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emmy rossum (interview from 2007)

"In sleep she sang to you, in dreams she came..."

Emmy Rossum emerged from the Metropolitan Opera to the limelight when she was cast in a series of films -- including Mystic River with Sean Penn (in 2003) and The Day After Tomorrow with Jake Gyllenhaal (in 2004).

Rossum's biggest break came when she played Christine in the 2004 film version of Phantom of the Opera, earning her a Golden Globe nomination and a number of celeb fans and friends.

After a role in Poseidon, the multi-talented beauty decided to set her sights on a lifelong dream -- recording and releasing an album, Inside Out, in stores on October 23rd.

Not bad for someone who *just* celebrated her twenty-first birthday, eh?

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Lindzi.com: Congratulations on your album! Itís long awaitedÖ

Emmy Rossum: I know, right? It was only a matter of time before someone snatched me up!

Lindzi.com: What sound were you going for?

Emmy Rossum: After Phantom of the Opera, everyone expected me to do a cross over, pop/opera album. Classical musical has been a big part of my early life. When I left the Childrenís Chorus at the Metropolitan Opera, after six years, and started doing movies, I was exposed to so many different kinds of music. Different kinds of music influenced me from around the world Ė from jazz to blues to rock to new age and electronica. I wanted to stay true to myself and not do what everyone else expected of me. I wanted to use my voice as much as I could. Thatís where the idea Ė to replace instruments with vocals Ė came from. We used vocals as much as we could to fill out the track and create a lush, sexy, fresh sound.

Lindzi.com: I hate how we, in the media, tend to put things in boxes, but it does have an Enya sound to it.

Emmy Rossum: I would take that comparison. Thatís fine with me. Lyrically, Iím a lot younger and less new age. I wanted to be open and honest on this record. Itís somewhat autobiographical. The things Iíve been through in my life Ė love and heartbreak and growing up with a single parent Ė lots of things that make you stronger as a personÖ I wanted to explore all those in my writing. I play a character in films. Iíve always been shy about talking about who I am and how I grew up and the things I believe in in life. I felt like this was a way for me to do that.

Lindzi.com: How vulnerable is it to sit down and relive those experiences when youíre writing?

Emmy Rossum: Itís definitely scary. Being open and being honest with who you are is one of the scariest things in the world. Whether youíre doing it for a record or for an interview or if youíre a real person trying to start a relationship and be yourself in a relationship -- being yourself in todayís world is scary because you donít know if youíre going to be accepted. Thereís such pressure to fit in. That applies to everything we go through in todayís society with the pressure to look a certain way and to be skinny and all those stupid things that are of todayís culture. Being myself is important. I called the record Inside Out because thatís what this record is to me. Thatís my life motto and what I wanted to express with the record. I think you can only be successful when youíre honest with who you are and when youíre comfortable with who you are. Thatís one of the sexiest things.

Lindzi.com: When are you most comfortable?

Emmy Rossum: Iím most comfortable around music. Itís always been my home base. I did a lot of films and Iím most well known as an actress, but music has always been the first thing in my life. When I was growing up and in high school, I always felt like I wanted to be like all the other cool girls. I wasnít. I showed up on the first day of school with short curly hair and it was dark. Everyone had long, perfectly straight, beautiful blonde hair. From that moment, I tried to be cool and be like everyone else. Then, I realized I could never be like any one other than myself. I was unique. I think everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way. I honestly believe that.

Lindzi.com: Iíd read somewhere youíre done making films and solely focusing on music. Is that true?

Emmy Rossum: Absolutely not! No. I took a year off to do this record and promote it, but I signed on to four films this year and had to pull out of them because of scheduling record commitments. Iím still going to go and do films. Iím hoping to do one later this year. Iíve always wanted to make a record, which is why I spent too much time working on this. I feel a real connection to this music. I love doing films and I love playing characters. Iíve had some wonderful experiences and made some great friends like Jake Gyllenhaal, Tim Robbins, and Sean Penn. I would never give up those experiences. Iíll do another film. Filmís in the future forever.

Lindzi.com: Are you looking forward to touring with this album?

