Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen is ‘doing something different’ on the music scene
The average trajectory of a star in the acting industry doesnât involve starting out in a Dr. Seuss-inspired movie before becoming a rock star.
But then again, there is no such thing as an average path in the entertainment business and Taylor Michel Momsen isnât the average actress.
Famous for her cutesy role in How The Grinch Stole Christmas and later for her role as Jenny Humphrey on the TV show Gossip Girl. Now, though, her days are spent interviewing and playing another role altogether as front woman of the rock band The Pretty Reckless.
After traveling with the Vans Warped Tour and then doing their own shows, the band is gearing up for more performances, continuing Momsenâs journey.
âThe Medicine Tourâ kicked off March 9 and will bring shows everywhere from Seattle to Vancouver to Los Angeles. The band will also release a new EP later this year and will play alongside Marilyn Manson in its upcoming tour. But the spotlight almost always shines on front woman Momsen and with good reason.
For a girl that went from a very Gossip Girl demeanor to a hard-rock, eyeliner-heavy look, 18-year-old Momsen received a lot of attention when she first began touring. Yet as much as Momsen drew comparisons to rock figures like Courtney Love, especially because of her distinctly deep and semi-raspy voice, she sees her image and her sound as something more.
â[Those comparisons are] mostly just interviewers,â said Momsen. âI donât hear from that fans or people that I know. Everyone wants to put a label on you so youâre easier to understand, so itâs easier to understand the whole thing. Thereâs not a lot of females in rock ânâ roll so the comparisons are understandable but I’m doing my own thing. I think Iâm doing something different.â
And while Momsenâs high profile could accustom her to the tight schedule of being in a band, she never quite predicted where sheâd be today.
âThe only goal was to be able to make records and to make new music and to write good songs. I never thought about it, about where it would go,â said Momsen. âThe biggest thing Iâve learned is to kind of let things go naturally and the course theyâre meant to go in and not to force anything. And to stay true to my own conviction and my own vision and not bend for anyone for the industry or any sort of outside force. Sometimes itâs a fight but I think itâs worth it at the end of the day.â
While the move from actress to musician oftentimes proves risky, Momsen sees the change as liberating.
âThereâs definitely a lot more spontaneity [in the music world],â said Momsen. âWhat I love about it so much is that I get to write my own songs and sing them. I donât have to play a character. Theyâre both great, but acting was pretty much a job.â
In the end, the move from the acting world to the music world turns into more than changes in scheduling. For Momsen, itâs less a job and more of a passion.
âHaving the opportunity to only do music and having to do other jobs as well is such a blessing and so amazing and to have that be my only focus is awesome,â said Momsen. âThe goal has always kinda been the same thing: to make records and continue doing that. I want to do that for the rest of my life and if I can do that, itâs amazing.â
While most of the tracks on the bandâs album Light Me Up are strung together by heavy guitar chords and unabashedly honest lyrics, the bandâs new video for âYouâ also shows a more sensitive side. In fact, Momsen doesnât stick to the average Courtney Love image, as much as it might seem on the surface. Sheâs not a fan of flying and she stocks up on lentil soup when on tour and the experience of being in a band has taught her a lot already.
âMy perspective of what good is has definitely evolved,â said Momsen. âWeâve gotten the opportunity to tour with so many bands from Evanescnesce to Guns n Roses to [Marilyn] Manson to Foo Fighters, so to be able to watch some of the greatest bands around right now and learn from them has helped my perspective.â
With the current tour under way and a new EP coming soon, the band and Momsen are at a point where they can only keep growing. And Momsenâs no-gimmicks attitude only adds to the bandâs unique personality.
âThereâs no pre-show ritual,â said Momsen. âI put my shoes on and smoke a cigarette, and we go on.â
And after a long journey in the world of entertainment, sometimes thatâs all you really need.