Jaheem Talks With TMI About His Role On The Popular Nickelodeon Series “100 Things To Do Before High School”
You started your acting career at a very young age, what inspired you to try acting?
I’ve always known I wanted to entertain, I grew up watching a lot of Disney and Nickelodeon and studying those actors. I loved high school musical and could’ve sworn I was in it growing up and no one could tell me different. When I was about seven years old I had the epiphany. I walked in to my mom and dad’s room and shared that entertainment was my passion and I wanted to pursue it.
You are known for your role on the Nickelodeon series “100 Things To Do Before High School,” Can you explain the process of how you got this role?
Being on a Nickelodeon show was always my dream. I used to make my mom drive me by Nickelodeon Studios every day so I could take a picture by the iCarly billboard. I used to look at her and say I promise mom, I’m going to have my face up there one day” it took years of rejection, and training but I stayed persistent and focused and when that billboard finally went up, it was all worth it.
Can you explain the character you portray?
I played Fenwick Frazier on 100 things to do before high school. He was the smartest kid in school which was quite significant to me as an African-American actor. He was sarcastic, dramatic, and energetic, which is pretty much me.
What do you think makes this show standout from other shows that have been aired on Nickelodeon?
One thing that made the show really special was that it was shot in single cam format. That is very unusual for nickelodeon shows but Scott Fellows is a genius. His mind is incredible and the writing on the show was genuinely funny.
What’s your favorite part about being on “100 Things To Do Before High School”?
I think the greatest thing about working on the show was the fact that I got to work with two of my best friends. That whole crew was family and to this day I’ve never worked on a set like it. The vibe was just always so perfect.
What’s your favorite part about being on set?
I feel like every day, another dream came true. Sometimes we would use props from old nickelodeon shows that I adored, sometimes Nickelodeon alumni would visit set, and then we would shoot classic promos that I’ve always wanted to do.
What was it like guest starring on the popular Amazon Show “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street”?
That was such a fun time. Sloane is one of my great friends so it was awesome to work with him.
Did you have a favorite role you played? If so what was the role and why was it your favorite?
I think Fenwick is the closest to my heart but I wouldn’t say it was my favorite to play. I had a lot of fun playing Sebastian on Knight squad because that character is petty and kinda sinister which has become more and more fun to play to me as I become older. I also did a pilot earlier this year with Ben Giroux and Jerry Trainor (from Icarly) and that character was super mean but a lot of fun.
Are there any other acting projects in the works you can tell us about?
I am currently working on a brand new sketch comedy series called “The show” and the best part is I get to write and direct on it as well. I’m super super excited for that to kick off.
You also started your singing career at a very young age, what inspired you to try singing?
I have been singing since the day I was born. I don’t even remember a specific time when it hit me that singing was my passion it was just always there.
You just recently released your first single, can you tell us about the song?
Superpower is super special to me because it is the first song I recorded in LA. It also represents me and my energy well. It’s definitely poppier than a lot of the music I make. It’s just a super feel good song and people have responded to it well.
Did you want to be an actor and singer when you were little, or did that develop later on?
Once again, I have always loved entertaining all around. Everyone around me growing up knew that was my thing.
How would you describe your musical style?
My music is pop/R&B with an old-school flair. I just want my music to make others feel the way I feel when I listen to good, timeless music. I want people to be able to dance and forget about their problems and feel loved when they listen to my music!
Are there any artists that you look up to right now?
My biggest inspiration is Beyoncé. I’ve learned so much from her and she is just so extremely incredible. I also love Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, and Ariana Grande.
Have you ever been starstruck by anyone you’ve met so far?
I don’t get starstruck too easily, but I think the craziest for me was the day that I met Miranda Cosgrove. I know it sounds corny, but once again I Carly was my favorite show of all time!
Can we expect any new music soon? If so can you spill some details about them?
You can definitely expect some new music in the near future. I cannot wait to release it. I think this year my team and I really found my sound and I think well be ready soon.
