CoF: What was your first job in La La Land? JC: My First Job in LA was working at Hollywood video rentals during college at UCLA. I then worked at the famous Grove movie theater which was a lot of fun especially since so many celebrities go that one. I then went to Blockbuster to work...apparently I only accept jobs that are movie affiliated...lol CoF: Can you tell us a little about your guest appearance on "Windfall"? JC: Yea, Windfall was such a bittersweet experience. It was my first Prime-time TV appearance and it was sooooo much fun to film. There was a lot of action sequences with my character Raul and his billionaire kids posse and were jumping into a moving limo and fight sequences and all. Then it was all cut out when it aired because the series got canceled and my story line was the cliffhanger for the next season and since it got canceled they removed the majority of my story line. I was crushed because I was so excited for everyone to see what we filmed..But it happens. That was a great experience and coincidentally Gabrielle Christian [S.O.N.'s Spencer] was in that episode with me, which was a blast. I just wish every got to see it. CoF: What was your role/ character on the Nickelodeon series "Taina" ? JC: That was a very small gig. I was in the choir with Taina. Haha I still love that show. I watch it online from time to time. It was fun to sing with so many other kids my age. CoF: What was "The Lockdown Club" and what was your role in this? JC: The Lockdown Club was the little project that could! I was referred to the writer [Valerie Udoezer] of the play because they had lost the actor who was supposed to play Jose for the stage production and my best friend Sphen told her about me for the role. I originally denied the role because I wasn't interested, but the Valerie kept calling and I gave in and I am glad I did. It's essentially an urban version of "The Breakfast Club" about 6 very different students who get stuck in the class room during a school shooting and are forced to face each others differences. I played Jose, a gay senior at the high school and head of the cheerleading squad. We then got picked up for another run at the renowned Stella Adler Theater and then it got funded to make into a film which went on to win several awards including Best Short Film. It was a huge learning experience for me.
CoF: When you are not working, what are you doing? JC: When I am not working I'm still trying to stay creative. I am usually recording and writing new music or just trying to enjoy time with Valery, friends and family because one day you're free and then the next you could be completely booked for the next 8 months with no free time at all, so I try to enjoy the in-between too.
CoF: You recently released your first official album, "Closer", tell us a little about it? JC: "Closer" is a huge accomplishment for me that has taken over 3 years to make. I had been wanting to record my own music for as long as I could remember. Finally, I did an original theatre production called "Possession" and the group who wrote most of the music is a popular LA Latin fusion Band named Incendio. I went to see them perform live and I was blown away with their music and talent and I felt that with their amazing Latin sound and my love for r&b/pop we could make a great unique sound and eventually we wrote the song Closer which is my first song I ever completely wrote. We worked so well together we wrote Long Road Home and then in between touring I would meet up with other local producers and write the other songs on the album. The album is very personal, every word is expressing exactly what I felt or feel. The songs are fun and sexy like Closer and Your Way which Valery is on and then more vulnerable with tracks like My Battlefield and Long Road Home and Waitin' I wrote as anthem for everyone of course, but I honestly selfishly wrote it to inspire and motivate myself because I am sure everyone can relate to working hard for something and waiting to see the fruits of your labor and the difficulties you face while trying to make your dreams a reality. If you wanna know me, listen to the words I wrote on this record, these songs are me.
CoF: What singer, actor, and actress would you want to work with? Why?
