BSCkids recently got to chat with singer and songwriter Justine Dorsey who has a new song on the Disney movie soundtrack, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The movie features an original song “Best Worst Day Ever” performed by Justine Dorsey & Kerris Dorsey which is now available on iTunes.
For the single, Justine collaborated with her sister, Kerris, who also stars in the Disney film. Kerris portrays big sister Emily in “Alexander,” wrote and performed the song “Best Worst Day Ever” along with her sister Justine The song can be heard during the credits. Justine has become an award-winning artist winning Singer/Songwriter of the Year at the Malibu Music Awards. Currently, she has recently joined forces with Unison Music Group having just produced Justine’s third project-Under Construction-a six song EP-her third project since she was 14 years old. Signing with an Independent Label.
BSCkids: Justine Dorsey
Tell us a little bit about the single you worked on with your sister for the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Movie?
Sure! It’s called “Best Worst Day Ever” and it was definitely not the worst day ever when Miguel Arteta, the movie’s director, asked us if we wanted to write a song for the movie. We had no idea if we’d come up with something, but we said we’d try, and in five days we had the song! I’ve seen the movie twice now in an actual theater (not at a screening) and it’s been so cool to hear my voice! All our friends stay and dance to it with us and everyone else in the theater is just like “what is happening?”
Who did you get to meet while on this project? Did you get to see the movie early? Did you get to go on set with your sister?
I got to meet everyone! Kerris and her onscreen brothers, Dylan and Ed, are best friends, so they’re some of mine by extension (because sisters share everything). I met the song’s producer, Brian Malouf, who did a great job on the song. I even got to meet the Disney movie department when Kerris and I went in for a surprise performance! They were so lovely and gave us candy, which is always a plus in my book. (The candy. The candy was the plus. Their loveliness was great, don’t get me wrong, but the candy thing really got me). I saw the movie twice before it came out, and I’m telling you, even after four times I’m not sick of it!! It’s that good. And I did go to set! Obviously the entire shoot was fun, but the days I visited were especially fun, because they were shooting the birthday party scenes! The set was literally like a giant party. When I wasn’t goofing off with Kerris, I hung out with the moms and the set teacher and my dad, and we literally laughed the entire time. I spilled tea on someone important, and they were really nice about it. All in all it was a success. Even the tea.
Any recording funny behind the scenes things happen while recording the song in the studio?
Hm… Nothing stands out in my mind, but one thing that was really cool was when the producer, Brian, had Kerris and I sing to each other, at the same time, while we recorded vocals. I think that live aspect really comes across in the final recording.
How do you and your sister work together writing a song, can you tell us the process?
It’s really just a lot of throwing out ideas to each other! And not being afraid to sing/play something stupid. We learned that even if something felt stupid, we should share it, because one of us would take that thing and turn in into something that better served the song. Basically, it’s all trial and error. You never know what’s going to work!
When did you learn how to play the guitar? When did you first decide you wanted to be in music?
I leaned when I was thirteen! So I’ve played for about 6 years now. I can’t pick out a certain day when I decided I wanted to be in music. I’d always done acting and music was kind of a side thing, and eventually it shifted toward music. I still act, but writing spoke to my soul on an entirely different level. The kind of feeling I get from writing music is indescribable.
Did you read the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book when you were younger? If so what was your favorite part of the book?
I did! I don’t really remember it much right now (mainly because the childhood reading-retention parts of my brain are filled with Harry Potter quotes) but I feel like it must have been the beginning of the book. I love the beginnings of stories more than the endings, because it feels like setting off on an adventure. Oh my god, I sound like a cheesy poster on the wall of a third-grade classroom.
If you had your choice of turning another kids book into a movie which one would you choose and would you want to write music for it?
Ooh! I love this question! I think I’d like to do Good Night, Moon. Wes Anderson would direct it because this is my fantasy, and since it’s mine, I can do things like order Wes Anderson to make a movie with me. But I’d step out of his way after that and focus on making a soundtrack that will probably be mainly lullabies.
What other new projects are you working on?
I’m working on an album!!! We’re recording the singles right now and shooting videos soon. Sometime in the first half of next year, I’ll have a Real Actual Full-Length Album. I have so many songs that I cannot wait to share.
Besides your sister who would you love to tour with and why?
Our friends The Narwhals!! Dylan Minnette, who is Anthony in the Alexander movie, is in the band. They are our best friends and I’m a seriously big fan of their music, so it would obviously be the funnest tour in the world. We’re already half-planning it. 😛
Who is the most famous person you have met?
Oh wow. Well, I briefly met Steve Carrell on set, and he is one of my (and Kerris’s) personal comedy heroes- like we quote various characters of his all the time. So for me, that was a big deal. Also Taylor Swift gave me a guitar pick during a performance of her Speak Now your, which I am going to count as meeting her. And once, Kerris and our cousins and I screamed at Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak as they walked past our car. Soooo pretty #glamorous, amiright??
Do you have any other brothers and sisters? How crazy is it for your parents to have such famous children?
We don’t! It’s just me and Kerris and we are so crazy close. I wonder what our relationship would be like if we had another sibling.
And honestly, we don’t think of ourselves as famous. Neither do our parents. So it’s not really acknowledged in our house. And I’m glad! People are weirdly obsessed with fame and it literally makes no sense to me. Our parents are just happy that we’ve found what we love to do.
What is the most played song on your music playlist right now?
Right now I’m obsessively listening to “Boys” by Sky Ferreira because it’s kind of a perfect pop song, and every song on The Narwhals’ EP because it feels like being just on the cusp of something big.
Any advice for younger kids who might want to be singers and songwriters?
Since we discussed fame earlier, don’t do it for fame, because that is- SAY IT WITH ME, PEOPLE- fleeting. If you want any sort of longevity, do it because you truly love it. And don’t be picky in terms of where you play! Just because it’s not the Staples Center or there aren’t a million people there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. One of my favorite gigs was in a little black box theater with literally four people in attendance (not including my parents). I still did my set as though there were a hundred people there, and by the end I felt so connected with the four strangers in that little theater. It was magical.