud of Teenage Rebel because of how little it references Who. It’s the epitome to me of what fandom music should be; good music in its own right, not overtly referencey. On Chameleon Circuit’s second album we tried to reference the show as little as possible but write songs that would stand up on their own (the one exception being Charlie’s song Big Bang 2).
Can we expect any more Chameleon Circuit albums in the future? Maybe for the 50th Anniversary? 
We’ve talked about it, but none of us are really enjoying Doctor Who that much at the moment. I had some ideas with my producer, though, that excited me so I’m sure it’ll happen at some point.
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On Sopio: 

Do you have any plans to release new Sopio decks in the near future? 
We do! Deck 4 had a ‘twisted carnival’ theme (I like to refer to it as Sopio Nights) so for Deck 5 we’re doing Sopio In Space. It has a metallic silver border and loads of space jokes. It’ll be out in the summer I think – July or August time.
On LifeScouts: 
How is LifeScouts going? 
That’s a question with really two different answers; the first is “it’s going great! We’re releasing a hundred badges this year and we send out loads of orders every day and people seem to really love it!” – the second is the one my accountant will give which is “Alex has put over thirty thousand pounds into this and we haven’t even made it back yet OH GOD THIS IS SUCH A MASSIVE FAILURE”. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.
How many LifeScouts badges have you sold? 
About 5,500 🙂
On Career: 

What has been the highlight of your career to date?
The release of Forever Yours, hearing my song on the radio on Christmas Day after a week of everyone supporting me and buying the song for each other, it was such a great time 🙂

If you could achieve anything in the next year, what would it be?
I’d love to sell a million copies of my music by the end of next year, that’d be a nice achievement.

On Advice

If you could tell your seventeen-year-old self anything, what would it be?
Get a hair cut. When I started vlogging I used to get comments all the time from people saying ‘sort your hair out, get a hair cut’ and I never cared, I just left it all long and matty and tangled. I was a state. Sort it out.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“You should go for the Christmas number 1” 🙂 My friend Jonathan gave me the idea.

Do you have any of your own advice to share?
Just to go for things. People spend so much time wondering about stuff. I think an opportunity analysed will end up just being missed.


If Alex does come to Australia, I’ll definitely try and do an in-person interview. Meeting him is definitely on my bucket list!

frangipani princess xoxo

Frangi Chats To…Gemma Crisp – Author of "Be Careful What You Wish For" (And All ‘Round Awesome Chick)

Former editor of Dolly and Cleo Magazines, Gemma Crisp, has always been lovely to me, and so when I heard she was releasing a novel, I was super excited. As I was in America when it was released in December, I only got my hands on a copy last week. I picked it up at Sydney Airport, and by the time my plane landed back home, I had devoured the novel and adored every second. 

“Be Careful What You Wish For” tells the story of mag-addict Nina who leaves her hospitality career to pursue her ultimate media dreams. While at first everything seems like a dream come true, she soon realises that not everything is as glossy as she first imagined. 
I sent Gemma some questions to her new home in London (what a lucky duck!), and here’s what she had to tell me about the novel. 

FP: How much of the novel was based on your own experiences in the magazine industry?
GC: While the novel is fiction, I have to admit I did take some inspiration from a few events that either happened to me or that I heard about during my 10+ years in the magazine industry. The start of the novel mirrors my experience quite closely but then as the story advances, it becomes pure fiction.
FP: Were characters based on real people, or were they entirely fictional?
GC: Some characters are purely fictional, while others were loosely based on people close to me. None of them are an exact replica though – it’s not an autobiography by any means!

FP: Did you have an aim in writing the novel, or was it purely for entertainment purposes?
GC: Given it’s a chick-lit novel, I wrote it purely for entertainment purposes. It’s the perfect plane read or lazing-on-the-beach book, but I hope it also helps anyone who is interested in magazines to get an understanding of what can go on behind those glossy pages.

FP: In the novel, Tess reveals she suffers from anxiety and depression. What made you decide to include this storyline?
GC: Quite a few of my friends, both male and female, have experienced these illnesses, both of which are still very misunderstood. I guess it was my way of shining a light on something that needs more awareness – even if it helps just one person recognise the signs in their friend or family member and prompts them to ask if they’re okay, that’s one less person who is suffering alone.

FP: Based on your experiences in the industry, how realistic are Nina’s experiences on the job?
GC: Nothing goes smoothly all the time, whether you’re a magazine journalist, an accountant or a rocket scientist. Being fiction, some of Nina’s experiences are exaggerated to make them more dramatic while others are true to life. Having said that, there is one particular story arc involving a certain celebrity and her publicist that did actually happen to me a few years ago, so I’ll leave you guys to try to guess who it is!

FP: Lizzie and Romy are very Devil Wears Prada when it comes to job envy, is this something you see a lot in the real magazine industry?
GC: I can’t speak for everyone in the magazine industry, but I think people would be surprised at how nice and normal 99.9 per cent of the women who work in the industry are. Of course there are times when not everyone gets along but you can say that for any office. I’ve developed amazing friendships with colleagues at every magazine I’ve worked for which have continued well after we’ve all moved on. And remember, every story needs a villain (or two), so I wouldn’t read too much into Lizzie and Romy’s antics!

