Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff has got it all: Brains, beauty and a killer set of pipes. The 25-year-old might be the daughter of an international superstar (you’ve heard of David Hasselhoff, right?) but she’s making a name for herself all on her own. Television, magazine publishing, music and her very own jewelry line… is there anything she can’t do? Well if there is anything, we’ve yet to become privy to it. She even started her own hashtag #TaysArk, a movement for animal lovers who want to make a change. Overall, Hasselhoff, who aims to create meaningful content has been focussing on what she’s passionate about, and man, she’s on a roll!
Despite her celebrity status, she remains grounded and recently released her first solo single titled “Collide.” The song, which has an inspirational message behind it is one of those earworms you’ll happily welcome. Between her solo music career and her exceptional work at Bellus Magazine, (an online destination that celebrates artists in music, film, fashion, beauty and pop culture) Hasselhoff has gained the attention of thousands of fans… all while embracing her true self.
The young starlet, who catapulted to the forefront of the entertainment industry has made a career out of performing, interviewing and taking an interest in issues such as bullying and animal activism. Throughout her journey she continues to send out a positive message for her teenage following. I talked at length with the extremely talented (and humble) star about her debut single, as well as her work at Bellus Magazine. What unfolds is truly inspiring.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Can you tell us about your new single “Collide”, and what’s the driving force behind it?
TAYLOR-ANN HASSELHOFF: Yes. “Collide” is my first single as a solo artist, so it’s really exciting. It’s very cool because I’m able to create my own sound, really just being Taylor-Ann, and it started with me and my partner and my producer Mario Marchetti [Demi Lovato, JoJo, Black Eyed Peas] and I’ve known Mario for seven or eight years. He’s been with me from the beginning and now that I’m going my solo route, he is part of my little team. We sat in the studio and I said I don’t want to create stuff that’s going to be a number one hit single. I want to sit down and go from the piano to the violin to the drums to the guitar- I want to go through each thing and make this sound new and different and make people think a little bit. So, we sat down and we spent two days- the first day just sitting down and really putting the song together and composing it, and then writing it, and then we recorded it the next day. I’m so excited because now we’re creating a whole EP and it’s just been a really awesome journey.
MM: That’s amazing. It’s a great video and a great song. I think everybody is really taking to it. Who are some of your major influences in the music industry, and do you have a dream collaboration that you’d do with somebody you’d really like to work with?
TH: Yeah. It’s funny because my taste has really changed over the years and now I’m so into The Weeknd. The Weeknd is amazing. I think The Weeknd is incredible. Also, Clean Bandit- I’ve really gotten into them, they’re awesome. They’re so different and so fresh. I actually did an article about them- nobody knew who they were and I was covering their story and I was like, “Holy hell! These people are awesome.” I looked them up and realized that they all met in college and school and one was a violinist, and one played the piano, and one did this and they were all like- let’s make music together, and they really stayed true to who they are. They are the epitome of “embracing the weirdness” and now they’re just taking over the world. So, I’d say Clean Bandits, Souljer and The Weeknd.
MM: The “Collide” music video is directed by Joshua Shultz, someone who is involved with you over at Bellus Magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about what Bellus Magazine is and what your duties over there entail?
TH: Bellus Magazine is a magazine that is completely online, and it is based around all types of artistry. Josh pretty much started off working for other magazines and he didn’t like the fact that some of them were negative and he decided to create his own magazine that’s all about celebrating all types of artistry, whether weird or not acceptable or whatever it is. He’s all about spreading light on how they got started, who they are, and sometimes people that are different are the coolest people to know. He created it about a year ago and I got asked to be a host to interview some different celebrities for the magazine. I just kind of fell into it and I loved the concept behind it. I thought it put out such a great message and had such a good vibe. He asked me and said he would love for me to be a part of the magazine and we just kind of hit the ground running. I’m the managing editor and my responsibilities are finding interesting and cool people to write about and that’s pretty much my role now.
MM: That’s awesome, and I mean normally you’re the one being interviewed, but being involved with Bellus allows you to turn the tables on your subjects. How do you approach interviewing? Do you have any routines or preparations that go into it?
