Check out our interview with singer/songwriter and actress Saree McIntosh who at an early age has already written several songs produced by Grammy nominated Producer Tommy Marolda that reflect her own life experiences.
A defining career moment for Saree thus far was having the opportunity to collaborate with her brother Taylor and guitar legend Richie Sambora from the iconic group Bon Jovi on Money on Your Deathbed.
She is also a talented dancer who is trained in hip-hop, jazz, and lyrical. Saree competes alongside Taylor with the breakdancing crew Break Ninjaz. The team won USA Battle of the Year and went on to place 5th against teams from around the world in Battle of The Year, marking the highest finish for a U.S. team in nearly a decade. They also appeared on NBC’s World of Dance.
In addition to her musical and dance background, Saree is an up-and-coming actress. She guest-starred opposite Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker in FOX’s The Gifted, where she successfully navigated the challenge of playing five characters.
Follow Saree @sareemcintosh
Hi Saree, please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Saree, but you can call me Larry. I am 15 years old and the youngest child of six kids. I was born in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Las Vegas 4 years ago to pursue my music/acting career. Other than being an actor, singer, and songwriter, I’m a Bgirl! A Bgirl is a girl who breakdances. I’ve been breakdancing for five years now and have gotten to travel the world with it! I went to Montpellier, France, and battled with my crew BreakNinjaz in one of the biggest breaking competitions ever called “Battle of the Year.” My mom was a professional dancer, so she passed down her love of dance to me. Breaking is my main style, but I also love contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop. My dad is a very talented musician, so he passed down his love for music to me. He recently shared his love of Korean culture with me, and now I am learning how to speak Korean. I’ve written and recorded seven songs in Korean! I have a puppy named Darla, and she is a Yorkie and possibly the cutest thing on this planet!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
I am determined, witty, and warmhearted. I guess you’ll have to meet me in person to see if I’m telling the truth!
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
Music has always been a part of my life. About two years ago, I started taking music very seriously and decided to be a full-time musician. Before that, I just wrote songs and sang for fun! There was a point in my life where I went from loving singing and wanting to sing in front of everyone to being terrified to sing, even if it was just in front of my family. I was in that awkward stage and was just insecure about a lot of things. I found Freddie Mercury/Queen; seeing the confidence they had and the fantastic music they made inspired me to start singing and writing again. During that time, my older brother Taylor was also making his music. After a few months of us just writing and working on our singing, my dad decided that we should try and record some songs! From there, we met our amazing music producer Tommy Marolda. We kept writing and recording more songs, and now here we are!
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Emotional pop music. That’s what I think but listen and see what you think! A lot of my songs have a pop sound, but the lyrics are what make it meaningful.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I think the biggest influence that I’ve had with music has been my dad. He was the first person that sang to me and showed me how amazing music is. I remember seeing him sing and write songs at the piano, and I loved sitting on the stairsteps and listening to him. I don’t think he knows that I did this. Dad, if you’re reading this now, you know! He inspired me from a young age to sing, and sharing that with him made me love music even more. Something that I appreciate about my dad is that he never forced music on me. He allowed me to find the passion for it on my own. What made me choose to pursue music as a career is I realized that I was thinking about it 24/7. It got to the point where I wasn’t just doing it for fun, and I couldn’t imagine living a life without music constantly in it. I am so grateful that I have had such a supportive dad, and I hope that he can live out his musical dreams through me one day.
Do you play any instrument?
Yes, I do! I play piano and am learning guitar. My mom put me in piano lessons when I was younger, but I hated them. It wasn’t that I didn’t like playing piano, the lessons just made it so boring. I wanted to be creative and write songs, but the lessons didn’t allow that. So, she took me out, and I just got better by learning songs that I liked and writing my stuff. I do regret not getting better at sight-reading, though. Now I’m teaching myself guitar! Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to shred a little.
Do you ever get nervous?
100% I get nervous all the time. Even just singing in front of my friends makes me nervous. I’ve noticed that if I accept that I’m nervous and use the adrenaline that I have positively, it helps me get out of my head. My family makes fun of me because when I’m nervous, I giggle a lot. I don’t intentionally do it. It just happens!
Tell us about your singles “Karma Baby,” and “Color Outside The Lines?”
“Karma Baby” is an enjoyable, upbeat song. It has a vintage, 50’s vibe to it. “Color Outside the Lines” is a simple, very melodic, acoustic track. This song is near and dear to me, and I like how it shows my sound.
What’s the story behind these songs?
