Check out our interview with actress, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daire McLeod who stars as ‘Charli Allen’ in the reboot of the Emmy award-winning series “Ghostwriter” on Apple+. Daire can also be seen in several short films and numerous musical theater productions, and most recently she can be seen in “Mysteries At The Museum,” “Coop and Cami: Ask The World” and “Danger Force.”
On the music side and inspired by the likes of Taylor Swift, Amos Lee and Amy Whinehouse, Daire released her new single, “Hey Honey” at the end of 2022. In addition to songwriting, the creative teen writes novels across a variety of genres, as well as screenplays.
Follow Daire at @daire_mcleod
Hi Daire, please tell us a little about you?
Hey! I’m an actor, singer-songwriter, writer, and champion cookie dough devourer. I play Charli Allen in Apple Tv+’s Ghostwriter, Lilith in Danger Force, and more. I have a song out currently called Hey Honey, and I’m in the process of releasing the next single and an album. I’m a philanthropist, and I have my own charity called “Daire2Read&” which is dedicated to putting a book in the hands of any child that wants one. Finally, I’m an animal lover, screenwriter, and overall goofball.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
I’d say I’m capricious, adventurous, and passionate.
We’re sure you have been asked this a million times, but how did you get into the industry?
I got into the industry through my love of musical theater! I started auditioning on Broadway, and I made my way over to the world of film and tv. The incredible Jack Turnball inspired me to believe in my acting ability and helped me to get where I am today. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 complications, he passed away, but I know he’s looking down and cheering me on. Later in my career, I started songwriting and releasing my own music, which I am so proud of. I still keep discovering new things I want to explore, and I’m excited to see where my creativity takes me.
How has this changed your life?
Acting, music, and performing have always been a part of my life, and it’s helped me in more ways imaginable. It taught me to live vulnerably, to be courageous, to take risks, to live all out, and most importantly, it’s changed my life because it allows me to do what I’ve always wanted to do, help others. When you are blessed enough to do something you love and help somebody else in the process, there is nothing else you can ask for.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
My sound is unique, imaginative, and memorable.
Who influenced you, and why did you choose to make music?
My mom and dad have exposed me to music since before I was born. Literally! I was jamming out to Mozart in the womb! A song captures a moment, a feeling, or an experience in music forever, and that’s what compelled me to music. My musical inspirations are all over the place because I would go from 80’s hair metal with my dad to classic jazz and 90s grunge with my mom, and everything and everyone in between! However, my biggest musical inspos are Amy Winehouse, Prince, Taylor Swift, Amos Lee, and Soundgarden.
Do you play any instruments?
Yes! I play guitar, piano, and ukulele! I’ve been learning guitar for about three years now, and you may be surprised to learn that I can actually play a couple of solos too! My favorite so far is “Let It Be-The Beatles.” I’m self-taught in piano and ukulele, but thanks to my love of the two, I constantly am learning more to play some of my favorite songs. I use all of these to write my own songs, and I find that once I start writing in my music room, no one can get me to stop! (Unless my parents lure me out, lol)
Do you ever get nervous?
Of course! Before I perform or I go into an audition, I get nervous. I mainly consider it a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Nervitious, so to speak! I always welcome that feeling, though, because being a bit nervous signifies that you really care about what you’re doing and want to do well. It’s also like a free power supply inside of you! When you can harness that nervous energy and convert it into performance energy, that feeling becomes your best friend. It’s also important not to let your nervousness inhibit you from doing your best. Take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I’ve got this!” Don’t let your mind run away with you because you’re going to do extraordinary things!
Tell us about your new single, “Hey Honey?”
“Hey Honey” was the first song I wrote on the guitar, and it was inspired by the summer days I have with my country cousins. We’ll go out on the lake and sing songs, go boating, play cornhole(I usually lose, ha!), and we just have a great day. While thinking about those moments, the lyrics started popping into my head, and then once they were down on paper Hey Honey was born!
What’s the story behind the songs?
People ask me all the time how I write songs. I think of all of these lyrics and ideas, but I have no idea how I come up with them! When I’m creating a song, most of the time, the lyrics just come to me. Even if I’ve never experienced what I’m writing about, I can hear, smell, taste, touch, and see everything in that moment. Some of my songs are about my own experiences, some are the stories of others, and some are completely out of my head! For example, most of the romance ones are purely fiction, ha!
How did you get started in acting?
