Kat Graham is known for showing her face onscreen -- she's predominantly an actress, after all, starring as Bonnie Bennett in the supernatural drama "The Vampire Diaries" on the CW. But she also has a solid music career, one that's been active for over a decade and includes a top five Billboard hit on the dance charts with "Put Your Graffiti On Me" in 2012.
Now, Graham, in a partnership with Maker Studios, is looking to expose the inner working of her music career to all -- and, perhaps, dispel the notion that actresses who cross over to music shouldn't be taken seriously.
The 24-year-old has teamed up with Maker, which was just bought by Disney yesterday for $500 million, to present "Breaking the Record," currently a 13-part docu-series on the studio's YouTube channel that premieres today.
The series follows Graham as she creates her debut full-length album, which at this time has neither a name nor a release date. But, Graham says, "Breaking the Record" is more than just a behind-the-scenes look at how she records the album -- it's a documentation of "the whole process, from beginning to end."
"I would always complain," she tells Billboard. "I would say, 'Nobody sees what I'm going through! [They] just see the videos that are on MTV or the records that are on the radio.'"
Though she was approached by multiple TV networks to do a docu-series, Graham eventually settled on Maker to create a series that would focus on all aspects of making an album, from mere song recording to its release and promotion.
"I reached out to Chris Williams (chief audience officer, Maker)," Graham says. "I sat down with him and I told him my idea, and I actually had already shot the first couple episodes of the show and showed him them, and he got really excited. We decided it would be like the perfect project for us to collab on."
The 13-part series, made of up of episodes ranging in length from three to five minutes, is scheduled to run for about 26 weeks total in its current iteration -- which, Graham says, should keep viewers completely up to date on what's happening with the album at that exact moment.
"Everyone will very much be within the loop of where I am in the process, which is why we waited a bit -- because we wanted it to be real-time, where I go into the studio with different people in April [around] 'The Vampire Diaries'' hiatus break and I start performing more and traveling more," she explains. "We wanted to bring it closer to that date."
Graham hopes "Breaking the Record" will provide even more of an outlet to interact with and give back to her fans than ever before -- though she's also doing it to prove herself, in a way.
"I feel like, especially for an artist in my position who's on a TV show, who people might say, 'Well, she's just an actress trying to sing,' or people who might give the project a bit of a brush-off, this is really to show how serious it is and to give an inside look," Graham notes. "Because besides interviews, where people hear me [say] that I am an engineer, that I do make beats, I do sing -- they might think it's a bit contrived, and I want to show the organic elements to breaking a record -- the guerillaness of it all, really."
Though there's little to be revealed about the album in question so far, Graham -- currently an Interscope signee -- says the new music will take her back to her roots as more of an urban arists, calling it the "most organic."
All in all, Graham hopes "Breaking the Record" will inspire her younger fanbase, particularly those who either are or might one day try out the grind of acting or performing.
"People sometimes don't want to show the vulnerable aspect of being an artist where you feel like, you know, 'what the fuck am I doing this all for?'" she says. "I want to show all that because I think it'll inspire a lot of people -- and I think a lot of my young viewers will get inspired too because a lot of them are artists in a lot of capacities, and there are a lot of times when your back is against the wall. I wanted to be able to show them what happens to me when my back is against the wall."