Actor/Singer Dexter Darden

April 26, 2012
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Dexter Darden appeared in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Minutemen, and more recently, starred alongside Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah in Joyful Noise. Dexter is also currently working on new music and has recently released his first single, “Can We Talk?”

I was recently given the opportunity to interview Dexter for Teen Ink.

Rachel – Tell us about yourself.

Dexter Darden – Well, I’m Dexter Darden and I recently just played Walter Hill in the new movie, Joyful Noise!

RH – How did you first become interested in acting?

DD – When I was about eight years old, I started doing fundraisers for The Hole in the Wall Gang, which is a camp for kids with special needs and blood diseases and things like that. Around then I kinda became interested in it. Then when I was 14, you know, I really decided that I wanted to take it seriously and start pursuing acting.

RH – Tell us about your experience on Minutemen.

DD – Oh, it was an awesome experience! It was the first major movie that I ever did. Working with that cast, we were such a close cast! It was definitely one of the most fun experiences I’ve had on a film, especially being able to play a geek and not really be who I am.

I still keep in contact with Jason (Dolley), Nick (Braun) and Luke (Benward). We’re all very, very close and get together often, which is good.

RH – What is Joyful Noise about?

DD – Joyful Noise is about a church choir in Georgia. The leader singers are Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton’s husband is Kris Kristofferson, the choir director, and he passes away. In his will, he leaves the choir to Vi Rose Hill, who is played by Queen Latifah, instead of his wife, Dolly Parton. It’s just about the struggles that go on with the choir as we enter into this choir competition.

RH – Tell us about your character.

DD – I play Walter Hill, who is the son of Vi Rose Hill. Walter is very interesting, you know, ‘cause [he] is struggling with Aspergers syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. He has a lot of struggles communicating with people. He doesn’t really like being touched. He’s very socially awkward.

Being able to portray that on screen was a blessing in itself and was special because my cousin actually has Aspergers syndrome. So I know how hard it is for him.

But through the help of Jeremy Jordan’s character, Randy, Walter kind of ends up finding himself and being able to be a key part in the choir.

RH – Now, personality-wise, are you anything like Walter?

DD – Not at all! {laughs} I’m very much a social butterfly. I like hanging out with my friends. I like going bowling or playing basketball or going to the gym or whether I’m just playing X-Box with my boys. So, I’m not really like Walter in that sense, because I like to be social which is why playing a character like Walter was a little bit of a stretch for me.

RH – You’ve had several roles where your character is a singer; are you a singer?

DD – Yes! Yes, I am. I was actually a singer before I became an actor. I grew up singing in church and grew up just singing around the house. I was singing in the live shows to raise money for the camps. So I’m a singer before I’m an actor.

RH – Is there an album in the works for you?

DD – There is an album in the works! We don’t really have a release date yet.

I write a lot of my own music and I write for other artists as well. I’m in the studio now kind of writing some new songs and hopefully gonna get a strong album together for you guys.

RH – I hear you’ve released a single; what is it about?

DD – My single is called “Can We Talk?” It’s one of the first songs that I wrote and co-produced.

It’s about a boy who’s going through some struggles with his girlfriend. He just wants to talk about it instead of arguing about it and fighting over it, breaking-up. He just wants to talk about it so that everybody’s on the same page [and] so that the relationship can continue.

You can find “Can We Talk?” on iTunes. You can buy [it] there. You can find it on YouTube if you look up Dexter Darden – “Can We Talk?” It’s the first single off the album, so I’m excited for it!

RH – What sound will your album have?

DD – I’m a dancer, but I’m more of an R&B [singer]. I like to make music that people can listen to and enjoy and really understand the lyrical content; you know, like Ne-Yo does, or John Legend does, or like Maxwell does. When you listen to those singers sing, those newer singers with an old-school type of feel, you really understand where they’re coming from musically with their lyrics. That’s what I think of when I write.

RH – So you’re going to be writing most of the songs on your album?

DD – Yeah! I think it’s important to write your own music or at least try to write some music so you can have input on the material that’s going onto your album, so that people can really understand more of who I am as an artist.

RH – What other projects are you currently working on?

DD – Right now, I’ve been in a couple meetings for different things. Nothing that I can speak of yet. But, you know, 2012 is gonna be a big year for Dexter.

Hopefully toward the end of the year we’ll have something that I can come to Teen Ink with and share with you guys first!

RH – What advice do you have for aspiring actors?

DD – To not give up and to be educated. Acting is such a hard industry to break in to. [There’s] so many people want to do it and there’s so many people trying to do it. But if you educate yourself and you take the proper classes; study the right roles and do your research on how to really become a good actor, it’d be easy. Really take the time to study and make sure it’s what you want to do. Give it your all.





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