I started in musical theater at the age of four. My first production was The Jungle Book, and I had one line, which was “And me!” I think I even missed my cue to come on stage! However, I LOVED the feeling of giving energy to an audience and performing, so I kept acting locally until I realized I could make the passion permanently a part of my life! So I started auditioning on Broadway at ten and moved to film and tv at 11 years old. My love for performing has only grown with time, and I’m never going to stop!
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
There are so many upsides to being an actress. My favorite is the imaginary worlds I get to live in. Acting is the best job in the world because you get to play pretend all day! I also love that you create a little family on set! After spending so much time together creating something beautiful, you all become bonded in a way no one can imagine. The only downside of being an actor is the self-doubt that comes with putting yourself out into the world. The thought of “do people like me?” “am I going to be successful?” The flood of comments, reviews, and opinions from the world can seem daunting. However, when you have those positive thoughts in your head, you can squash the naysayers and be your own biggest cheerleader!
How do you prepare for a role?
I love the research side of a role because I get to learn about something I may not have known otherwise. If the project is about someone or something I’m not familiar with, I’ll research it. Then I write a backstory for my character. It’s almost like a diary entry where I discover their favorites. For example, Charli’s favorite weird food combo is ice cream and butter spaghetti. I haven’t tried it for myself, but I’ll take her word for it. I also write down all of my lines so I can remember them better and get out of the way so the character can shine through. Finally, when I film, it’s all about letting go and having fun! Because when you have done all of the work, the joy shines through!
Tell us about your work in Apple TV+ Emmy award-winning series “Ghostwriter?”
I play Charli Allen in Season 3 of Ghostwriter. Charli is a free-spirited, quirky extrovert who marches to the beat of her own drum and is willing to do anything for her friends. I’m so proud of this series because not only is the show impossible to stop watching, but it also talks about important subject matters that can invite meaningful conversations. Not only do you get the twists, turns, gasps, and the “OMG!” moments. You also get the beautiful heart and love this show offers, making you laugh, cry, and smile from ear to ear!
What other projects have you been part of?
I was in Danger Force playing the pirate waitress who (spoiler alert!) goes a little too far with her superhero crush and kidnaps Bose. I’ve also been in Mysteries at the Museum and Coop and Cami: Ask The World. I got to work with spiders, parrots, and makeup effects; oh my!
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I would love to play a dramatic role so I can really show off that facet of my acting, maybe even a psychological thriller. I would also love to be in a show where I can sing, dance, and act. Because what could be better than all three of my passions combined!
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
One hundred percent the feeling. The feeling of giving back and connecting with others is indescribable. It’s like you’re getting hugged by the universe a million times! Seeing the joy that people had while watching my show, listening to my songs, or even just talking with them is an incredible blessing I will be forever grateful for.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I’m a huge fan of the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. It’s so useful for time management, and by habit stacking, you can create a system you can always rely on, even on those crazy busy days! It really helps me stay consistent even while I’m jet-setting!
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
I learned to trust myself more. To not worry as much about what others are thinking and more about what you think of yourself. Finally, don’t feel the need to change just because others think you’re too weird or different; let your freak flag fly!
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
When I was younger, I had a hard time with pleasing people. I would sometimes mirror and match so much that I would self-edit my opinions and personality. I would tell my younger self not to worry as much about others! That everyone will think what they want about you, regardless of the way you act. Also, that bullies will be bullies! Let the doubter’s words be just that, words. Keep smiling, and know that you are amazing! Oh, and be sure not to run around the fireplace with a sheet on your head; that doesn’t end well for you.
How would your best friend describe you?
Instead of me trying to figure it out lol, I went straight to the source and texted her the question! Her response: “Incredibly kind and sincere, has a contagious smile, and always brightens the room” Ahh! I have the best best friend ever!
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
I feel like it’d be titled; “Daire to Dream” because it would be about my adventures and all of my dreams coming true! (This book is half full so far, and I hope my dreams in the next chapter are just as interesting as the first half!)
What’s next for Daire McLeod in 2023?
I have new songs coming out soon! My next single is called “Learn To Count!” which is a more indie, experimental pop sound. I will also record an album so diverse in sound that everyone can find a song they love. I’m going to finish writing a screenplay this year which I’ll work to get on the big screen!
What is your favorite healthy food?
I love Mexican food, so beef fajitas are a favorite of mine. However, I find that I eat omelets day and night! Specifically one with mushrooms, chicken, and feta cheese. I eat those for breakfast, lunch, and dinner some days, and with a little bit of hot sauce, it’s *mua* chefs kiss!
And your favorite cheat food?