FP: Was your start in the industry similar to Nina’s?
GC: Yes, to a certain extent. I was lucky enough to score a three-month unpaid internship at an internationally renowned magazine then moved into a paid editorial assistant role with the help of a contact I’d made during the internship – however, unlike Nina, I didn’t leave that role after just three weeks! I also didn’t climb the ladder quite so quickly as Nina, but that’s probably a good thing!

FP: What was your writing process like?
GC: As I was editing CLEO at the same time as writing the book, I had to be strict about setting aside time to write – that meant chaining myself to my laptop for one day every weekend. There were days when it was the last thing I felt like doing after having a stressful week, but a book doesn’t write itself! I started off writing it on the couch, then moved to the dining table, but found I was still getting too distracted (oh look, there’s some washing that needs to be taken off the clothes line…!) so I ended up sitting at a desk in the corner of my bedroom facing a wall! I would write anything from 1,000 to 3,000 words at a time – it just depended on where I was at in the storyline, how tired I was and how easily the words were flowing on that particular day.

FP: How did you come up with the title for the novel?
GC: I actually submitted the manuscript without a title because I couldn’t think of one I liked! Then my publisher and I threw around a couple of suggestions, but she wasn’t really happy with any of them. I’d jotted down Be Careful What You Wish For in the notes I kept while writing the novel but I wasn’t sold on it – ideally I wanted something clever like The Devil Wears Prada, but I couldn’t think of anything!  So eventually I bit the bullet and suggested Be Careful What You Wish For, thinking my publisher wouldn’t rate it but she immediately loved it – she said it felt intriguing, so that’s what we went for. Intriguing is good, right?!

FP: What has been the highlight of the whole process to date?
GC: There’s been so many – actually seeing the book on shelves was a big one, as it was originally due to be released in January after I’d moved to London so for a while there, I wasn’t going to see it on shelves at all! But then my publisher decided to bring the release date forward, so the first time I saw it was at the international terminal of Sydney airport while waiting for my flight. That was topped off an hour later by spotting someone buying it while I was sitting at the gate waiting to board! I’d convinced myself that only my friends and family would buy it, so I was pretty happy! Other than that, I’ve really appreciated the readers who have tweeted me saying how much they loved it. Oh, and getting great sales figures hasn’t been terrible either!

FP: Can we expect a sequel, or another novel that has nothing to do with Be Careful What You Wish For?
GC: Just between you and me (and Frangipani Princess readers!), I’m actually in talks with Allen & Unwin right now about a potential sequel, so watch this space!

FP: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, both in the magazine and book industries?
GC: There are loads of wannabe writers out there – what will set you apart is developing your own tone. Think about the writers you like and why you like them – chances are, it’s because they have a distinct ‘voice’. That’s what keeps people coming back for more, so it’s an important character to work on.

FP: If you had to describe Be Careful What You Wish For in one word, what would it be? 
GC: Awesomesauce
Be Careful What You Wish For is available now through Allen&Unwin (at all good bookstores), and if you have an interest in the magazine industry, this is definitely a novel for you. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Frangi Chats To…James Maslow of Big Time Rush

I was lucky enough to be given the last minute opportunity to join a google+ hangout with James Maslow, one fourth of Nickelodeon superstar boy-band Big Time Rush. While I didn’t conduct the main interview myself, I got to watch and get some interesting information, and then ask him a few of my own questions. 

I’m a massive Big Time Rush fan, and was excited to learn more about the real life of the actor who plays pretty-boy James Diamond on screen. 

In the initial interview, journalist Nancy asked James about the pressures of fame, growing up in the limelight, and all about his love life. It was a remarkably candid interview, with not much off limits. James spoke about long term girlfriend Halston, his luck at having a regular childhood (he moved to LA at seventeen), and how he tries his hardest at twenty-two to remain a positive influence on his younger fans. 

And then it was my turn to ask James some questions. 

I asked James whether there was any chance of BTR bringing their next tour Down Under, (and after complimenting my accent) he said it’s definitely something they’re considering. He loves the idea of our beaches and awesome fans, so definitely wants to make it a reality. Fingers crossed! 

BTR are in the studio working on their third album, so I asked how the sound varied from the first two CDs the boys put out. James said  that in their previous album (“Elevate”), they fell to the pressure of what was popular at the time. He says the new album will go back to their roots and be focused on total pop sound. He said the boys were taking inspiration from classic pop bands such as The Monkees, and would be staying true to their boy-band pop roots. 

My final question was if he had to choose between acting and singing, which he would pick. He said that’s always the hardest question, because it has always been his dream to have a successful movie career, but doing BTR has given him an overwhelming passion for singing. He hopes he never has to chose between the two. 

If you want to watch the full interview (and my really awkward outside facial expressions and frowning) you can go here.

You can catch Big Time Rush on Nickelodeon, follow James on twitter @jamesmaslow, and grab their albums on iTunes and at all good music retailers. 

frangipani princess xoxo