Wednesday, May 29, 2024

‘Empire’ Star Serayah: ‘I Want Fans To Get To Know Me Musically Now’ [EUR Exclusive]

Serayah McNeil
EMPIRE: Serayah McNeil in the “What Remains is Bestial” episode of EMPIRE 


*Singer/actress Serayah Mcneill has been a staple of “Empire” since season one when she began as Hakeem’s on screen love interest and she has since transitioned into a bonafide star.

EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with the Cali native regarding her role as Tianna, her character’s growth and who she would like to collaborate with on the series. She also shared how she envisions life after the hit Fox music drama series ends.

“I love acting. It’s a different part of me and it’s a different part of being an artist,” she told us while reflecting on her multi-hyphen career.

Check out more of our Q&A with Serayah below.

What do you think about Tianna’s growth over the past three seasons?

Serayah: I think it’s been great. She’s a lot more focused in her career. Tianna’s a bigger pop star now on the show, and she is definitely grown as a person by not needing to use anyone to get ahead, but just focusing on what she has going. It’s been great.

Without spoiling anything, what’s going to surprise viewers about Tianna this season?

Serayah: Definitely her new love interest. This season we get to see something that we didn’t see from her before, and that’s a new guy. How long has this guy been here? I established for my character that’s he’s been here since last season. We just didn’t know [because] she was focused on her career.

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Recording artist Serayah attends the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Does Tianna have any regrets?

Serayah: Not regrets. I just think she doesn’t like to need help from anyone. Like the whole Hakeem situation. I think that she was just like, she liked him but not that much, but she just really wanted a career and she could get that through him. I think that’s where a lot of bittersweet moments come from [for] her and him. I don’t know if it’s regret, but I definitely think that she calls herself more of any independent woman now and she’s really striving off of that. 

Who would you like to collaborate with musically on the show?

Serayah: I would love to do something with Jussie. I haven’t done anything with any other rapper besides Hakeem, so if there was a Bre-Z moment that would be great. It’s probably only those two I wish we had storylines that would lead into doing music together.

Serayah McNeil
EMPIRE: Pictured L-R: Serayah McNeil and Bryshere Gray in the “The Lyon Who Cried Wolf” episode of EMPIRE 

Is there a particular episode you’re most fond of, or a particular storyline that’s your favorite so far?

Serayah: I really did love the ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ performance, and the whole look — the costumes and things like that was super fun. Another moment that I really like is, I always love Andre’s storylines. I feel like [he] always has so much going on. He’s so much more significant than his character thinks that he is.

The day will come when “Empire” is no more. So how do you envision your professional life after the series? 

Serayah: I’m doing my music now, I’m not going to wait until it’s over. I want my fans to start to get to know me musically now. I feel like I’ve done acting none stop for three years, so I definitely want to take time for my music after this. But I am so down for a movie, and I actually got the pleasure of doing a Netflix film called ‘Burning Sands’ that will come out soon. After ‘Empire,’ I’m definitely going to take time for my music.

I’m signed to Columbia and I feel like I have a great team. There’s not that many people who are in my lane at Columbia, and it’s great. I feel like I can really excel there. It’s a tricky process putting out music for Serayah and Tianna being on ‘Empire’ singing as well.

Catch Serayah on “Empire” Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox. Watch full episodes here.


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