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Coco Jones tells Kidsday about her new EP

Singer and actress Coco Jones with Kidsday reporters

Singer and actress Coco Jones with Kidsday reporters Emma Solferino, Nina Votruba, Dylan McDonald, Thomas McKay, from Garden City. They met her at her public relations office in Manhattan. (March 26, 2013) Credit: Newsday Pat Mullooly

We met singer Coco Jones when she was in Manhattan recently. She just released her new EP, and we love her song "Holla at the DJ."

When did you find out you had such an amazing voice?

OK, so this is a funny story. When I was younger, I think when I was 3, I was watching Barney, and whatever he sang, I sang in perfect pitch. My mom was with her friend who plays violin, and she was like, "Hey, that baby has a perfect ear." But I found out I could sing when I was 3.

Do you play any instruments, and if you do, what are they? I do not play any instruments. I tried to learn guitar and piano, but I'm so busy I never have time to practice them. So no, not yet, but one day I will learn how to play piano.

Did you always want to be a singer?

Although I had to choose between basketball and singing, I was really good at basketball, but I was really good at singing, too. But I ended up choosing singing because that's the one I had the most fun doing.

Are your parents supportive of your career?

Yes, my parents are like my No. 1 fans. My whole family, they're always like, "Whatever dream you have, you go get it. We'll have your back all of the time."

Do you ever have to lip sync?

No. No, I never had to lip sync. Sometimes, they'll have me singing the chorus, too, and I'll just sing on top of it.

What is the process of writing a song?

Sometimes, you do this thing when you start from scratch and there's nothing there, and then you tell people about, tell the people that are writing the song with you about an idea that you have or a picture you saw or something like that. And they can create a whole song based on whatever it is you're thinking. You can be like thinking, I don't know, I want to go to sleep, and they can write a song about, like, you're just working really hard. Something crazy, but it really changes.

Do you pick out your own outfits? Do you hire people to do that for you?

Sometimes I pick out my own outfits, like today. This was with some other pieces that somebody else had picked, but I put them all together for this. But when it's like super-duper important, then I'll have somebody come and style me. Like for "Holla at the DJ," that was people picking out the outfit for me.

What was your favorite music video to film?

I think "Holla at the DJ." Wasn't that video so cool? I liked it because it was all black and white, and so I thought that was really different. And all my outfits were black and white. Did you all see the behind the scenes, where I had to try on that big fur? It was so heavy, but it was so cool. I liked wearing it.

Who was your favorite actor or actress you worked with?

I think when I worked on "Let It Shine" with Tyler James Williams and Trevor Jackson. They were so much fun. They were like my big brothers now. I had a blast with them, and they're really talented. I learned a lot from them.

Are any of your songs about specific people or specific friends?

The song "Made Of," on the new EP, I'm actually talking to myself. A lot of times when you're in this career, in this business, it's really hard to, like, stay true to who you are, and a lot of times people are, like, "You're not going to make it," but you have to believe in yourself. And that's why I like the song "Made Of," and I'm talking to myself, and I say, "Show people what you're made of, never be afraid." And you guys, too.

Which do you like better -- singing or acting?

I love them both, but I think I like singing the best, just because if I never would have started singing, I would have never started acting.

Who is your childhood role model?

"That's So Raven" [Raven-Symoné]. "I loved her. . . . As soon as I meet her, I'm going to totally pass out."Do you get nervous before a concert or performance and if so what do you do for it?

I do. I never get nervous if I know I'm going to perform. Like in the morning I'm cool and then when it gets really close to the performance and I'm about to walk on stage, I'm like . . . , but I just kind of ignore it and then when I get on stage and start singing I completely forget about it.

What is your favorite song to perform?

My favorite song, I haven't even performed it yet. "The Whole World Is Dancing" from my new EP. I cannot wait to perform that. It's going to be so cool.

What do you like best about singing?

I like getting to express myself. You know how I talked about how you're writing a song there's so many different things that can happen. Well now that I'm getting older and learning a lot more about singing, I'm starting to write a lot. And I really like to write and talk about my experiences and it's like an idea in your head at the beginning.

What is your favorite song that's not yours?

That's a good question. I've got to think about that. "Live While We're Young." That's a good song. I love that song.

Is anybody else in your family famous?

My dad. He use to be a professional football player. He's retired now, but his name is Mike Jones, he played for the Titans, the Patriots, the Rams and he's pretty famous.

You performed the national anthem at football games as a kid. Were you nervous or confident in your voice at the time?

I was so confident. It's crazy. The more amount of people, the less nervous I am. If it's a small amount of people, I'm uh. But if it's 100,000 I'm like, "Yes!" It's so weird.

Do you have any special talents besides singing and acting?

I can do a back handspring. You know, that gymnastics thing. I used to take gymnastics. So I could do that. Probably not here. There's not a lot of space, but yeah, I could do that.

Since you've been singing and acting did you ever want to star on Broadway?

I don't know. I think I would like to perform, maybe a couple of shows, but with Broadway you have to do the same thing over and over every night for every week. And I don't know if I would want to keep repeating it.

Are you starring in any TV shows or movies?

"Good Luck Charlie." Have you all seen my character Kelsey? She's coming back for three more episodes that should be premiering soon. I just filmed some of them, but one I did a while back. So that one should be coming out soon. And there's a secret. Let's just say there's a new guy for Teddy.

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