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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.
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.
Oh, yeah. Definitely.
Suzanne: Were you familiar with
most of the music from that era?
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
Christopher: Yeah, you will.
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
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...
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
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
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?
Suzanne: She does a great job, and the makeup
department did a great job making her look just like Gladys
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
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
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?
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?
Suzanne: He seems very angry, and not
like the stereotype angry, just like he's got so many bad
things going on pressuring him.
Suzanne: Yeah, so that's good.
Have you been getting good feedback so far about "American
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
Christopher: Yeah, so it was
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.
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-
or next generation after, so ...
Suzanne: People I know, have said they liked it and would
hope it gets picked up.
Christopher: Oh, good.
What was the most exciting part for you of filming the whole
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?
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
Suzanne: How long did that take?
Are you talking about that day of filming?
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
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.
Suzanne: And now, back to 5th Ward.
Have you started filming season two yet?
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
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?
not really, besides ... there's music, but ...
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.
Christopher: Yeah, it's Chris J.
I'll write that down...
Christopher: It's an alter ego.
Suzanne: Okay, good. Is it Hip Hop, or...?
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.
singer, and dancer
is set to be
dubbed as the "next generation of Hollywood leading
men," with the upcoming release of
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 5, at
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.
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.
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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