Alyson Stoner was 8 when she first appeared on TV in Disney Channel’s infomercial-like segment Mike’s Super Short Show. That little girl that introduced movies to us is now 22 years old.
She has grown up in front of our very eyes over the past 15 years, and that has to be a nerve-wracking process. But as she’s gotten older, her works have transformed. She’s still making moves, popping up on TV, and making her own music, but it’s all to the beat of her own drum. She’s not a girl anymore; she’s a woman ready take on the world.
Stoner’s passion for music extends to her adoration for dance. Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, she studied ballet, tap dance, and jazz. She’s been dancing since the age of 3, so the music was always there.
“I carried a Fisher-Price microphone around my home and performed on our fireplace and coffee tables,” she said. “I started songwriting at age 8, and later landed a few roles in musicals and music groups, which inspired me to pursue it as a solo artist.”
Those roles consisted of spots in films such as Alice Upside Down and Disney’s Camp Rock franchise.
She also released an independent solo album in 2011. Since then, she’s released a few singles, including “Pretty Girls” last year, but 2016 is the start of a new musical journey for Stoner. She’s taking a departure from her older music, one that’s in tune with her growth and self-confidence.
“To be blunt, I’ve been a pawn on many chessboards. I do not regret or resent any of my early entertainment experience—that’s my launch pad and the first chapters of my story—but I am ready to take the driver’s seat of my artistic journey and share a piece of myself—my fingerprint, my heartbeat—with fans,” she said. “I’m ready to be vulnerable about my humanity in hopes that it connects to and inspires others.”
“The journey through life is so wildly complex and individualized, yet so interconnected and simple,” she added. “I want to explore and represent these experiences, all the colors, events, emotions, and questions.”
Her next single, “Woman,” will hit iTunes February 19, along with the music video. With an EP in the works set to release in late 2016, Stoner says she has plenty of other songs to release as well. She also might be heading out on tour in China soon, and she’s hoping to hit the stage.
Her new music, she said, is “a representation of vitality.”
“There’s strength, vigor, passion, and authenticity in the lyrics and melodies,” she said. “We use universal rhythms and international grooves in the production. It’s spontaneous and powerful, and it moves each listener differently.”
The movement is important to music; in fact, the two go hand-in-hand.
“I learned about music through movement, actually. What a gift,” she said. “As I create in the studio, I stand up and dance to see how my body responds to sounds and rhythms.”
Stoner has been sharing her music on her YouTube channel for years, and she collaborated with other YouTube stars for covers of her favorite songs. Her favorites? Her collaboration with Leroy Sanchez of Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” and the one-take rendition of Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love” with Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui.
Last year, Stoner went viral with a tribute dance video she made for Missy Elliot. Some of Stoner’s earliest roles were appearing as a dancer in music videos, most notably Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” “Gossip Folks,” and “I’m Really Hot.” The video has received more than 15 million views since.
“I was returning home from a film premiere when I received 400 messages asking why I wasn’t at the Super Bowl with Missy Elliott,” she said. “The following day, media outlets were asking me to comment about her performance. I wanted to show honor and gratitude in a fun way, so I got my friends together and within three days, choreographed, filmed, edited, and released the tribute for the world. Who knew all this would happen?”
But music and dance aren’t her only loves. Stoner has been acting since 2001, and it’s something she wants to continue doing. “It’s definitely both-and, not either-or,” she said about both acting and music.
Some of her roles over the years include Step Up, where she played Channing Tatum’s younger sister, and the Cheaper by the Dozen films. She also voiced the character Isabella in Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, as well as had a recurring role in The Suite Life with Zack and Cody.
This year, she’s playing the lead opposite Jordan Ray Fox in the dark-comedy action film Mr. Invincible.
“I play Tallulah Marie, the craziest and probably most lovable character I’ve ever played,” she said.
She also might have a feature in the works, but that all depends on her busy schedule. Even though she acts, Stoner said she doesn’t even watch television, and she watches very few films.
“But I saw The Big Short and loved how informative it was!” she added.
She’s all about documentaries though—and recommends Artifact—and finds Stanley Tucci to be a transformative genius.
At the end of the day, even though she loves her work, she said it’s important to find the balance between work and rest.
“I am realistically training, creating, and managing my projects and striving toward the next goals—with gladness—around the clock,” she said. “It’s important for me to stay balanced, and I usually do that through reading in the morning, speaking with mentors, and hanging with a small group of friends.”
Read the Feb/Mar 2016 Issue and see more exclusive photos at ClicheDigitalMag.com
Read more Music interviews on ClicheMag.com
Alyson Stoner Talks Dancing, Singing, and that Missy Elliot Tribute: Photographed by John Hong, Styled by Adrien Rabago, Makeup by Anton Khachaturian for Exclusive Artists Management using MAC Cosmetics, Hair by Paul Desmarre for Exclusive Artists Management using Oribe Hair Care. Dress: Adrien’s Closet Vintage, Shoes: Zara