Charismatic, humble, passionate, and driven, are all ways television personality Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff could be described. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Taylor-Ann grew up in Hollywood royalty as the daughter of internationally renowned star David Hasselhoff. However, it is clear that she is not one to live in the shadow of her famous father. Over the years Taylor-Ann has become known in the entertainment industry for being undeniably talented and an advocate for people of all ages to follow their dreams and never give up.
In early 2015 she joined the cast for Season 3 of the international series “#RichKids of Beverly Hills,” on E! Entertainment. Taylor-Ann won over legions of fans by bringing her relatable personality and free-spirit to the season. However, her talents are not limit to the world of reality TV. Taylor-Ann holds the title of President of Bellus Magazine, an online digital publication that aims to share positive, enlightening stories of people in music, film, TV, health, and charity work. She can also be seen hosting Bellus TV, an inside look at Bellus Magazine’s exclusive interviews celebrating top tier talent around the world. Bellus has allowed her to exercise her creative side in these projects, fully producing and editing each segment.
Taylor-Ann is also spreading her wings (once again) in the music scene, as she is set to release her new single and music video “Collide” this summer with producer Mario Marchetti [Demi Lovato, JoJo, Black Eyed Peas]. Her music has also been the inspiration behind the upcoming launch of her high end unisex jewelry line Skulls On Fire. This line is inspired by Taylor-Ann’s own personal style, having a rock-n-roll/rocker-chic vibe to it, launched in May 2015.
Aside from her work in television and music, Taylor-Ann has a huge passion for charity and she works with a handful of organizations regularly, including the LA Mission, an organization that works to provide hope, health, food, and opportunity to people in need. She also works closely with The World Animal Protection.
The blossoming singer/songwriter recently released a music video for her new single “Collide” which shares a strong message about love and bullying. The song, produced by Mario Marchetti [Demi Lovato, JoJo, Black Eyed Peas] and the music video, directed by Joshua Shultz [Imagine Dragons, Juliet Simms], brings Taylor-Ann’s vision to life.
In addition to working on her music and #RichKids, Taylor-Ann is president of Bellus Magazine, an online digital publication that aims to share positive, enlightening stories of people in music, film, TV, health and charity work. She can also be seen hosting Bellus TV, an inside look at Bellus Magazine’s exclusive interviews celebrating top-tier talent around the world. Her music is also the inspiration behind the launch of her high-end unisex jewelry line Skulls On Fire by Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff. The line is inspired by Taylor-Ann’s personal style, having a rock-n-roll/rocker-chic vibe.
Aside from her work in television and music, Taylor-Ann has a passion for animals and charity work. She regularly works with a handful of organizations, including the LA Mission, an organization working to provide hope, health, food, and opportunity to people in need and The World Animal Protection, which helps end needless suffering of animals. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff to discuss her musical evolution, passion for the multiple creative outlets she has established for herself, philanthropy and much more!
It is definitely inspiring to see someone like yourself who has so many irons in the fire in a creative sense. To kick things off, I want to focus on your musical side. What are some of your first memories of music?
When I was 3 years old, I sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on my dad’s album. I have the original recording and my voice is so small! I sound like a baby! [laughs] My dad went in and altered my voice to make it sound older. It starts off as a 3-year-old singing and, halfway through the song, it changes to make it sound like an 8-year-old singing. I asked him why he did that and he said, “You sounded too young, so we wanted to make your voice sound more mature!” [laughs] I think that was the first time I was ever involved with music. My dad was on a tour in Europe when I was about 4 years old and I went along with him and my mom. I really think that is where I got the bug from!
Was there a catalyst that made you want to pursue a career in my music as well?
Music has always been a part of my life. When I was a little girl I was always singing and my parents were always singing. I think I was brought up in a family who was always singing from lullabies to karaoke. There were also a lot of musical people around. My dad’s best friend was a music supervisor, so I was always around when they were writing songs. I think that inspired me to get involved with the choir. I will never forget being the first person in second grade to get a solo in the choir concert! I sang “Amazing Grace.” That really sparked my love of being on stage and deepened my love of music.
