Asher Angel on His New Single, TikTok, Quarantine and ‘Shazam! 2′
It's a strange time to be an artist and actor. With stay-at-home orders in effect and whole industries in limbo due to the coronvirus pandemic, hitting the studio to record or traveling to a set to film a music video or movie is impossible at the moment. Yet, creators are still finding ways to release content, engage with and entertain fans, and keep things moving forward—just ask Asher Angel.
Just last year, the 17-year-old musician-actor got his biggest breaks yet: He released his debut single, "One Thought Away" featuring Wiz Khalifa, and starred as the lead in the superhero hit comedy Shazam!, based off the DC Comics hero of the same name. His role on the beloved Disney Channel show Andi Mack also came to an end with the series finale, marking an overall turning point year for the young star. And then 2020 (and all that implies) came... but that hasn't derailed Asher's trajectory or momentum. If anything, the challenges have only inspired him to get more creative.
The music video for his latest shimmery, acoustic guitar-driven R&B-pop single, "Guilty," for example, was filmed recently during the quarantine. Premiering exclusively on PopCrush today, the "Guilty" music video sees Angel embracing social distancing measures in his stunning home state of Arizona, where it was filmed and directed by Asher's brother, Avi. The video's DIY energy lends a sense of intimacy to the personal, emotional track, while the artist's meandering solitude in the visual hits the song's lonely, heartbreaking lyrics home even harder.
Below, Asher Angel opens up about the meaning behind his relatable new single, how he's spending his time in quarantine with his family, the upcoming Shazam! sequel, his love for Andi Mack and more.
The meaning behind “Guilty” is very relatable on an emotional level. What can you share about the story behind the song?
It’s a love song gone wrong. Everybody experiences heartbreak at some point. And that’s what "Guilty" speaks to. Love, heartache, pain are all different emotional chords that are experienced with vulnerability. "Guilty" tells part of that story and emotes part of that pain.
Did you film the “Guilty” music video during quarantine? How are you navigating the current challenges to continue creating art and visuals?
We filmed the video during quarantine. It was an all hands-on-deck adventure [with] Dad, Mom, my siblings and [my choreographer] Kylie. We found different empty landscapes around our home here in Arizona and shot there. Social distancing has been hard. I want to be out and about like most, but I also understand the importance of staying at home. I just try to find the silver lining in things. So, I've been spending a lot of time on my guitar, piano and writing.—not to mention the occasional Xbox sports gaming distractions.
What’s been the most challenging aspect of being under quarantine and what’s been the most surprising aspect?
The most challenging has been the whole change in our schedule and movements. It’s hard for me to stay still. At the same time, I am working hard to find peace in the stillness and the quarantine is forcing me to do just that.
What albums or artists have been most formative to shaping your music taste?
Justin Timberlake has been a big influence, as well as Bruno Mars, John Mayer, Taylor Swift and a few others. I love music and there are so many talented people that I come across. They all shape and inspire me.
Since you made your official music debut last year with “One Thought Away,” what are some things you’ve learned about yourself as an artist/musician?
I’ve learned that I love the creative process, every step of it. Whether I’m by myself or collaborating with other artists, I find myself inspired to work hard and persevere.
What’s the greatest piece of advice someone ever gave you about honing your craft?
Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
I know you're a big fan of TikTok. Aside from the clips your fans post dancing along to your music, what sort of TikToks are obsessed with lately?
The app is pretty addicting. I'll find myself on it for a couple of minutes that turn into an hour real fast. I love everything on it. I like to see peoples' creativity.
You recently celebrated the 3-year anniversary of the Andi Mack premiere. I know that show was a huge turning point in your career, as well as an experience you really seem to cherish. Do you still keep in touch with your Andi Mack co-stars? And though it’s probably a bit too early for this, would you ever like to do an Andi Mack reunion special?
Andi Mack will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was my first real project and I was surrounded by people that were experiencing the beginnings of their careers right beside me. That only happens once. I do keep in contact with my cast mates, more now than ever. We have had group FaceTime calls together. As for an Andi Mack reunion special... heck ya, sign me up!
It was recently announced that due to the current industry shutdown, the Shazam! sequel has been pushed back to November 2022. What are you most looking forward to about the sequel and picking production back up?
So many things... I can’t wait to read the script and see how the story develops. I am so excited to see how Billy matures and where the story takes him and the rest of the Shazmily. And I’m so excited to see and work with my cast mates, [director] David [F. Sandberg] and [producer] Peter [Safran].
If you could borrow just one of Shazam’s superpowers for 24 hours, which one would you choose and why?
I would choose flight. Although Zack [Levi] is starting to persuade me that time travel may be the way to go. In any event, the idea of flying around is very appealing to me.