Are there any other projects in the works you can tell us about?
This past week I was a part of the launch of the new platform Instagram TV. I am super excited to release content there and on many other platforms in the coming months.
What are your friends and parents thoughts on your career in singing and acting?
My family has always been super super super supportive every step of the way. My parents are so understanding, and they really listen to me when I share my vision and then they help me achieve it. We are great team and I’m so grateful for them. My friend circle is pretty much filled with people that do the same thing as me on a lot of the same platforms (children’s television in particular) it’s great to have people to relate to, as life can be crazy adapting to and being a part of young Hollywood. We all support each other and my friend group is so so extremely talented.
What goals have you set out for yourself in your career and in your personal life?
There are many goals that I have set. I’ve always dreamed big. Music is so special to me, and the way music makes me feel is indescribable. I want to be able to do that for other people and make them feel real joy as well as loved, accepted, and understood. All the awards and the glitz and glam of the music industry are just a plus. But I feel like the day I can sell out a stadium tour by myself and create a good time for that many people I will feel accomplished. Sounds like a lot, but I won’t stop working hard until that day comes. And then its time to set even bigger goals.
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment so far in your career as a singer and actor?
The reason I began in entertaining is because I love to make other people happy. So I feel the most accomplished when people approach me and tell me that they appreciate my work and that it’s made an impact on their lives because that’s the reason I do what I do. I also love when a young person of color approaches me and tells me that because of me they are going to pursue entertainment. I remember being made fun of and hated on by those who doubted me But when I saw people that looked like me like Corbin Blue or China Anne McClain doing what I wanted to do, inspired and motivated me and helped me to believe that it’s possible. So the fact that I can be that for somebody else is the biggest accomplishment for sure.
Overall, how has this whole acting and singing career experience been for you?
It’s been magical, it gets stressful from time to time but it’s worth it to be able to do what I love for a living.
Do you have any advice for anyone trying to make it as a singer or actor?
This may sound cliché, but my best advice is never give up and believe in yourself. There’s gonna be plenty of people that are going to try to steal your joy and tell you you’re in capable. But if you believe in yourself and stay persistent, it may take what seems like forever for you to accomplish the ultimate goal but if you stay focused, stay prayerful, and stay persistent, anything is possible.
You have also created a huge social media presence for yourself. Why do you think social media is so important for teen actors today?
Social media is a simple way to connect with fans. I think that’s so beautiful. I love interacting on social media platforms and giving my supporters updates on what I’m working on.
How do you want your relationship to be with your fans?
I want them to feel loved because I love them so much and it’s incredible to me that so many people support me and that I can have an impact on so many peoples lives. I try to respond to as many comments as possible.
What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?
I would definitely say I use Instagram more than any other platform.
Does your fan base have a name?
It’s in the making.???
What was the craziest fan encounter you have had?
I honestly can’t think of the craziest off the top of my head. But I love when adults get excited when they meet me it’s so funny to me I love it. I remember this one time at an Ariana Grande concert there was a giant crowd of fans surrounding me, they sent like five security guards over and one escorted me back to my seat, when we got there he goes “ hey I know this is kind of weird but my daughter and I watch you all the time do you mind if I get a picture?” I just thought that was so great.
What’s an average day for you look like?
I wake up eat, and work and get a solid 5 hours of sleep on a good day LOL. Whether I’m actually on set or not working means studio sessions, rehearsals, writing, photo shoots, video shoots etc. when I’m not working, I like to spend time at amusement parks with friends or we have sleepovers and movie nights.
What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?
Ambitious, energetic, creative, observant, and most importantly EXTRA.
If your life was a movie, what would be the title?
Extra, the musical.?
Who would you want to play you?
Eddie Murphy, Will smith, or Titus Burgess
Do you have any last things you want to tell your fans?
Thank you all so much for your constant love and support, I have some really special things coming later this year. I love you, I love you, I love you, K bye??
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview!