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Interview: Dialed In with Aubrey Peeples of ABC’s Nashville

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“Nashville” Airs on Weds at 10|9c on ABC.

At Nashville Dialed, we have an affinity for all things country, & more often than not, all things country include all things Nashville. Case in point: We recently caught up with “Nashville” starlet Aubrey Peeples & got a chance to ask her questions sent to us by you, the fans. Although we didn’t have time to ask her everything, we picked a few of our favs to give you an inside look at the rising star making waves on the hit series. Enjoy.

What were your inspirations in preparing for the role of Layla? Did you watch certain actors/actresses in preparation?
AP: In the beginning, when we were first figuring out who Layla was I watched clips of pop/country performers like Taylor Swift on stage to see how Layla might move, but ultimately she ended up coming from a completely different place. It has been a blessing because I truly feel like we built her from the ground up as an individual artist, and she’s had her own unique arc moving from reality TV-star to pop-country wannabe, to struggling americana singer/songwriter.

What is the work schedule like for a show like Nashville?
AP: Like any TV show, there are a lot of hours that go into shooting. On a given day, if I’m in every scene, I could be there for 14 hours. However, because there are so many characters on our show, most of us don’t work ‪Monday through Friday‬. One episode takes 8 business days to shoot, and usually I could work as little as two or as many as five days per episode. On our days off, though, we are normally in band rehearsal or in the studio recording music for the show – or performing at the Opry and around town. ‬

ABC's Nashville

Favorite episode? Why?
AP: One of my favorite episodes to shoot was the mid-season finale of Season 3, when Layla attempts suicide. This was one of the hardest for me up until that point because I had to go to a place that I really did not want to go to at first, and we then had to completely reshoot it a few hours later due to a technical difficulty. It was a big acting challenge but I feel like I broke through a lot of barriers that night and that it has benefitted my work since. I also enjoyed the season 4 finale because Layla does a lot of things that from a writing perspective I was surprised with and not expecting, so it was a challenge figuring out how she would handle the new scenarios she was thrust into. The challenging parts while difficult, end up being my favorite as an actor because that is when I truly feel like I am growing.

The show has had some great celebrity cameos. Which were you most excited about?
AP: I get excited just at the thought of so many real country and pop musicians wanting to be involved with our show, because I feel like it really justifies the authenticity of what we are trying to accomplish – but course I was most excited that Elton John guest starred this season.

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“I mean, come on. Hands down … between takes he broke out into a live performance of Your Song.”

Do the on screen arguments between any of the characters ever carry over into real life?
AP: No, there’s certainly no fighting over who’s gonna headline or about gay ex-husbands between us actors.

What was it like to perform at the Grand Ole Opry?
AP: Performing at the Opry is absolutely incredible. There’s really no other way to describe it than magical. You feel the history immediately as you enter backstage, and the feeling you get stepping into the wooden circle is like no other. It is truly an honor that we get to perform there as often as we do. I imagine it like a warm embrace from Minnie Pearl.

How accurately do you feel Nashville represents the Nashville music scene?
AP: I think from a music perspective, we get it pretty close to real life. With T-bone Burnett spearheading and passing the torch onto Buddy Miller, the music is truly where our authenticity lives. Not to mention the fact that all the back up musicians you see in each character’s band are not only real musicians, but some of the best touring and studio musicians in town. AND on top of that, the large majority of our songs come from the best songwriters in Nashville. So musically, I think we nail it. Of course it is a soap opera and the truth is often exaggerated. I don’t know of that many celebrity shootings happening in town and there certainly aren’t any paparazzi like the show depicts.

Were you a fan of country music before the show? If not, are you now?
AP: I was not into very much modern pop/country before the show and still am not it’s biggest fan, but I was a fan of old classic country and of the rootsier stuff. But my knowledge was limited before I moved to Nashville and joined the show; now I know so much more both of country music history and of all the different branches of “country” coming out of Nashville right now, and my respect for all genres and the writing process has largely increased. My musical taste has expanded like it never would have anywhere else, and being in Nashville has also really allowed me to truly find my own artistic voice. I draw a lot of inspiration from blues, southern rock, swing, soul, classic country….and Nashville has given me a history lesson about these genres like I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.

Who is your favorite artist at the moment? Any genre.
AP: It’s so hard to pin down one “favorite.” Like I said, my musical tastes vary, and I mostly listen to a lot of old soul, jazz, and blues – Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, Howlin Wolf, Lonnie Johnson, Bonnie Raitt…But I guess as far as new artists go I’m really into the Tedeschi Trucks, Leon Bridges, Chris Stapleton, Gary Clark Jr, Alabama Shakes, The Wild Feathers, and Pokey Le Farge. Basically I’m bad at answering questions.

Favorite place to hang out in Nashville?
AP: My house. I’m a big Netflix/HBO user. But Nashville is amazingly special, and I’ll give you a little tour. Food/Coffee – Far East, Two Ten Jack, Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen, Sam & Zoes, Baja Burrito, Koi, Rolf & Daughters, Steadfast Coffee, Blue Sky Cafe, Pinewood Social, The Smiling Elephant, High Garden Tea, Five Points Pizza. Music – The Ryman, The Opry, 3rd & Lindsley, City Winery, The Bluebird (duh), Mercy Lounge, Station Inn, The Basement & The Basement East. Record Stores – Grimeys and Grimeys Too, Phonolux, The Groove. Books – Bookman Bookman. Movies – the Belcourt Theater. Enjoy!

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