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Lil Yachty, Trevor Jackson, Finn Wolfhard & More Talk Balancing Music With Acting at MTV Movie & TV Awards

Lil Yachty
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Lil Yachty attends the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 16, 2018 in Santa Monica, Calif.

Actors, humanitarians, athletes and singers united on the red carpet for the MTV Movie & TV Awards on Saturday night at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. The weekend highlighted the best kiss, frightened performance, hero, villain and more in last year’s roundup of movies and television shows.

This awards show may define the best moments, but it doesn’t define awards by gendered performance. The switch to a gender-neutral platform came last year when Emma Watson won best actor for her Beauty and the Beast performance. And most of the performers dazzling the red carpet Saturday night didn’t carry one defining title to their name, blurring the lines between having a singing and acting career and marrying sections of the entertainment industry with their talents.

Billboard caught up with a few big names and talked about their career trajectories pushing the boundaries of what they have come to be known for. The MTV Movie & TV Awards air Monday night (June 18) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

Lil Yachty: Rapper Lil Yachty lends his voice to a boatload of projects other than his own. Aside from Lil Boat 2, which dropped in March, the artist was featured on KYLE’s Light of Mine album last month -- but he didn't just contribute a verse or an ad-lib; he played the “iSpy” rapper’s conscience. Now, the “One Night” rapper is making his way past music to lend his voice to the animated Green Lantern in the new Teen Titans Go! movie, set to be released this July.

“It’s lit because that’s my whole thing. I put a project out this year, but I’m not really focused on music. I’m getting into acting this year. ... KYLE knows what he wants, he’s super creative. So he already has his mind set up on what he wants. And he knew every line he wanted and everything so it was already there. Like I just got to fill it in.”

Trevor Jackson: Part of Trevor Jackson’s Instagram bio currently reads “Singer that acts or an actor that sings... whatever makes you feel better.” That summarizes Jackson’s expansive repertoire, as he starred in Director X’s Superfly released just last week, his Freeform TV show grown-ish was nominated for best show at the MTV Awards and his debut studio album Rough Drafts, Pt. 1 dropped last March.

When asked about Future helming the Superfly soundtrack, Jackson said, “I feel like there couldn’t have been a better person. I feel like [Future] is the voice of Atlanta and the voice of today’s generation in the hip-hop world. It was perfect. I’ve been doing music since I was very young. My album Rough Drafts, Pt. 1, I’m working on Pt. 2 right now. And this is the first album that I’ve been able to write everything, vocal-produce everything, play guitar and just be more true to my artistry.”

Finn Wolfhard: Escaping devilish Demagorgons and the nightmarish clown Pennywise are just two stranger things Finn Wolfhard is capable of onscreen. But off screen, the Stranger Things and It actor would happily spend time in a studio as opposed to The Upside Down with his band Calpurnia, which just released its debut EP titled Scout just last week.

“We released the EP yesterday. I hope people are liking it so far. I know I had a lot of fun making it and we’re just playing shows and it’s going great. I try to keep [singing and acting] as equal as possible, but I love all of it.”

Chris Moukarbel: The director of Lady Gaga’s 2017 documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two talked about the personal project. “It was a very intimate film at a very unusual time in her life and to have her trust me and let me in and to be able to tell that story was a real gift. I feel really lucky. She does suffer with chronic pain, and watching her try to cope with that at the same time trying to perform at the Super Bowl and doing promo for her album and all of those hats that she wears and watching her struggle, there’s nothing you can do to help somebody in that position. It was hard in a way, but at the same time, it was inspiring to see her get through it.”

Chanel West Coast: “I have a new single out called ‘Nobody’ and I’m working on my upcoming album right now and there’s going to be a lot more singing on it than people are expecting,” said the Ridiculousness co-host-turned-artist. “People know I rap, but it’s definitely going to be a lot more singing, and that’ll be coming out in early fall as well as a new season of Ridiculousness. I love doing both [rapping and singing]. If you’re rapping fast, it takes a little bit more breath. I think people might be surprised to know that, so singing’s actually a little bit easier sometimes as far as performing goes.”

Vanessa Morgan: Stepping out at her first MTV Awards, Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz on the CW series Riverdale, is planning to make studio trips during her set breaks while filming the show’s upcoming third season.

“[Music] is something I’m working on right now. It might take a while thought because we start filming in two weeks and I’m doing similar things on the side, so it’s just about being able to get in the studio, but hopefully within the next year. It’s going to be probably a lot of hours of not sleeping, but I’ll do it!”

Josh Levi: “I think I just want to change the formula for what it means to be a 19-year-old recording artist,” said the season 3 X Factor finalist, who was also featured in Khalid’s “Young Dumb & Broke” music video. “My music is kind of genre-fluid, so it’s a little bit of everything and like I said, I’ve wrote every lyric and every melody that I’m releasing everywhere. So I just kind of want to show young people that you can have a greater vision, you can tell stories, you can create a new sound and it be dope.”

The 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards air Monday night (June 18) at 9 p.m. ET/PT from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.


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