Emmy Rossum: Definitely! My first live show is in ten days. Life performances is the best way to connect with people Ė especially in this world thatís filled with lip syncing.

Lindzi.com: What songs on the album were most vulnerable for you to write?

Emmy Rossum: There are a few songs that were reaches for me. Stay is a song about falling in love and wanting to get close to someone. Thereís a lot of vulnerability that surrounds that. Youíre afraid to say that stuff out loud. I only just turned 21. Iím still figuring everything out, but I know what I believe in and what feels right to me. The title track Inside Out is about wanting to fall in love and being afraid to show somebody who you are. Everyone has scars. To show somebody that side of you is scary because you wonder if theyíll really love youÖ until you realize they have those things too. You want to know what their history is and what their story is. Thatís what getting to know somebody is about. Thereís also a song about being strong even though you have a single parent. Being left in that way and still being strong through that. Thereís also a song about infidelity that I experienced in my first relationship and how much that hurts, but you canít ignore it. You have to overcome it. The albumís honest. Thatís something thatís missing in todayís musical landscape Ė when a lot of artists are just shaking it in high heels and hot pants.

Lindzi.com: You mentioned growing up in a single parent household. How did that experience impact who you are today?

Emmy Rossum: It makes you stronger. I donít like to talk too much about it. Iíve never spoken about it before this record. Iíve always tried to respect the privacy of my family, butÖ I grew up with a single mom and she worked hard to put me through school. It made me stronger and, even though it gives you a lot of pain, I feel you have to feel lucky to be alive and have what you do have. To be loved in any way is a wonderful thing that should be cherished. It sounds corny, but itís the truth. You go through a lot of pain with these kinds of things, but you come out the other side. You realize you wonít let it make you weak. You wonít let someone else make you weak.

Lindzi.com: Whatís something people would be surprised to know about you?

Emmy Rossum: I guess that I do my own laundry? And that Iím a good cook. Iím actually a really good cook. I donít have enough time to cook, but I took cooking classes when I was in London working on Phantom of the Opera.

Lindzi.com: What would you be doing if you werenít acting or singing?

Emmy Rossum: I would probably be a pastry chef! Iíd be covered in powered sugar all day long.

Lindzi.com: Youíre quite the jetsetter going back and forth between Los Angeles and New York. Is life as glamorous as it seems?

Emmy Rossum: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Red carpet stuff and parties, thatís as glamorous as it looks. With galas and fashion shows, thatís all really fun. The stuff thatís not so glamorous is the waiting at customs and getting felt up and down at the airport. Sitting in trafficÖ the stuff that everyone else goes through.

Lindzi.com: Whatís something people would be surprised to know about Hollywood?

Emmy Rossum: Itís funny becauseÖ with the internet and paparazzi, everyone knows so much more than they used to about celebrities and media and all the surrounding gossip. They probably know most. Thereís so much access. If somebody sneezes in McDonalds and theyíve been in a TV commercial, itís all over the block. Itís kinda crazy. I hope it gets to a point where itís oversaturated and goes away. I donít think itís healthy.

Lindzi.com: Whatís the first thing fans say to you when they see you on the street?

Emmy Rossum: ďWill you marry me?Ē Itís mostly from boys mind you. I get that from a lot of boys.

Lindzi.com: What do you tell them?

Emmy Rossum: ďI donít know your first and last namesÖ so no.Ē

Lindzi.com: Where are you right now?

Emmy Rossum: Iím in a Toyota PriusÖ sitting in a parking lot and waiting to go into an office building for a meeting.

Lindzi.com: What makes you happy?

Emmy Rossum: Puppies! Thatís true. They do make me happy. What makes me happy? Seeing a great film or going to a great concertÖ Thanksgiving. I always cook everything for my family. Being around my friends and family. When they have success and when they can share in mindÖ that makes me happy.

Lindzi.com: What makes you insecure?

Emmy Rossum: The fear that Iíll disappoint my family or the people that I love.

If the past is any indication of the future, Ms. Rossum need not fear a thing.

 

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>> Listen to Emmy's first single "Slow Me Down" >>

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