My dad and I yell “Karma Baby” when someone does something mean, and then it comes right back and bites them in the butt. For example, it could be like my brother roasting me about something, and then right after he stubs his toe, karma got him. We thought that it had a nice ring to it, so we decided to write it into a song. We wrote the whole song with my producer in like an hour! It was a fun night. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant with my producer and his family and then went back to his house and wrote the song. (P.S if you are ever in Vegas, go to Juans Flaming Fajitas, it’s perfect). The story behind the song is letting karma take care of all the mean people out there. I’ve had some experiences with mean girls in my life, and I’ve learned that not giving into their issues is the best way to deal with them. Just live your life, be happy, and leave the rest up to karma. “Color Outside the Lines’ ‘ is a song that we didn’t rush writing. My dad came to me with this amazing guitar-picking pattern, and then we sat down and wrote the lyrics together. The title of the song matches the vibe perfectly. It’s very pure and sweet. The lyrics reflect that too. I wanted to write a song that was about not caring what other people thought of you. There are so many stories that I’ve heard about people who never followed their dreams because of other people’s opinions, and I wanted a song that showed taking risks is what life is about! So yeah, that’s the inspiration behind “Karma Baby” and “Color Outside the Lines.”
How was working with Grammy-nominated Producer Tommy Marolda?
Tommy is AMAZING! Man, I can’t express how talented he is. I met Tommy about a year and a half ago, and I remember being so excited to work with someone who was Grammy-nominated! We sang him some of our songs and then got right to business! A few days after meeting him, I recorded my first song, “Right Before My Eyes.” He and my dad were cracking jokes with each other right off the bat. I’ve made so many great memories and learned so much from working with him, my brother, dad, and I call his house our “happy place.” I’m so grateful to have such an incredible musician/producer on my songs. I can’t wait to see what else we create!
And with guitar legend Richie Sambora?
Wow, just thinking that I’ve worked with Richie Sambora is insane! I remember we wrote the music and sent it over to him, hoping that he would play on it. We had low expectations and didn’t think that he would say yes. But then, one night, my dad got a call from Tommy. My family and I were standing in a circle around my phone, then when Tommy told us that Richie wanted to be on the song, we all started screaming and jumping up and down. It’s still can’t wrap my head around it! It was great hearing the magic he put on our song, “Money on Your Deathbed.”
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is when you connect with a character, and the worst part is the auditioning process. When I get an audition where I connect with the character, script, and storyline, I cannot stop thinking about it. I’ll be doing something simple like brushing my teeth; I’ll think, “Hmm I wonder how my character would do this?” Often, I catch myself daydreaming about the character or acting out the script in my head. I have a dilemma where I want to be/do everything. When I was younger, I wanted to be an elite gymnast and a professional Bgirl, but also an equestrian… and don’t forget about music and singing! I was so torn that I couldn’t be all those things, but acting allows me to experience what it might be like. The worst part is the auditions. Oh boy, you could ask every actor out there the same question, and I’m pretty sure they would say the same thing. You have to be grounded because there is a lot of rejection that you experience as an actor. Someone once told me that after 100 or so auditions, you’d finally book a job, so since then, I’ve kept a list of every audition that I’ve done. I have to say, so far, that theory has proven itself true.
Tell us about your work in FOX’s “The Gifted?”
I played the role of the Young Frost Sisters in FOX’s “The Gifted.” This role was terrific! Skyler Samuels plays the older version of the Frost Sisters, and she taught me a lot about how to portray the young versions of them. Yes, I did say “them.” The Frost Sisters are telepathic mutants, and there are 5 of them! I got to play quintuplets! Esme, Phoebe, and Sophie are the main triplets, my episode shows the backstory of their life, and that’s when it is revealed that there were initially five sisters! I won’t give away too much so you can go and watch the show, but it was a lot of fun because I got to die twice on the show!
How do you prepare for a role?
When I’m getting ready for an audition or preparing for an actual job, I try to get myself in the right frame of mind. The first thing that I do when I have an audition is look at the character breakdown. I try to get as much information as I can about the character. Sometimes they don’t give you very much info, so that’s when I read the script and try to fill in those holes. I feel like the best actors give a little bit of themselves to the character, so I try to do that too. Once I think I have a good grasp of the character, I’ll start memorizing the script. When I do the scene, I push away the memorized lines and just let them come to my mind like a normal thought. I prepared for my role on “The Gifted” by shadowing Skyler Samuels while she was filming the older Frost Sister scenes. I looked at the small things she did to make each sister different, like the tone of voice and facial expressions, and she even told me that each sister has a different standing pose. Understanding these little things about the characters helped me make them feel more natural. When we finally got to filming, I just cleared my mind and stayed in the moment of the scene.
What other projects you have been part of?
I’ve been a part of a few short films, music videos, and commercials. I was recently in a commercial with James Harden! It was amazing. I also performed in Gwen Stefani’s Las Vegas Residency announcement. I also did two Old Navy commercials, and the director was Michael Gracey! Yes, the same Michael Gracey that directed “The Greatest Showman!” He was so kind to me.
What kind of roles do you like or would you like to play and why?
I would either want to play a role where music is involved or where I get to learn how to ride a horse. Riding on a horse is on my bucket list, and what better way to learn than get a role where I have to! To play a role like Emma Stone in “Lala Land” or Lady Gaga in “A Star is Born” would be a dream come true.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
If we’re talking about music, it’s the feeling when you finish writing a song. Now in acting, it’s when the scene flows so naturally that you don’t even realize you’re acting. Writing high is a thing. When everything is just pouring out from your brain onto the piano, guitar, or page, it makes me so happy. Then after you finish the entire song, you sit there in awe, like, “Did I just write that?” When I was filming “The Gifted,” it was that same feeling. I felt so calm and into it that when the director called cut, it took me a few seconds to realize that I was acting.