JC: I have so many people I would love to work with. I would love to work with singers like Pink, Jojo, Brandy, Usher, Mario, Marc Anthony, Paramore... soo many. Im influenced by so many genres of music I would like to play with others from those genres. As far as actors are concerned I would kill to work with Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Jennifer Lopez (don't hate =P), Toni Colette, Jane Lynch, America Ferrera, to name a few. All these people i'd want to work with because I am inspired by their talent and I feel like they could bring something great or different out of me and help to me grow as an artist. CoF: If you were not in the film and music industry, what would you be doing? JC: Lol I've been trying to figure that out for years because this business is so brutal sometimes you want to run to plan B. But I am so passionate about what I do I can't see myself doing much else. But to not give a lame answer like that lol it's very possible I would do something with animals. I don't know what exactly. But I have always had a strong connection to animals, so I think I'd find someway to work with them. CoF: What was the experience like starring in the national Broadway tour of "Rent" ? JC: Rent was a dream come true for me. Something I wrote down that one day I would star in and then we I got it, it was an incredible feeling to scratch that off the list. It was my first tour ever and it was with one of biggest shows of Broadway history. The fans [ Shout out to the RENTheads] were incredible. It was a first taste of fame for me because people are so attached to the show they would know who we were in each city and we would be pointed at when we went to eat or to the mall and sometimes we even had people grabbing for us after the show at the stage door pulling at our clothes and stuff. It was surreal, I still talk to several of those fans I made from that tour. But it was exhausting and difficult to be somewhere new all the time, sleeping on a freezing bus, living out of a suitcase and eating at the same fast food restaurants. It can become surprisingly monotonous. RENT was an experience I'll never forget, I hope to do the show again someday. CoF: What is your opinion on people who pose as celebrities? JC: It's creepy and angering while at the same time flattering. I haven't had to deal with it personally yet. But I remember when a person on twitter was posing as Valery and then lying and saying that the real Valery was a fake. It would anger and annoy me because I knew the truth but not everyone does so that fake could say things on Val's behalf that weren't true. I appreciate it more when people don't pretend to BE the celeb but rather find a way to support the celeb they like with fan pages or accounts for these social networks. CoF: "Go, Diego Go!" is an extremely popular Nickelodeon children's series, what was the experience like playing Diego on the national tour? JC:Surprisingly, Diego has been one of, if not my favorite work experiences to date. It came out of nowhere, I was referred to the production people by a friend I worked with during RENT because they were desperately seeking a young Latino to carry the Diego show. So out of nowhere I get a call, they flew me out to New York and they told me that day in person after my audition that I had the part. It was such a rush because that's rare that you find out on the spot you got the job. The show was so much fun because Diego is so adventurous and physical like myself and I loved the music. I was a huggge rock star to these children, it was surreal. It's amazing to say that I headlined a show at Radio City Music Hall and performed on The Today Show. The cast was amazing, the production team was phenomenal and if every production and experience was like my Go Diego Go experience I would be elated. CoF (FAN): How did you and Valery Ortiz meet? JC: Valery and I are high school sweet hearts. We went to a popular performing Arts High School in Orlando, FL and we ran in the same circles of friends since we all spent so much time together at the theater there. We started out as really good friends and then during my senior year when we were both starring in West Side Story the friendship shifted to a romantic and we have been together ever since and are now engaged to be married in 2011 after our 9 year anniversary. We've been everywhere together and experienced so much of growing up together she is my true partner in everything I do and I can't imagine not being together! CoF (FAN): Are you going to make a music video? JC: Yes, I am working on getting everything together for a music video for Waitin'. I am also a dancer and I have already started choreographing the dance and created the treatment for the video. I hope to get it together within the next few months! CoF (FAN): Would you ever want to produce/write/direct ? JC: I'm sure thats in my future, I'm a control freak and I like to hold the reigns on things. Although if or when I do, I see it more in theater than I do in tv/film. CoF (FAN): Who is your inspiration? JC: I'm inspired more by people I know. My biggest inspiration is God, I am very spiritual. My family follows, My Father Lou, My Mother Nicza, My sisters Stefanie and Mindy are huge supporters of me and they are all so incredible with their own talents and qualities I aspire to be like them daily. I have so much family that inspire me and my friends who are committed to doing the same things I am inspire me because of their fight and their journey I learn as well. And of course Val inspires me. The things she has done and accomplished and especially at her age astonishes me, so intelligent and well put together. Those are my biggest inspirations . CoF (FAN): If you could guest star in any show, past or present, what would it be, and why? JC: Well an obvious one for me is Glee, I am obsessed with it, can't get enough. But I would love to be on Brothers and Sisters or something like Nip/Tuck or Dexter. I think something older more mature and dark. I would have loved to have been on Ugly Betty so I am sad to see that one go. These shows fit my humor or my personality and they move me. CoF: Any final words for the fans? JC: Thank you to everyone single one of you who has shown your support for myself or Valery's career. Those who have taken the time to subscribe to my youtube series "Closer" , download my album, leave kind comments on my pages, watch our tv appearances, or seen me out on the road, I am so grateful for all of it. Keep updated with whats going on by subscribing to my YouTube series or visiting my official website! Oh and follow me on twitter=) Best wishes!- Jesse
*Please visit http://www.jessecarrion.com/ for more information reguarding his album "Closer"
* Or visit his youtube page (also mentioned in Valery Ortiz's interview) youtube.com/JesseCarrionCloser
* Or visit his myspace page myspace.com/JesseCarrion