You just released a new single titled “Collide.” Tell us a little about how the song came about and what it means to you personally?
In the past, I had done a lot of music with my sister. This is my time to become an artist on my own and focus on the type of artist I want to be. I feel like I was brought onto this Earth to relay a positive message and to hopefully inspire people to follow their dreams, no matter how big or small they may be. With anything I do in life, I always want to make sure there is always a positive message that goes along with what I am doing. With “Collide,” I worked with my terrific producer, Mario Marchetti, to design the song from scratch. That allowed us to establish exactly what we wanted my sound to be. “Collide” came about at a very important time for me. Many times you can see someone being mean or rude to someone because of the way they look. What I realized over the years is that a lot of times, the people who are the meanest or have an unhappy vibe are the people who haven’t really gotten a lot of love growing up. It is that type of person who needs the most love and a small little smile can make somebody’s whole day. I wanted to create a song that shows people that love goes a long way. I wanted to convey that message with the video as well and that is why I made it primarily in black and white. When the lighting and color come into the video, it represents light, love and happiness. When you are constantly giving love and happiness, you are going to affect the people around you. That is something everyone needs these days.
Tell us a little about the process of finding your voice. Was it a difficult process to find your direction?
The biggest thing was I didn’t want to be like any other artist where you simply make a pop single and put it on the radio. When I first started off making music with my sister, I feel like we had a lot of outside voices saying, “Do this song! Do that song!” We wrote a lot of our own music but the record label would always say, “We need a hit song. We want it to go on the radio.” This time I wanted to focus on what makes me happy and what drives me. I think it is so important as an artist to be able to sit down with your producer and go through every single part of the song to make it true to you. When I walked in, I said, “I want this song to be melodic but I also want it to be very raw. I didn’t want a lot of parts to it. I wanted to have a violin, a soft guitar and a soft piano. I wanted it to all lie in the lyrics and melody, rather than be a big production. I am really happy with the way it all turned out. I am trying to create my own vibe and sound. I am working on an EP now and every song I am working on is equally as well thought out. I am excited for it all to come together and have my album be one big, cohesive part of me!
What are some of the big challenges that presented themselves while working on this upcoming EP? Additionally, what is the biggest thing you learned about yourself as an artist through the process?
Being in the studio has been a great experience and it is such a peaceful place. We turn down the lights and light some candles. It is just me, my producer and my partner in the room and we disconnect from everything else. It is a really nice vibe. I think a big thing for me is realizing a lot of times I get overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. There are a million things I have to do and my head is always spinning! [laughs] That is something I love but when I am in the studio, I have to zone out from all those outside influences, deadlines I have to hit or whatever else is happening. Being in the studio is so therapeutic for me! It is something I need to do! I am learning and getting better about putting my phone down and not letting outside life affect our session or our writing. To be honest, when I am in the studio, there are really no obstacles because the people I am with are like family, so I feel so at ease. If I am having a bad day, I will call them up and say, “I need to get in the studio! We need to write and I need to clear my head and get these thoughts down on paper.” That has been such a great release for me as an artist and as a person!
In addition to your music, you are also involved with Bellus Magazine. What can you tell us about the publication and how you got involved?
Bellus Magazine started about a year ago when it was started by my friend Joshua Schultz. He used to work for a magazine company and he had an idea. He wanted to create his own magazine without any negativity and focus on celebrating different types of artistry. I was asked to be an interviewer and the first person I interviewed was Gregg Sulkin for MTV’s “Faking It.” Afterwards, Josh said to me, “Wow. I love how easy going you are. Can you continue interviewing more people for the magazine?” I said, “For sure! I would love to do it!” About two months later, I became so immersed in the message he was putting out there! We get to talk to people who are so different, weird and cool! Those are the people we want to attract to the magazine because we want people to have a magazine where they feel really involved. We celebrate weirdness and focus on how they got started, whether it be someone in music or someone who started their own charity. We want to show all the different colors in that regard. Every day is now about getting new stories and bringing more interesting people to the magazine. It is really growing so we are definitely excited to see what happens!
