If you were an avid Disney Channel watcher in 2015, you probably know of the show called Bunk’d. Former Disney actor, Kevin Quinn was one of main stars on the show. Since the show ending, Quinn has taken a step back from acting and has started to pursue his first love, music. Quinn has music out as of now on iTunes, but he is getting ready to release his debut EP in 2020. The album is supposed to be “an unapologetic nod to 80’s ‘heartthrob’ pop.” The EP, titled Edge OF The World, will “capture the fine balance between the upbeat nature of the EP and the more reflective moments.” Along with the EP, Quinn is also starring in two movies, both slated for 2020. ECHO had the chance to chat with Quinn for an exclusive interview about his EP and films!
How have you been?
I’ve been good, honestly, I’ve been super busy. My year has a busy flow, jumping from this project to that project, but it’s been more so the back half of the year that’s been super busy.
Earlier this year you took a step back from how much acting you’re doing to focus on music. What inspired you or how did you know that now is the right time to do that?
It really was timing. I think for me, my acting career was launched with Disney Channel, which is kind of what I was known for then, which was cool and everything. After that ended, it gave me a huge window of time to not only find different acting projects, like more edgy, single camera stuff, more adult roles, but it also gave me time to focus on my music, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. The tracks that are in the EP that ended up coming about because of this project, they really were the best five of maybe twenty or thirty songs. I spent a whole year working on it. It was just the perfect timing for me to settle back in to that side of my career and my artistry and I really feel like I got the best product.
Why is ‘Edge Of The World’ the perfect title?
I think, for me, ‘Edge Of The World’ is a fitting title because writing a record is a very personal process and it reminded me of how very fragile life is and how a lot of times we can feel like we’re on the brink or edge, if you will. For me, this past year saw big changes in my life, where I had to take a step back and embrace the bigger picture. It has widened my perspective. I feel like the title is a comment on those moments where you feel like you’re on the edge and you take a step back and realize life is a very beautiful, fragile thing.
What would you say the theme of the EP is?
It’s a nod to 80’s pop, for sure. A lot of the tracks are fun, a lot of them have synths, it’s something you would listen to in a roller rink. I would say three of the five songs fall under that category, ‘Keeping Me Up,’ ‘Know Any Better,’and ‘Out Of The Cold,’. The other two, ‘Stop My Heart’ and ‘Temporary Love’ are an ode to the more romantic moments in my life where I had time to ponder what is love, or not even in the romantic sense; love between family or people that you care about and how strong of an emotion it is.
What song do you connect with the most on the EP?
I think ‘Out Of The Cold.’ That’s why I’m happy that it’s the lead single. I wrote it during a period of time where I was in a cold-hearted place, which is unfortunate to say, but I had a lot of questions about life and new things that I’ve never thought before and I was like woah. ‘Out Of The Cold’ is about figuring out those answers, to make life fulfilling for me.
We saw Selena Gomez do this, you took a step back from the spotlight to focus on yourself in a way.
Yeah, it’s funny because I felt like during my time with Disney, it very much was in the spotlight. We were young, I was 17 when I started working with Disney and I’m 22 now. I look back on it thinking how everything was under a microscope, we had a huge fan base for the show. A lot of people would come up to me and they loved my character, but for me it’s kind of nice to take a step back from that and figure out what is important to me. I don’t have any interest in being stopped on the street, not that if someone did stop me I wouldn’t talk to them, but I kind of mind my own business now in a way that I’m very much in my career because the art of it is what I love and not the fame.
Very New Yorker of you.
I want to move to New York. That’s funny you say that because my personality is with New York. In New York, everyone is an artist and you walk around the street and no one stops you, I love that about New York.
You mentioned how you used to dust of old records with your Dad and how that inspired your music. What other inspirations do you have?
There’s a specific period in time where I remember. I grew up in Chicago, mostly the outskirts/suburbs of Chicago, there was one house, it was the first house my parents had bought, and it was right by the Linden stop, which is the last stop on the subway in Chicago, so I still felt like I was a part of the city. There was the basement of the house where I spent my early years when I was probably five or six years old. My dad had a speaker system/record player in his work shop, but he had a huge record collection. He would spend weekends doing handy work and being a dad and he would listen to these records such as Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles. I can name any lyric to any Beatles song now, but had my dad not do that and play those records, I don’t know if I would have been as familiar with the music. Aside from listening to music with my dad, I started to get into musical theater when I was about fourteen. For me that was kind of a combination of acting and music of course, but it was also a different kind of music because the stuff I had been listening to as a kid growing up was the rock stuff, so to have a more theatrical knowledge, that’s when I kind of found my love for acting, which wouldn’t have been if I didn’t have any interest in music because then I wouldn’t have done musical theater. I think musical theater is also a big part why I even got into this career.
