Known worldwide for being the iconic voice behind Jem / Jerrica Benton in the beloved 80’s animated series Jem and the Holograms, Artist Samantha Newark has recently appeared in the 2015 reboot alongside Juliet Lewis, Molly Ringwald and Aubrey Peeples. Examiner Leny Navarro had the chance to sit down with the busy singer-songwriter for a Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous interview.
Leny Navarro: Samantha, I believe you grew up in Essex until age 7, what influence did England play in your life?
Samantha Newark: I have fond memories of growing up in beautiful England. It is very much a part of the fabric of me, even though I left when I was quite young. It’s just a very different culture over there, filled with a profound depth of history. I think it gives you a perception of the world that is so unique that maybe you don’t get living in such a young country like America. I do appreciate the fact that I had the chance to grow up in both places. In my eyes, America seemed to have an unabashed sense of freedom and fun while England was a little bit more reserved. Truthfully, I pull very much from both places with so much to appreciate from each culture.
LN: I absolutely love your track “Lover.” I believe you are back in the studio, can we expect a new album in 2016?
SN: Thanks, I really love that track too and adore Dave Polich’s production. Yes, I’m actually going to be working with Dave again in the next few months recording brand new music so I’m very anxious and excited to get that rolling.
LN: What is the most surprising similitude between your character Jem and pop star Samantha Newark?
SN: There are quite a few things that I relate to Jem. I grew up singing professionally since I was 7 years old and so to get to play a character who’s living out their Rock star dreams as JEM was pretty much epic. I also have such a reverence for the values that my Jem character stands for. Furthermore, the duel identity of Jem and Jerrica is similar to my experience. As an indie artist running my own business, I have to be both like Jerrica in my business dealings and then like Jem on stage with my fans.
LN: I certainly enjoyed your cameo in the new movie Jem and the Holograms? What was it like to play in the 2015 reboot?
SN: I have to say it was quite surreal to it see adapted for the big screen. It really hit me when I was walking through the parking lot to go shoot my scene. As I walked past the actor trailers; I suddenly noticed the little signs on them saying: “Jerrica” “Aja” “Shana” “Kimber,” I definitely had a please pinch me moment. Jon Chu was so wonderful and so were the girls and just imagining a brand new generation of little girls getting to enjoy Jem was a really satisfying feeling.
LN: Sadly it did not meet commercial success at the box office, in your opinion, where did things go wrong?
SN: I fear that the trailer was to blame as it didn’t show anything that was familiar to the original fans. This was a movie they had been waiting for so many years. They were convinced there were no Misfits, no Synergy, no Holograms basically nothing that they knew and loved from the series. A social media firestorm of rabid angry fans ensued where even William Shatner was tweeting about it. I think it got so out of hand that by the time the second trailer came out, it was too little too late. It was obviously disappointing to see unhappy fans. A lot of fans I meet at shows still don’t even know that Keisha plays Pizzazz. The DVD may bring original Jem fans that missed it in theaters to see the film at home, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
LN: When it comes to acting, is there any type of role you love to play?
SN: I love playing with my British accent for voice work, either my “Adele” type cockney accent or a haunting Queens english for something whimsy or out of the bowls of the Arthurian legends. finally, it’s always fun to do the sexy seductress.
LN: Who can resist to a cockney accent! You are very busy attending international conventions, such as San Diego Comic Con, what is your favorite part about attending cons?
SN: Hands down, meeting the fans. I didn’t get the chance to meet them when they were kids growing up with Jem. It is beyond special to finally meet them face to face. I love hearing their stories of what the show has meant to them and how many have been inspired by Jem in the careers they have chosen. I meet the most amazing, creative people, some of which have become my dear friends. I also really love to travel so it’s doubly fun.
LN: Last song that was stuck in you head?
SN: “Drew” by Goldfrapp. I am obsessed with the whole album.
LN: Finally Instagram or Twitter?
SN: Love me some Instagram!
Follow the talented Samantha on her official website here. Her hits are also available on iTunes.