Oooh, I think my favorite is mint chocolate chip ice cream with magic shell on top! The magic shell is necessary because it doesn’t taste as good without it! I love chocolate chip cookie dough because I always watch movies with my family and eat cookies. Sometimes though, they don’t make it into the oven cause I’ve taken too many “samples.”
How would you explain your fashion style?
I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to style. I use my style to express what I’m feeling that day. So one day, I might want to dress more 90s grunge style, then the next day, I’m preppy, then NYC Street fashion. So it’s hard to narrow it down, but I really love looks that make a statement and push the boundaries!
What is your own definition of happiness?
That’s a tricky question! I think my definition of happiness is the ability to create art that’s meaningful to me. I love to create because it’s an outlet where I can harness my thoughts, feelings, and aspirations into something I can share with others. It not only helps me process my own experiences, but it helps me connect with others as well. It’s sometimes hard to put a feeling like creativity into words, but it’s the most freeing experience for me. That’s one of my definitions of happiness, but my family, friends, and crazy cats make me happy too!
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet the icon and legend, Prince. He was a musical genius, and if I got to pick his brain for a bit and discover his tips and tricks, it would be a dream come true. For curiosity reasons, I would talk to Amelia Earhart and ask her how she disappeared and how to be as courageous as she was. I’d love to meet Ada Lovelace as well. She was an 1800s scientist and mathematician who originally proposed the idea of the computer before it existed. It would be really cool to see the look on her face when I tell her how far that idea has come. Finally, Amy Winehouse would have been a dream collaboration of mine because of her incredible songwriting and voice.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
Ahh! I want to go everywhere, so it’s hard to narrow it down. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, and it’s funny because I’ve never pinpointed the exact moment I knew I wanted to go to Paris. It’s always been this innate desire of mine, and my Mimi (grandma) said she would take me someday, so that’s a dream holiday for sure. Another place I’ve always wanted to go to Costa Rica! My uncle is a professor there, and I’ve always wanted to visit him to experience the incredible wildlife and scenery. Finally, anywhere super fun I’d get to go with my bestie would be a dream come true! (Currently, a top place to go with her is Disney/Universal ��)
Best advice ever given?
I’ve gotten so much incredible feedback from many amazing people, but one that really stuck with me was when I was first auditioning on broadway. It was my first time auditioning in New York, and I was told that I was too much for some people, I was unauthentic, or I needed to tone it down. I auditioned and got a call back for a cast recording, and it was only my second audition. However, with the feedback on changing myself, my mom and I were questioning if I wanted to continue acting professionally. When I got the call from the project and spoiler alert, I didn’t book it, lol! But the director wanted to tell me that no matter what happens, “never let anyone change you.” It encouraged me not to worry so much about pleasing others or fitting a mold. I learned to just be myself. So if he happens to be reading this, thank you!
Do you support any charity?
Yes, I do! I have my own charity called “Daire2Read”. I’ve always been passionate about reading since I was very little. I feel that books are our greatest superpower because, with the stories inside of them, we can do anything. However, I learned that some youths don’t have access to the stories that the world gets to enjoy. That’s why I created “Daire2Read.” Our mission is to put a book in the hands of any child who wants one. I’ve partnered with Love Heals Youth to deliver books to kids between foster homes so that we can give them the best gift of all; hope. Because when we support the people of today, we can create a better tomorrow!
Where do you see yourself and your career 5 years from now?
I want to write, produce, direct, and star in my own project! I also want to produce my own album because I’ve started to dive deeper into the production of music. I want to expand “Daire2Read” so I can provide books to even more people. I’d love to be a girl power superhero to show girls they can do anything. My lifetime goal is to be an EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and to play a character so iconic they create a Halloween costume for it, mostly because I would love to trick or treat one year as a version of myself!
Favorite song? Why?
It’s hard to pick because my playlists are all over the place, but my two all-time favorite songs are “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy” by Queen and “Brandy” by Looking Glass.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is a powerful tool. When used for good or for bad. When we use the internet for good, we can spread positivity, support each other, find something we love, raise awareness for important causes, and more! If we choose to spread kindness and love online, we can extend that through our real lives too.
Where we can follow you?
And support Daire2Read here!
Book: The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
Quote: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”- Marilyn Monroe
Movie: Dead Poets Society, Clueless, Back To The Future
Tv Series: Glee, Once Upon A Time, The Office
Favorite Food: Sushi, Frozen Yogurt, Cookies
Travel Destination: Scotland, British Virgin Islands
Sports Team: The soccer team for Ted Lasso. Go Roy Kent!