What’s your advice for the newer singers and actresses?
Be patient! I have to remind myself of this all the time. I used to worry so much about when I was going to book a job, or when I was going to write a hit song, or even worrying I wasn’t good enough. Thinking about it too much took the fun out of everything. We’re young! What could be better than making music or acting? I fully believe that great things take time, so don’t give up! Just enjoy the process and have fun learning and growing in your craft.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
If you can write songs, you can write your ticket! There are so many talented singers out there that I look at and think, “Why aren’t they a huge star?” Most of the time, it’s because they don’t write. Writing can open so many different doors, so now I try to focus on getting better at writing.
How would your best friend describe you?
Annoying; I’m just kidding! My friends always compare me to the sun, so they would probably say that I’m energetic and funny. I don’t think there’s been a time where I’ve been around my friend Bella that she hasn’t peed her pants from laughing.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I’m not sure. I’m not quite there yet, but if anyone has any recommendations, let me know!
What’s next for Saree McIntosh in 2021?
A lot more music, the writing will never stop! Hopefully, some live performances, maybe a tour of some kind? I haven’t gotten to perform because of Covid, so I am just waiting for the day that I get to go on stage. I’ve been learning/singing in Korean, and it would be fantastic if I could go to Korea!
What is your favorite healthy food?
Caesar salad! My mom makes the best salads. She adds bell peppers, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, chicken, and the best dressing in the world, “Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Caesar dressing.” It would probably be healthier if I didn’t add bacon, but it’s a good start.
And your favorite cheat food?
Let me think. Ice cream, ice cream, and more ice cream. I love ice cream so much; I think I have a separate stomach for ice cream. Even if I’m super full, I will always leave room for ice cream.
How would you explain your fashion style?
I would say “cool grandma.” I love vintage fashion, but I’m also really into today’s trends. I went thrifting with my mom the other day and found the cutest shirt ever. It looked like it was from the ’50s, I showed her, and she was like, “That looks like a grandma shirt.” I ended up buying it and styled it with a pleated skirt and platform Mary Janes. In the end, she thought it looked nice. Honestly though, I’m in workout clothes 99% of the time…it’s a rare occasion when I dress up.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Happiness to me is being around people I love. It doesn’t matter where or what we’re doing. If I am around people who are genuine and kind, I am at my happiest.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Freddie Mercury 100%! He is one of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in music, his stage presence, writing skills, voice, style, and courage, has inspired me so much. I would have so many questions for him, and I bet he has a ton of crazy stories to tell. I once had a dream that I had dinner with him, and we shared a burrito. I don’t know why I was dreaming that, but I’m not mad about it. Hey, maybe one day I could meet Brian May and Roger Taylor, then they can tell me some incredible Queen stories!
Best advice ever given?
My mom once told me that tomorrow is never promised, so live like it’s your last day, every day. When she told me this, I worried so much about the future and not living in the present. Now I try to cherish every moment, even if it’s something simple like taking my dog Darla on a walk.
Do you support any charity?
When my dog Yogi passed away last year, my mom and I donated to “A Home 4 Spot Animal Rescue.” This organization helps rescued dogs find permanent homes, and they also help fund medical procedures for sick animals. It makes me so sad to see all the horrible situations these animals have to go through, so I try to help whenever I can.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Dang, in 5 years, I’ll be 20! I see myself traveling the world, performing, meeting new people, and writing music constantly. I want to have a world tour. Singing worldwide, seeing different cultures, and sharing music is where I’ll be five years from now. I also see myself acting in a movie or K-drama. Boom, manifesting all this stuff right now!
Favorite song? Why?
I can’t choose my favorite song of all time; there are just too many amazing songs. But my current favorite song is “Day and Night” by Jung Seung Hwan. I swear they laced that song with something because I can’t stop listening to it!
What do you think of Social Media?
Social media is good in some ways but not so good in other ways. One of the first questions that record labels or people in the industry ask is, “How many followers do you have?” It used to be that if you wanted be a musician, you’d work on your voice and learn an instrument, but now they’re taking social media stars and turning them into musicians, just based on how many followers they have. So, it forces you as a singer-songwriter to focus not only on your music but primarily on your socials. It can be a good thing, though, because it allows you to reach many people quickly. So, if you can breakthrough on social media, it could help your career immensely.
Where we can follow you?
YouTube: Say Hi Saree.
Book: Where the Red Fern Grows By Wilson Rawls.
Quote: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale.
Movie: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
TV series: Avatar the Last Airbender.
Favorite food: Ice cream!
Travel destination: Huntington Beach, CA.
Sports team: Denver Broncos!
Photographer: Araya Doheny Photography
Hair & Make Up: Allison Noelle