Bursting with newfound energy, actor and singer-songwriter Kayden Muller-Janssen is a rising personality to keep on your radar this year and beyond.
In October, Kayden shared her debut EP aptly titled Unraveled, featuring five intimate records that put her talent on display. With each track separating itself from one another, previously released cuts like “Crave” and “No Maybe” gave listeners alike a peak into her world. Meanwhile, songs like “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Let You Go” introduce us all to a new side of the burgeoning artist. Clocking in just under 15 minutes, the full-length project leaves you yearning for more whilst laying the foundation for the next chapter in her career.
Music aside, Kayden currently plays Hartley in the Disney series The Villains of Valley View. When adolescent supervillain Havoc stands up to the League of Villains, she and her family are banished to a Texas suburb, where she starts over under the name Amy Madden. Hartley, played by Muller-Janssen, serves as Amy’s kind classmate and next-door neighbor who happens to befriend the evil Madden family. Not to mention, she collaborated with fellow cast member Isabella Pappas on “We Don’t Care” from the series’ official soundtrack.
On the heels of her recent EP, we had the pleasure of chatting with Kayden Muller about her early memories of music and film, putting out the project, and joining the cast of Disney’s The Villains of Valley View. Read on to see our conversation.
For those who are unfamiliar, can you walk us through your childhood—when did the idea of acting become a possible reality for you?
My entire family are professional equestrians so I grew up riding horses but I was the oddball who used her artistic ability in joining a competitive twirling team where we enacted parts of popular animated Disney movies. I joined a local theatre. I attended a Middle School of the Arts, performed in school plays, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz was my favorite. We jumped on an opportunity to travel to LA for a showcase and it was then that I saw the possibility of pursuing acting as a career.
Obviously you spent time acting in school productions, but when did you recognize the power that film and other mediums of entertainment have?
I always enjoyed watching TV and movies, I would get lost in them, studying the characters and dreaming about being on the big screen myself. As I grew older, I started to have a better idea what it would actually mean to me to have others watch me act and hopefully connect to my character or hear me sing and relate to me; the ability to maybe make a difference in someone’s life.
When it comes to Gen Z, a lot of us oftentimes see ourselves in the characters we see in films or musicians we listen to growing up. If you can recall, who were the role models that paved the way for you?
As a child, I saw Christina Aguilera, musically and acting-wise in Burlesque, as one of my favorite role models. I would dress up, put on these pink high heels I begged for, for Christmas, and sing and dance my heart out. Then as an older person, it definitely is Zendaya who I would consider as a role model for where I would like to be one day.
As a multidisciplinary artist, you are involved in so many different creative outlets, whether it be acting or making music. When do you feel most creatively free?
I feel most creatively free when I am in my room by myself, sitting behind the piano, and create songs.
Congratulations on landing yourself a role in the new Disney series The Villains of Valley View. How did this opportunity come about and with this being one of your bigger roles, how does it feel?
Through my managers, I auditioned for the role of Hartley quite late in the game and was beyond thrilled to land the job. It almost feels surreal. I always wanted to be part of the Disney family and now that it’s real, it sometimes still feels like a dream.
Pivoting into music, what emotions and feelings do you find easiest to translate into songs? What makes music so special for you use opposed to other forms of creative expression?
For me music is the way to let out any kind of emotions I have whether happy or sad. Most of the emotions on paper are about previous relationships with people and it has helped me to cope with the way I was feeling at that time and helped me to move on. In acting, you are given certain emotions and you make the auditions feel them with you, but they are not my emotions; in music, everything that comes out of my mouth, is truly mine.
Regarding your upcoming EP, what do you want fans to take away from the body of work, and ultimately what emotions and thoughts do you hope to evoke in listeners?
With my EP, I like to show my audience a bit of who I am, that I am versatile and not bound to just one genre. But most of all, I like to share with them my story and hope they can connect to the meaning of them and find them useful.
In anticipation of the project, you released songs like “Crave” and “No Maybe,” how do they set the tone for the full-length release?
“Crave” and “No Maybe” came out ahead of the EP to give my audience a taste of what is to come. All songs are a bit different from each other.
With the year coming to a close soon and reflecting on all of your accomplishments, what do you look forward to the most as you continue to grow your audience?
I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to make my dream come true, in acting as well as in music. I hope that I can continue to show people more layers of who I am, what I am capable of and move them with my songs.