Do you think it would have taken any longer if you didn’t go the musical theater route and just stuck to the old fashion way of becoming a musician which is songwriting and playing small shows?
The thing about musical theater and also choir is that it taught me a lot about theory, so I was able to identify time signatures and keys and harmonies and read sheet music. Had I not done that those four years in High School, I don’t know if I would have had the same songwriting abilities that I do now where I was able to write these songs on the EP.
You have a musical movie coming out with Bailee Madison and a movie with Adam Sandler, talk about those projects a little.
The one I filmed in Boston was for Netflix with Adam Sandler, which is a Halloween film and that will be out next year. I’ll tell you about both projects. I had known Adam because I did a play at Pasadena Playhouse maybe like three years ago. His family came to see the show and they came backstage after the show and I started talking to Adam. We had some time to get to know each other. I hadn’t seen him for a couple years and I guess he thought of me for this film but right when the role came along, and I got the part, I ended up going to Boston and I walk into the rehearsal for this scene and Adam told me “Hey Kevin, what’s up? That’s a better outfit than the one you were wearing at Pasadena Playhouse,” the costume I had for Peter Pan was terrible, so he was joking around with that. It was great time filming, the Make a Wish folks came in. Adam was helping me finish my lines and getting my comedy a little tighter, he’s very good at that. Then I did ‘A Week Away’ with Bailee Madison in Nashville. I came back from Boston and within three days I was on a plane to Nashville to spend eight weeks there. Honestly, I did not expect it to be the project that it ended up being. I knew it was a musical, I got everything for the audition and I was like wait, at first, I didn’t know these people, so I looked up who’s Adam Watts, and it said executive music producer and he did High School Musical and Camp Rock and Jonas Brothers, all this early Disney stuff that I watched growing up. Then I looked up Roman White, our director, who’s a dear friend and he directed the music videos for “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift and “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood, all these staple music videos, so I was like “wow” this project has a great team. I did a couple auditions, two or three and then I heard that Bailee was going to be the co-lead with me and I had met Bailee four years ago, she came to the Disney set but didn’t hear much from her after that. I spent three weeks rehearsing, according to soundtrack which I think is about ten songs, the soundtrack is amazing. I was listening to it today and I can’t stop listening to it, the music is outstanding. I think people are going to see just how good it is when it comes out. It’s crazy, there’s so many similarities just sonically to High School Musical and all these crazy songs that I had listen to growing up, its’ because it’s the same team. I think that when people see this film, it’s supposed to hit theaters in 2020, that mainly it’s geared towards kids, but the whole family can go too. I think the way that we felt about those Disney musicals back in the days is how these kids are going to feel about this film.
It’s weird cause I had done the whole EP in Nashville, so to go back there and do a film, was kind of weird. The four trips I took to produce this EP and write music, it’s like I’m in the same world, I walk downtown and it’s all too familiar.
If you could set up a fan for them to listen to your new EP, what setting would that be?
It would have to be during the evening. When I hear it, I imagine a roller rink, but it’s the kind of project that if you were sitting on a rooftop in a big city like LA or New York and you were overlooking all this stuff happening such as light pollution and cars honking and people walking by, it’s kind of got the energy of that. The energy of the world. It’s fun, we call them “toe-tappers” in the press release, which they are, it makes sense. They’re the kind of songs where you have a drink with a friend or a group of people and you’re chilling out and having good time.
What is one inspiring quote you’ve heard in life that you want to ECHO out to fans?
That’s really coincidental that you ask that question, I have a great relationship with my parents and I’m very close with both of them and my mom sent me this quote by Jim Carrey, “I learned many great lessons, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a change at doing what you love.“It’s funny that she sent me that because she must have remembered that was my senior quote in the High School year book. I’ve been living by that quote ever since, because as soon as I finished High School, and did my best to get good grades and then that chapter was closed. After that I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, I didn’t go to college, I didn’t have a traditional path, so for me to kind of live by that quote and just do what I love, because I don’t want to live life wondering what could have been.
As this decade comes to a close, what is one big lesson you have learned this past decade?
I’ve always been a very introspective person and like to think about the deeper things in life. Lately, I’ve had some experiences that has made me realize the fragility of life, and how you really only get one shot. 100 years from now I doubt any of us will be around, it’s kind of morbid to think about it, but the fact is you only live once and there’s so much that we talk about doing and accomplishing, so you might as well make the most of it. I could go on about it, but I’ve never had these many questions about purpose and meaning.
I’ll put it this way, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since turning 22, that I wasn’t thinking about even a year prior, is that we’re not invincible, no one is invincible and though we may feel it in the moment, particularly in our youth, it is not going to last, so don’t waste your time with the wrong people or wrong relationships, life is too short, you really have to surround yourself with love and people who bring the best out of you and so, in turn, you can bring the best out of others too.