Interview with Christopher Jefferson of "American Soul" on BET - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Christopher Jefferson

Interview with Christopher Jefferson of "American Soul" on BET 2/13/19

I enjoyed this chat with Christopher. Some actors go on and on, but he was very concise in his answers. He seemed like a pretty relaxed and easy-going guy. He does a great acting job on both of his shows. Make sure you watch "American Soul" Tuesdays, 9/8c on BET.

Here's the audio file for you to listen to. Below is the transcript of the interview.

Suzanne: I've been watching American Soul and enjoying it, especially the music.

Christopher: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Suzanne: Were you familiar with most of the music from that era?

Christopher: Definitely. I kinda grew up on it. My parents would always ... They had these CDs, where it had throwback music ... What they played when they grew up, so every time I was in the car, I was always hearing that type of music.

Suzanne: Well, that's great. Now, your character did a little singing and dancing, and then he got involved in a crime. Will we see him do more music?

Christopher: Yeah, you will.

Suzanne: Okay.

Christopher: The music journey isn't over for him yet.

Suzanne: That's good. I think I've only seen the first two. I don't know if the third has aired yet. How did your part in the show come about? Can you walk me through your audition process?

Christopher: Yeah. I got the call from my agent, concerning this TV show that has to do with the 70's. I was like, "Oh, yeah, definitely. Put me in, count me in." They sent me the details. I got the character breakdown. I found out he's a musician. He can dance, he can sing. I'm like, "Oh, this is right up my alley." I went in to audition. They called me back that same day in the evening...

Suzanne: Wow.

Christopher: ... for the producers, and I had a good feeling about it so I went home. I was chillin', and then they called me to go to the chemistry read. I went inside the chemistry read, did my thing. It was fun. The day after the chemistry read, I got a call saying I got the part, and that was the happiest day of my life.

Suzanne: Wow, yeah, that's great.The show has some great people in it, like Bobby Brown, Michelle Williams, and Kelly Rowland. Of all the people in the show, who were you most excited to meet?

Christopher: I would say Kelly Rowland. That was my childhood crush, so meeting her was ... That was definitely a goal I had wrote for myself. Well, 10 year old Chris had wrote for hisself.

Suzanne: She plays Gladys Knight, right?

Christopher: Yes.

Suzanne: She does a great job, and the makeup department did a great job making her look just like Gladys Knight.

Christopher: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Suzanne: Yeah, they did a good job on there. I watched some of "5th Ward" too, and your characters are somewhat similar. They both have no father and a younger sibling. They both get caught up in illegal stuff that they didn't plan on. Are there any other similarities you can think of between the two characters?

Christopher: Besides music and the ability to be talked into bad things by their peers ... Other than that, I think that's pretty much it.

Suzanne: Was there any different way that you went about playing the two characters?

Christopher: Oh, yeah, definitely. For JT, I went with a more serious, reserved, not as social approach as I did with the other character. The other character, he's in the safe hood, you know?

Suzanne: Mm-hmm.

Christopher: But he's still talkative. He doesn't have as much responsibility as JT does.

Suzanne: Right. Yeah, Ray Ray's a little bit ... He's got more support, family support, I think.

Christopher: Yeah, definitely, and not a drug-addicted mom, so ...

Suzanne: Yeah, that's true. Yeah, actually, is it JT? Right, the other guy?

Christopher: Yes.

Suzanne: He seems very angry, and not like the stereotype angry, just like he's got so many bad things going on pressuring him.

Christopher: Mm-hmm.

Suzanne: Yeah, so that's good. Have you been getting good feedback so far about "American Soul?"

Christopher: Yeah, definitely, from everybody, friends, family, people in the industry. They really like how well this is put together.

Suzanne: Well, good. I hope it gets a lot of play everywhere because I think it's probably one of the best things I've seen on BET.

Christopher: Yes. No, definitely.

Suzanne: I know they ordered 10 episodes. Have they all been filmed already?

Christopher: Yeah, we've already filmed all those back in September.

Suzanne: Okay.

Christopher: Yeah, so it was already filmed.

Suzanne: Do you think they're keeping in mind that if it's successful enough, they could have another season, or is it just a miniseries and that's it?

Christopher: Well, there's talk of another, but who knows.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Christopher: I haven't got the information relayed to me, so there's no definite answer, but yeah.

Suzanne: I notice they're not calling it a "miniseries" or "limited series," something like that, and so it made me wonder,-

Christopher: Oh, yeah.

Suzanne: ... because they say season one, so it makes me wonder, "Well, if it's about Don Cornelius, and he dies, what are they gonna do the second season?" I suppose they can always make it ... like go back and think of more stuff they didn't do-

Christopher: Right.

Suzanne: ... or next generation after, so ...

Christopher: Exactly.

Suzanne: People I know, have said they liked it and would hope it gets picked up.

Christopher: Oh, good.

Suzanne: What was the most exciting part for you of filming the whole thing?

Christopher: Really, it's a throwback piece, so just seeing all the things from the 70's on set, like the cars, the clothing, the style. It's like working in a time machine. Production was really spot on with everything, making sure they had all the stuff from the 70's on set. Yeah, I think just sitting there and feeling the nostalgia of it all was really ...

Suzanne: That's one of the things I enjoyed about it, because I was around back then. I was in high school in the late 70's, so they did a good job with it. I didn't watch "Soul Train" regularly. I'm not sure if it was on a channel I didn't watch much. Back then, we only had a few channels, but I think I thought it was just a dance show. I didn't really watch dance shows, but I definitely saw it. You know?

Christopher: Oh, yeah.

