Iconic singer & actress Lisa Velez, of “Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam”, interview: Memories of shooting Taina

In the late 80s singing urban contemporary band Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam, headed by beautiful Lisa Velez, swept the nation with their dancey hits such as Head to Toe, Lost in Emotion, I Wonder if I Take You Home, and their emotional ballad, All Cried Out, which the first two shot straight to #1! Lisa was a native New Yorker who had such charm about her along with her Puerto Rican spiciness. While things slowed down for the band heading into the 90s Lisa tried her hand into acting. In early 2001 is when the musical sitcom show, Taina, launched on Nickelodeon about a young girl who’s dream of becoming a renowned singer & actress were chronicled while still dealing with friends, family, and misguided adventures. The show became a landmark as it was a never before seen peek on just how a Latina’s vision is shown through the public and why it was important to never let go of values and dreams. Lisa was fortunate enough to play the role of Taina’s mother, Gloria Morales, and was just a perfect bit of a supporting but fun loving mother. In this interview Lisa takes us back to what it was like shooting that first season down at the Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando,FL and lots of other good things. And yes Lisa is still performing and touring with the band around the country.You can see their latest tour dates here http://www.songkick.com/artists/317718-lisa-lisa

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1. Prior to Taina you were mostly known for your music and having so many hits. Was it an intimidating thing to head into acting for the first time?

I majored in Theater when in high school. I truly wanted this part so Nope.

2. How did you get the role of Gloria Morales on the show?
I met the creator of the show,Maria Perez, at a premier party. She said she had a part for me. I auditioned and got the part.

3. What was your first impression of Nickelodeon Studios when you got there?

Family orientated. Colorfull and fun!

4. What was a typical day like being there? rehersals were more like family fun!
We always laughed. It didn’t feel like work!!!

5. Did you ever feel some sort of resemblance to the character of Taina Morales when you were a teenager even though you played her mother?
I so related to this character because she reminded me of My mother! I was young when I started in this business and I put my Mom through it. I brought that to the table.

6. If you can remember things about the studio tour or having a live studio audience what was the best part about that?

seeing the sets and what they really looked like was a trip! The audiences were patient because we had to do so many takes of each scene. I sat in the audience once just to get a feel for it. Nice! Coming from music, I live for the audience energy. To act in front of one was magical!

7. How great was all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive stories?
Staff was awesome!!! They know their shit! Who, What, Where When ,and Why!!! Fun!!!

8. What was one of the good things about living and working in Orlando?
Oh my god!!! The weather, food, people, parks, beaches!!! What else could you want?!?!

9. Have you ever been slimed yourself?
Ha! Of course! Nasty but Fun!!

10. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
Not exactly a ride but the fright fest was GREAT!!!

11. Do you think it was a different atmosphere when the show moved to shoot in LA which may have lead to its cancellation after two seasons?
I shake my head to this question. Yes it was different. more competitive. Different writers.I don’t know.

12. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show? Absolutely ! Latangela Newsome who played Maritza, Selenys Leyva who played Gloria’s sister. I also hear from Christina Vidal “Taina” through my friend and her sister Lisa Vidal.

13. Favorite behind the scenes memory.
Missing lines was always a hoot. They made blooper tapes of them.

14. As for new music or any tours you may be doing do you mind explaining some things you’re working on now?
Always More Music! Touring all over and more acting!!! You can go on my Facebook and Twitter to get the tour dates.

15. You may not be aware but how do you feel knowing that Taina along with the rest of 90s Nickelodeon shows made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?
It’s humbling to hear that it’s still remembered. Taina was the first Latino Family show on Nick. And coming from Hells Kitchen NY myself is an honor.

16. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special? They cater to Family. Real subjects that kids and families are or will go through. Relatable.

17. With this April marking ten years since it’s been gone, would you like to see it be re-opened?
Absolutely!!! Marathon!!!!


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