“Easy Daze on my Block” w/ Brett Gray
Words + Interview By: Krystal Luster
Meet Brett Gray. The Philadelphia native talks about his love for “Black Mirror”, acting and music, the importance of enjoying life OFF the internet and the upcoming Netflix original “On My Block”.
Tell us about your hometown/growing up.
I grew up in a spot called Mount Airy in Philadelphia. We call it Uptown. It’s a cool area. Growing up was great! There were so many families in Mount Airy that every household had someone my age inside. I had a ton of friends and we all got into so much stuff growing up. It was a great time.
How old were you when you first got into acting?
I was 7 years old and I was shy, awkward and skinny. Clearly, not much has changed. I had always complained about wanting to get into the TV, so I remember my mom taking me to an acting school called Freedom Theater. I was NOT having it. I was like, “Take me back to summer camp.” But, I met one of my first mentors there, a teacher named Ms. Cynthia. She helped guide me to shed that self-consciousness and really start to appreciate and take care of my talents.
In the short film “Metrocard”, is Henry the person who is losing something or the one who finds something?
You know what? I think sort of both. He loses his metro card for sure, but I think he also finds that he’s a little nuts.
Tell us about the upcoming Netflix original, “On My Block”.
On My Block is an original comedy coming to Netflix following four teens entering high school in South Central, LA. Things get a little sticky when one of the “Core 4” gets involved with a gang and the others scramble to save their friend.
What is your character’s role in the series?
I play Jamal Turner. He’s an over-the-top nerd who can’t keep a secret, but is surrounded by secrets. He’s weird, neurotic, super loyal and probably everyone’s favorite…….just saying.
Netflix is killing the game right now. Which “Netflix Originals” are your favorite? Name 3.
This is too hard! I definitely love Black Mirror. That’d be my top choice and followed closely by The Get Down. I love the color in that show and how different it was from everything out. Plus, a bunch of my friends worked on it. I’m going to say third is Beasts of No Nation. I know that’s not a show, but Idris Elba….nuff said.
What film can you watch over and over without getting tired of it?
Coraline! I love it. There’s nothing better.
Who are your “Top 5” celebrities from Philly?
My dad……Will Smith. Jill Scott, Kevin Hart, Jazzy Jeff, and Boyz 2 Men. They’ve all influenced me so much.
Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: Pick One.
INSTAGRAM! I don’t really like social media much, but Instagram is so much fun. I feel it’s calmer than the others in terms of rapid fire conversation. Also, something about an Instagram page feels more like a home than a feed.
Do you believe technology is doing more harm than good in terms of communication? Why or why not?
Yes! I was an “outside kid”, I played with friends, got in trouble and lived in the moment. I’m still so bad with my phone and social media because I love just sort of connecting. GO OUTSIDE, GO SEE A MOVIE OR A CONCERT, WAKE UP AND GO TO THE COFFEE SHOP AND TALK TO THE PRETTY LADY YOU LOOK AT EVERY MORNING!
Who/What inspires you?
I don’t know. It is changing all the time and I like that. It causes my insatiable hunger to try new things because I never know what will inspire me. Right now though, Sabrina Claudio. I turn her on and anything is possible.
Is there another career path you are in pursuit of outside of acting?
Music, but I’m trying to balance both. Outside of those…. maybe stand up? I don’t know. Something artistic. I’m not good at anything that involves stillness, calmness or a cubicle.
Tell us about your upcoming EP. How would you describe your sound?
My EP is called Easy Daze. It’s a sort of a modern retelling of my childhood. My sound is like a fusion of nostalgic R&B and Dance Hip-Hop. Hopefully, it’s fun, connects to people and brings them back in time a bit. I just want to dance with people, to be honest.
How important is music to you, overall?
It’s everything. You walk outside and there is music in the wind. There is music and rhythm in lines in a script even. It’s everywhere, if you listen.
What song (other than your own) best describes you on a good day? On a bad day?
On a good day? Finesse by Bruno Mars. There’s no such thing as a bad day so I’m going to say also Finesse by Bruno Mars. Either way, I’ll finesse it.
What are your goals for 2018?
To take better care of myself. Sometimes, I work way too hard and have to remind myself to be in the moment.
Where would you like to be in your career in 10 years?
Anywhere, really. As long as I’m rich.
How can people find you on social media?
Instagram and Twitter @iambrettgray.
Any last words?
Be easy on yourself.
Photo By: Jai Lennard (@Jaibirdn)