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Hilary Duff Talks About "Raise Your Voice"

On Relationships, Singing, and Making Movies


Hilary Duff Raise Your Voice

Hilary Duff stars in "Raise Your Voice"

© New Line Cinema
What’s it like to be the unpopular new kid in town? Hilary Duff admits she doesn’t have much experience in that regard. But in the teen drama “Raise Your Voice,” her character goes through that and more in her quest to follow her dream of being a singer.

The idea for "Raise Your Voice" came from New Line music executive Mitch Rotter. "We had wanted to do a truly music-driven film, something just short of a 'sing at the drop of a hat' musical, where the music was as much a part of the narrative as any of the other elements,” says Rotter.

Hilary Duff was approached for the starring role in "Raise Your Voice" before cutting her first album, and after finishing her "Lizzie McGuire" movie. Producer Sara Risher feels the camera really loves Hilary and says, "She has such a dynamic screen presence and it was just very serendipitous that it all came together and we were able to cast her in this film." Once Hilary was onboard, the film, which had been stalled in the pre-production phase, began picking up speed. Co-stars, including Oliver James, John Corbett, and Rita Wilson, were cast and filming began in January 2004. While filming, Duff had the difficult task of balancing her acting career with her singing career, but managed to handle both despite her seemingly non-stop schedule.


Is it normal for you to have so many projects going on in one year?
You know what? It seems kind of normal now. I think that there’s really no way to prepare yourself, to say, “Oh, I’ve got all this going on.” You just do it. It’s like I want to be able to do all of these things, and I have to be really prepared to do it. It doesn’t really bother me, every day thinking that I’m going to have to switch modes to singing or acting or traveling, or this, that and the other. You just kind of do it. It’s just kind of natural.

Is it the nervous, raw energy that keeps you going?
I think so. The energy is addicting almost. Even though it’s really hard work, I don’t think you could do it unless you loved it. I love it, but it definitely keeps me going. A new place every night – doing this, doing that – it’s crazy.

In “Raise Your Voice,” you’re playing the outsider. In real life, you’ve been a star a while. How do you get those feelings of not belonging to come out for an acting job?
It was hard. People have been asking me today like what the most challenging part of the movie was, and it wasn’t the crying scenes. I think that’s much easier than trying to make people laugh. Crying on command is not that difficult. But the parts that were harder for me were after the tragedy happens to Terri in her life, it’s kind of like just like a closed-off, numb feeling. She doesn’t feel any emotion – no happiness, no sad. She’s kind of like nothing. That was the hardest thing for me. And then going to the school and feeling like the outsider, I kind of learned how to do that a lot with Lizzie McGuire because she was the dork that didn’t really fit in. And everybody kind of made Terri feel very unwelcome at the school at first.

Do the singing scenes reflect your real process as far as what you go through to get to a certain point with your voice?
I think so. It’s a little more difficult in this movie because I was singing arias and stuff I never have to sing for the type of music that I sing. But there’s definitely times that I get that frustrated when I can’t sing something that I want to or I can’t hit a certain note that day. There’s definitely a process where I’m writing and I’m like, “This is stupid. Why did I write this? Let’s start from the beginning.” And I’ll end up throwing something away that I really did like, just because it didn’t sound that great that day. There’s definitely some challenging parts.

Are you active in lessoning to tapes or are your producers so good they find your material on their own?
On the second album I worked with a lot of people that I worked with on the Metamorphosis album. And when I worked on Metamorphosis I was so nervous and shy about going into the studio and working with people, they eventually toward the end made me feel so comfortable and so secure with myself. I loved working with them. I have a great relationship with them. I talk to them [all the time]. When we started talking about the second album, I was like, “I want to work with all the same people.” They knew what was going on in my life, what I was going through. I would call them and say, “I feel like this right now. I want a song about this…” I never really felt like I had enough time to write my whole album and I don’t know if I’m secure enough with myself to do that. But I wrote three songs on the album, one I wrote with my sister. It’s so personal and these people really got what I was going through and how I feel inside. I think that’s what makes it good and that’s what makes me relate to them.


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