Rumer Willis Interview: Life Is a Cabaret of Love
Image attributed to Rumer Willis
Rumer Willis has announced her first ever United States concert tour, slated to kick off October 12, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. The “Over The Love” tour is her first extended musical outing with her band, performing a chanteuse-style variety show of timeless standards ranging from cabaret and jazz to classic R&B and contemporary pop. Showcased in an intimate setting, Willis will take the audience through a set list of personal, handpicked songs, as well as a handful of original material recently written and recorded with writer and producer Linda Perry.
The oldest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Willis started a weekly residency in 2014 at the famed Sayers Club in Hollywood, where she honed her stage presence and sultry vocals. She starred as Rosie Hart in Chicago on Broadway, starred in the film adaptation of the musical Hello Again and made her solo cabaret debut at the Café Carlyle, receiving rave reviews from The New York Times and other publications. Willis won the 20th season of Dancing with the Stars in 2015 and is currently working on her debut album with Linda Perry.
"I always felt like music from that era really had a different level of emotion in it and a deeper sentiment than the music that’s out today. It’s very much my dad’s musical tastes, and my mom played a lot of that kind of stuff as well. I think it’s just one of those things where you tend to like the kind of music that you grew up on."
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You are embarking on your first U.S. tour. Why did you decide to do it?
Rumer Willis: I decided to do it because I’ve always been a singer my whole life, and I think I just spent the last few years trying to figure out how I wanted to first present that to the world. After doing Café Carlyle, I thought that I must take this to other places and have other audiences and meet other people. I’m most definitely excited!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why did you call it the “Over The Love” tour?
Rumer Willis: Well, I think love and relationships are things that everybody, no matter where you come from, what your job is or how much money you have, can relate to. Love is the universal thing that people identify with. I talk to the audience, and they share their funny stories about relationships. It’s a fun night.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): When did you become a fan of the American Songbook?
Rumer Willis: Oh, since I was a little kid. That’s the music I was raised on. My dad always played a lot of that kind of music for me. I always felt like music from that era really had a different level of emotion in it and a deeper sentiment than the music that’s out today. It’s very much my dad’s musical tastes, and my mom played a lot of that kind of stuff as well. I think it’s just one of those things where you tend to like the kind of music that you grew up on.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You had classical training when you were young?
Rumer Willis: I did. I went to a boarding school in Michigan studying theater and classical opera.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did you get together with Linda Perry to write music?
Rumer Willis: Linda asked me to perform at the LGBT event called “An Evening with Women,” where performers were there to raise money. I said, “Yes.” After that, we spoke a little bit, and I told her I wanted to work on an album and start that process. She asked me to come write with her. We started writing just really amazing songs.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will the debut album be released on an independent label?
Rumer Willis: We haven’t gotten that far with it yet. We’re still in the process. I’ve tried to work on it, but every time I get a break from one project, I seem to have another one to come into my lap, which is definitely not a bad thing and something I’m extremely grateful for. So, I’m still working out exactly what it’s going to be. But, I’ve thrown a few of my own songs into the upcoming shows.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was your first love actually music and not acting?
Rumer Willis: Music, I feel like, has always definitely been my first love. But, I never wanted to limit myself creatively. I think acting is also such another incredible way to express yourself. So, I’ve been lucky enough to have a chance to do both. I spent most of my 20s exploring acting, and I feel like now is the perfect time to work on music.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you derive equal pleasure from both music and acting?
Rumer Willis: Ooh. Good question. I do feel like when you’re acting or singing, it’s a way to connect with people. You can be with your friends watching a movie and go, “Oh. I thought I was the only one that felt like that.” Then, you realize somebody else felt like that, too, or go sing a song that really makes somebody feel something, or they connect to that emotion as well. So, I think it’s all about sharing yourself. For me, it’s like having a conversation with the audience.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): They say that oldest children are usually mature, self-disciplined and leaders. Does that describe you?
Rumer Willis: Yeah. I mean, I feel very grateful to be part of a clan of five daughters my dad has. I think I’m the most grateful to both of my parents for just never stifling my creativity and for always going along with whatever I wanted to do whether it was Dancing with the Stars or doing my own tour or acting. I’m always just forever grateful for them for that.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): As a child, did the fame and the paparazzi effect you?
Rumer Willis: The thing about that is I’ve never known anything else, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. For me, it’s just what my life is. I’ve had some incredible opportunities that have come my way. I think that’s anybody’s life. You have a different set of things that you come into the world with, that you deal with, and I just try to take every part of that and be grateful for it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your sister, Scout, tweeted about your tour, and she called you her dearest, angelic goddess of a sister.
Rumer Willis: (laughs) I love my sisters very much. I feel so lucky to have them, to have such a close relationship with them.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your family certainly supported your efforts during Dancing with the Stars.
Rumer Willis: I couldn’t have asked for better support and cheering section than them. They were there every week and showed up for me, even flew across country sometimes to make sure they were there rooting me on. It was so amazing to have them in the audience every week.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): After the Dancing with the Stars win, you dedicated your Mirrorball trophy to any of the fans that did not believe in themselves. When did you start to believe in yourself?
Rumer Willis: I think for everybody, no matter where you’ve grown up or what you do, the journey to self-exploration and self-love is one that just doesn’t happen overnight. You can spend your whole life figuring out who you are. Sometimes that can be hard. I think you’ve just got to work every day on being confident and being exactly who you are and not comparing yourself to anybody else and just remembering that you should show your unique talent to the world and never be afraid to.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you have fun filming the indie thriller What Lies Ahead?
Rumer Willis: Oh, I had a great time. It was really fun for me to get to play a character like that and to be able to do incredible fight stuff like my dad. That was really fun for me.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Hello Again is a musical?
Rumer Willis: It is a musical movie based on a Broadway play from quite a long time ago, and it’s quite tragic. But, its different vignettes through time from the 1920s or before to present time. I think the director did an incredible job of taking a musical and really making it accessible to a movie genre.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Former Grey’s Anatomy alum, T.R. Knight, sings?
Rumer Willis: He does and he actually plays my husband.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What do you think about Grace VanderWaal winning America’s Got Talent instead of Brian Justin Crum?
Rumer Willis: We were definitely a little bummed out, but I have to say, I think that at the end of the day, regardless of winning, he got himself out there. I hope that by seeing Brian and all that he accomplished on the show, it will give others a boost of confidence to see that they can do it as well.
But, I think that Grace is a very talented little girl, and I wish her the best. I hope to see more from her because I think she’s got a great talent. I can’t imagine to be that young and already have all that going on.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Other than music and acting, what are you passionate about?
Rumer Willis: Obviously, I love to dance. But, I think I’m still figuring that out. I want to hopefully get more involved in anti-bullying campaigns to help kids and everyone and figuring out how to lend my voice to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Would you like to reprise your guest role on Hawaii Five-O or return to television in some capacity?
Rumer Willis: There’s definitely an interest. If something came up, I’d love to be a part of it. I had a great time doing Hawaii Five-O, and I love opportunities like that.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How do you spend your social time?
Rumer Willis: I’m pretty much a homebody most of the time. I have my dogs, and I love spending time with them and hanging out with my family and friends. I’m a pretty mellow girl. Sometimes, it’s nice to go on a hike with my dogs to just appreciate what you have and to just live in the present moment.
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