TH: I think it’s different for each person that I meet, depending on the environment or if it’s going to be at an apartment, or outside in a nice little area with the camera on the tripod, or let’s say someone’s doing a photo shoot with Josh, I’ll bring the camera out there and we’ll do it there. It depends on where the artist feels most comfortable and if they feel comfortable being on camera. I’ve found that a lot of the people you would think would be the most confident are terrified of interviews. That’s pretty much how we do it, though. It’s pretty easy.
MM: Do you enjoy being interviewed, or being the one who’s interviewing someone else?
TH: Both, to be honest. It’s funny because I once was being interviewed by somebody who said to me, “It’s so weird. I’m more nervous around you because you’re an interviewer, you know how to interview people, so I feel like you’re going to judge me on my interview skills.” I’m like- no way! It’s funny how people can think that stuff. For me, it’s a two way street. I always feel like when you’re sitting down with somebody, that other person is nervous but you are too, because you want to make the right points, but honestly I like both. Being interviewed is fine but I like interviewing people because it’s fun and I love talking to people. It’s more of a conversation.
MM: That’s great. I think there’s a duality to it and if you can have a good conversation and hit what you need to hit, then it’s great and it’s awesome that you can do both. That’s a great attribute to have, for sure. Social media is a huge thing, obviously, now. What role does that play in your everyday life? Do you get helpful feedback from peers and fans on there regarding your work?
TH: Honestly, I thought I was going to be ripped apart. (laughs) You always want to go in prepared for the worst. But to be honest I’ve gotten very nice feedback. I’m honored, because you never really know. People can be aggressive. My family has been through it all so I was expecting the worst. Everyone was like, just don’t read the comments. Then I started reading it all and I was like wow people are so nice, and people are so friendly. I’ve gotten a lot of people who’ve said “You’re very inspiring. I’ve had a lot of troubles.” There were comments of people saying, “I didn’t want to like you because of the way you’ve been brought up,” or “I didn’t want to like your song,” but they’re like, “I’ve listened to your song and the fact that you wrote it and those are your lyrics, I am a huge fan of yours and I love you,” and now I have like three fan pages now. I freaked the f*** out. With all these fan pages, I was like “There’s no f***ing way.” This is amazing. I’m freaking out. I was very overwhelmed by how amazing people have been, and I think it’s so important nowadays to be extremely involved with your fans. Your fans are the ones who are going to rise up with you and when you fall, they’re going to fall with you. The constant love and support. It’s important to remember no matter what those people are the ones who are creating your success and you have to always remember that. So, I’m trying to do that on a daily basis.
MM: I think a lot of people in the limelight don’t do that and it’s really only hurting them because people need support and you need somebody to consume your product, so it’s great that you have that attitude. You’re definitely going to go far with that mindset. So now, you’ve also taken an interest in producing and directing. Is there a movie or show that you wish you could have been involved with?
TH: Oh god, great question. Anything on the NatGeo channel, I love… or anything on the Food Network channel, or Animal Planet. All those kind of docu-series, half-reality based shows are so cool to me, and I feel like the world needs more of those shows because they make you think. For example, Planet Earth is my favorite thing ever. Getting to see the migration of different animals, and how they interact, and you’re learning something but you’re also opening your heart to different things, which is so important.
MM: That’s awesome. What would you say are three shows that you’re currently obsessed with?
TH: Bachelor in Paradise is the best show right now. It’s so hilarious. I have to also say House of Cards and anything on Animal Planet.
MM: Can you tell us one thing fans might not know about you, like do you have any hidden talents or weird hobbies?
TH: I did start #TaysArk and you can see all my posts with all my animals that I have. I’m always posting different videos and pictures of any type of animal that needs help. The whole reason I started #TaysArk was because I wanted to start my own charity. For me, I can’t really just be dedicated to one animal charity. I have to help them all because there are so many out there that need the help. Especially the ones that don’t get much attention and don’t have a lot of money, those are the ones that I try to help out. With #TaysArk I’m always trying to get those into view.
MM: You seem like you have an already full plate, but to wrap up, are there any other projects that you’re working on that you’d like to share with the fans?
TH: I have my own jewelry line that I just launched at Skulls on Fire Jewelry. I’m a huge jewelry fanatic. For me, this is stuff that I would wear all the time. It’s all based around one metal and sapphire eyes and we patented the design of the skull. It’s something that you can wear and also your boyfriend or your husband can wear. We’re still creating new designs now and everything…