Kat Graham can be a real witch sometimes - but only when she's portraying Bonnie Bennett on TV's "The Vampire Diaries." Other times, she's an actress, a singer, a dancer and even a fighter - and she's all of these in the new video for her cover of Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted," which makes its exclusive debut on Billboard.com.
In addition to all of the hats she wears, Kat Graham is also a Paula Abdul fan, a fact that played a significant role in her choosing to cover Abdul's 1989 hit, which she retitled slightly as "Cold Hearted Snake." "There were -- and still are -- very few stars that I can really look up to, and Paula is one of them," says Graham, who also named former tourmate Fergie as another influence. "I was a bi-racial kid who was a back-up dancer turned into what I am now."
Graham puts her own stamp on "Cold Hearted," which is available at iTunes, by tweaking the lyrics and amping up the tempo; the video is even sexier than the original. In Graham's version, the actress-singer plays a boxer who seems more interested in perfecting her dance moves than her left hook, but she explains that she has a fighter mentality in every facet of her career.
"I try to be a fighter in my character Bonnie Bennett on 'The Vampire Diaries' and try to be a fighter in my music," says Graham. "I want to put that female self-empowerment in all of my art."
The video may have a larger message behind it, but Graham and her team didn't overthink it. In fact, the video came together quite quickly. "We found a boxing ring nine hours before we were supposed to shoot, and I learned the choreography for the video the morning we shot," says Graham. "I was practicing the choreography on the sidewalk on Rodeo Drive [in L.A.], and a security guard came up to me. He thought I was a street performer and gave me two dollars!"
Graham hopes to drop an album sometime next year, after she's done shooting season two of "The Vampire Diaries" in Atlanta. It's a constant balancing act for this woman of many endeavors. "I look at acting as my family, and it's something I've done since I was like five years old," says Graham. "But music - music is more like my boyfriend, or a husband. I am so in love with every facet of it."