Suzanne: I don't think many people around back then didn't at least watch it, especially younger people, watched it occasionally. They did a good job with everything. I think "Mad Men" probably raised the bar on making things very accurate for period pieces, so now everybody tries to do their best in having all the accurate stuff. You know?

Christopher: Right.

Suzanne: I think before "Mad Men," they were like, "Oh, nobody's gonna notice if we have this thing in here that wasn't around." Now they do their best. Now they know people rewind, or they go back and look at stuff and say, "Wait, that wasn't there."

Christopher: Right, yeah.

Suzanne: Now, was there any part of it that you found particularly challenging?

Christopher: Let's see, as far as challenging, getting into character was a bit challenging, of course, 'cause JT is such a ... He's not a dark guy, but he's in a dark environment. I think mentally putting myself in his shoes, it was a little bit of a challenge, 'cause my normal personality isn't like that. Just feeling all that internally, it was a toll on it. I managed to go back to normal like I've been ...

Suzanne: That's good.

Christopher: That's good.

Suzanne: Before they were filming, did they give you some time beforehand where they did rehearsing of the music, and that kind of thing?

Christopher: Oh, yeah, definitely. They gave us a lot of times.

Suzanne: How long did that take?

Christopher: Are you talking about that day of filming?

Suzanne: They just did the one day?

Christopher: Oh no, like ... Say for instance, are you saying before [inaudible]?

Suzanne: No, before you started filming the whole thing, did they do some rehearsals for the music and dancing?

Christopher: Oh, no. Not really, not before we started filming. Before I actually got in Atlanta, they were just telling us about what was gonna go down. When we got in Atlanta, when it actually started, we kinda just knocked it all out.

Suzanne: Wow.

Christopher: Yeah.

Suzanne: That's great.

Christopher: Yeah.

Suzanne: Well, it's good that you guys were able to do that. They must have made sure to get people who were already good at singing and dancing to do that, and were able to-

Christopher: Oh, yeah.

Suzanne: ... just get right in that. That's good.

Christopher: Yeah.

Suzanne: And now, back to 5th Ward. Have you started filming season two yet?

Christopher: No, I'm not sure what's going to happen with 5th Ward.

Suzanne: Oh, okay. I thought it was having a season two. I thought I read that, but I could be wrong there, so don't go by me.

Christopher: Right. Yeah, that's something my agent would know, 'cause I haven't really ... I've been so caught up with "American Soul" that I haven't really ...

Suzanne: Right.  I guess you have a great acting life going on. You've got two shows, and either one of them could go to a second season. Do you have anything else going on that you could tell us about, that's coming up?

Christopher: No, not really, besides ... there's music, but ...

Suzanne: Yeah, you have your music. Do you have a website we can check out with your music?

Christopher: As far as Spotify and all that? Yeah, of course.

Suzanne: Okay, cool. I'll look for you on there.

Christopher: The name is ... It's not Christopher Jefferson, it's Chris J.

Suzanne: Chris J.? Okay.

Christopher: Yeah, it's Chris J.

Suzanne: I'll write that down...

Christopher: It's an alter ego.

Suzanne: Okay, good. Is it Hip Hop, or...?

Christopher: It's R&B Pop.

Suzanne: Okay, cool. Well, I will definitely check that out, and I'll make sure to tell the readers to check it out. Well, I appreciate your taking the call today and the time for us.

Christopher: Oh, definitely. I appreciate you having me.

Suzanne: Alright, thank you.


Multifaceted actor, singer, and dancer Christopher Jefferson is set to beAmerican Soul dubbed as the "next generation of Hollywood leading men," with the upcoming release of BET's new highly-anticipated series "American Soul," the untold story of "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius in which Christopher portrays "JT Tucker," one of the leads in this series. From the producers of "The New Edition Story" and "The Bobby Brown Story" and executive produced by Don Cornelius's son Tony Cornelius, "American Soul" is set to premiere on Tuesday, February 5at 9/8c on BET.
Set in the 70s' against the backdrop of an extremely cutthroat Hollywood, BET's new original series "American Soul" shares the untold story of "Soul Train" creator, Don Cornelius and the creation of his legendary music and dance program, responsible for the way African-American culture was perceived by the world. Christopher portrays 'JT Tucker,' a performance and musically-gifted high school student who is working to better his life, and the life of his families. Forced into quickly becoming the man of the house to help his younger sister, and his drug addicted mother, JT must find a way to continue to do what he loves, while working to support his family in need while trying to survive his tough, crime-ridden neighborhood. The all-star cast also includes Kelly Rowland, Kelly Price, Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson, Katlyn Nichol, and Jelani Winston.
Showcasing true talent from a very young age, Christopher began playing the piano at 6 years old, and would later begin singing and playing guitar. Raised in a family of athletes, who also embraced the arts, Christopher was raised to pursue what he loves. Once in middle school and high school, Christopher would continue on participating in choir, plays, and musicals. Once out of high school, Christopher's natural comedic nature, charm and charisma lead him to become one of the top-rated Vine stars, amassing hundreds of thousands of followers, and millions of views. Christopher shortly after moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry as a singer and as an actor at the age of 22. Having already released 3 singles through streaming and purchasing platforms like iTunes and Spotify, Christopher will undoubtedly be one to look out for this year.
When Christopher isn't busy in front of a camera, or recording new music and memorizing choreography, he can be found working out and keeping in shape with a rigorous cardio and weight lifting routine, as well as regularly attending yoga classes. Christopher is also an avid lover of photography, fashion, and cooking.

Interview transcribed by

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