Another project you have been involved with this year is E!’s series, “#RichKids of Beverly Hills.” You have been involved in reality TV with your family in the past but did you have any reservations about joining this show?
I think you always have reservations when going into reality television because they can paint you however they want to create something to attract viewers. To be honest, it is a great platform to be able to have. It had already been on for two seasons and I joined the cast for the third season. I did have some reservations just because it had been established for two seasons and I was coming in as a rookie. However, reality television is what you make it, so you go in there with a positive attitude. My first thought was, “Do I really want to be on a show called ‘#RichKids of Beverly Hills?’ The name conjures images of something I am not trying to portray.” At the end of the day, when I am 80 years old, I can look back and say, “I remember the time I was 25 years old and I went on that show.” I try to bring a positive message to everything I do, so I am hoping being on the show will help change the persona of what people might think ‘Rich Kids of Beverly Hills’ might be about. Spending money, partying and this and that. No, it’s about hard working kids that actually really strive to do their best. I really hope I can change that perception. I have to say it was a great experience and I had an amazing time doing it!
You are involved with a lot of charitable organizations. What can we help shine a light on?
I am a huge animal advocate. If you instagram and type in #taysark, I have loads and loads of charities I love spreading the word about! I don’t typically go for the charities that already have a lot of money and support behind them. I go for the charities that need to have the word spread about their work. The charities that are just starting out need the most support. I just signed on to The World Animal Protection Organization (www.worldanimalprotection.org). I have become an ambassador for them. What they do is amazing and I hope to continue working with them forever. I am also very involved with LA Mission, which is based in downtown Los Angeles. They feed the homeless each year and I volunteer with them each year during the high holidays. It is such a great thing they are doing because there are so many people who need their help downtown. There are little kids running around with no food or water. This is on the downtown streets of Los Angeles where you would think everyone has what they need. You look at the streets next to the LA Mission and it is the most heartbreaking thing. LA Mission provides them with food, water, showers, shoes and donations. It is a really great place to go, give back and spread some cheer to people who really need it.
Another creative outlet for you is your Skulls On Fire jewelry line. What inspired this project?
The jewelry line is online now at www.skullsonfirejewelry.com. Whenever I would go on stage with my sister back in the day, we would wear a very rocker-chic vibe. I would always get compliments on what I was wearing jewelry-wise, so the jewelry line was inspired very much by that. I created this style where I liked wearing a lot of black, gun metal and silver and I wanted to create my own line. I sat down with a jeweler and explained my concept and how I really wanted to do something that was different and cool. I wanted to include skulls because I think they are so universal and never go out of style. The coolest thing about it is that Skulls On Fire is a unisex line. Everything a woman could wear, a man could wear. I think that is cool because you can get your dad the same necklace as you are wearing. We designed the first pieces and we have more on the way. It is online now and I am so excited that it has finally been launched!
With all of the projects you are involved with, it is hard not to be inspired by your passion and determination. What is the best lesson we can take away from the life of Taylor-Ann Hasselhoff so far?
I am not a very unhappy person. I tend to see the light in everything. I think that comes from the way I was brought up. My parents are super-positive go getters. Many times if someone else is being negative in a situation, I tend to place the blame on myself, like, “Why are they being negative? Did I say something wrong?” I would place the blame on myself. I realized I was being too hard on myself. I always want to do the best work I can and portray the best side of myself. My dad always told me, coming from the entertainment world, “If you are in the entertainment business, you have to focus on one thing and put all of your energy into it for it to be successful.” That is something I really took to heart and if you have your head in so many places, like I do, you have to give 110% to every one of those ventures. Since I am so hard on myself, I want to be sure I am giving all I have to everything I am putting my body and soul into!
You are doing a tremendous job so far! Thanks for your time today, Taylor-Ann! We can’t wait to see where your journey takes you next!
You’re amazing! Thank you so much and we will talk again soon!