Jana Kramer is a star from truly every angle. Her resume reads like a list of one hit television show after another. She has had roles on Grey’s Anatomy, Entourage, Friday Night Lights, and 90210. Recently the 26-year-old Michigan native wrapped her first season on One Tree Hill, where she plays a role that has taken her on a journey of levels as an actress. From serious comedy to serious drama, Kramer tackles it all with her character of Alex Dupre, only further emphasizing on that star quality and strength she has as an actress. Yet Kramer’s talent doesn’t stop in front of the camera. It has now taken her right into the recording studios of Nashville. Shortly before heading off to Utah to film the One Tree Hill season finale, the very sweet Kramer generously took time out of her busy schedule to discuss with me her new venture into country music, her further aspirations as an actress, as well as to reflect back on her year on Tree Hill.
You are very close to wrapping your first season on One Tree Hill, how has the whole experience been?
Jana-I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s sad that it’s coming to a close. I’m happy but I’m also like sad about it cause it’s just been really fun. I’ve gotten to do some really good work. They’ve made my character better than I thought they’d make her so it’s been really fun.
How have you grown as an actress with the role of Alex Dupre? She’s gone through some transitions since the start of the season.
Jana-Well I think it’s great because at first I was kind of worried to play her because it felt like she was so one-dimensional. And they’ve brought so much more color to her and the fact that they’ve made her a little more deep and given her different layers, it’s been great because with those emotional scenes and stuff I got to play more and I got to really dig deep, which is great as an actress. To not just keep playing one role ,and I got to find new things and explore her. So it’s been really fun.
Is there a moment or storyline that stands out to you with Alex?
Jana-I think my it’s scenes where I break down with Austin Nichols’ character, cause he’s just a phenomenal actor to work with in general. He really brought out the best in me, too. He’s awesome.
What’s going to happen with the Alex and Brooke relationship?
Jana-I think we’re both sorry for everything. You know outside of the show, Sophia[Bush] and I, she’s one of my best friends. But I think with Brooke and Alex, well first of all Brooke realized Julian does not want Alex and Alex realizes that now that as well. So they can be cordial. I’m sure they’re not gonna be best friends and they’re not gonna like braid each other’s hair like I said in the episode, but I think they’re moving in a better light.
How was shooting the John Hughes tribute episode, with all the big hair and 80’s outfits?
Jana- Oh my gosh it was so much fun! It was so cool. It was just neat to see everybody dress up and we got to play with makeup and have just like lots of eye shadow. That was neat!
You’ve started pursuing your music professionally now, did you always have an interest in singing? How did your work in music begin?
Jana-It’s so much fun. I’ve been doing it for a while. My friend Deanna said you should start singing, you have a great voice, and I never really kind of believed it. And then we formed a band together but we broke up the band a few years ago cause she moved to New York and I’ve just been kind of pursuing it on my own. I’m finally really taking steps now to actually pursue it. I’m working with some wonderful people in Nashville. I’m going back out there once the show wraps. So it’s really exciting. I’m just concentrating on just writing music, but it’s looking really good right now.
How is the writing process for you?
Jana-I co-write with my producer. It’s great because my manager she sets up song writing meetings for me so I got to write with Karen Staley, who wrote a bunch of Faith Hill songs. And I have another co-write coming up with Victoria Shaw who wrote “The River” by Garth Brooks. I’m doing all these awesome co-writes with just some really well-known people in Nashville so it’s really exciting. I’ve got a lot of ideas. It’s a great, different way to express myself. I love it.
I’ve been going back and forth to Nashville on the weekends co-writing with people and singing for some labels and I’m going back the day we wrap. I’m off to Nashville again to get it going!
Why country music? Is that what you’ve always been most interested in?
Jana-Oh yeah I grew up listening to country music. I love it. I grew up listening to Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. My grandma was just always playing it so I just grew to find appreciation to it. I’ve loved it ever sense. It’s the one thing that whenever I’m having like a bad day, even though some country songs are really depressing, it helps me get through my bad days and it also lifts me up. So it’s like if I can do that with my music, touch people the way that it’s touched me, then I’ve done my job.
Who would you love to sing a duet with?
Jana-Well I would have laughed to sing a duet with Johnny Cash but that’s not gonna happen! (Laughs) Probably living now I’d say Dolly Parton. She seems like such a sweet lady.
What is a dream role you aspire to play one day? A part you would love to explore as an actress?
Jana-I would love to do a period piece. Anything whether it be like a Western or like a 1900’s, anything period piece I would just die to do. It would be so much fun. I think it’s cause of like the outfits and exploring the different accents, like if it’s a British piece. I don’t know something about it just seems so glamorous.
Is there an actress you would dream to work with? Anyone’s work you admire?
Jana-Well of course I love Meryl Streep. Recently now I’d love to do a movie with Sandra Bullock. She’s just seems like an all-around, I hear how she treats everybody on set, she’s just really nice and fun. I’d love to work with her and Meryl Streep. That would just be awesome!
Sandra Bullock went to my high school and we always heard great stories about her in my theater classes.
Jana-She did? That’s so cool! Madonna went to my high school!(Laughs)
What do you think you would be doing now if you weren’t acting or singing? What else are you passionate about?
Jana-I’d say broadcast communications, like sports. I love sports. So if I was like a sports anchor or something like that. I would love to do that.
With your success and attention, how do you keep yourself so grounded? The young Hollywood world these days can be so crazy.
Jana-I have an amazing family. I was raised in a wonderful mid-west family. I think I have a good head on my shoulders. I don’t mess around with any recreational stuff. I have too much drive and determination to let anything falter me. Because I know that life’s short and there’s so much that I wanna do and I can’t do anything that might hold me back or get stuck in.
I just think if people are rude to other people it’s really disheartening and I don’t wanna be that person or have anybody say oh god she’s so mean to the crew. That would just break my heart cause they work harder than we do.
If you could go back in time and live in anyone’s shoes for a day, who would it be?
Jana-I would be grandma. She’s still alive though, because I always wanted to see what it was like when she was back in the war back in Croatia. But I would say my great grandma. My great grandpa was in Auschwitz so I’d wanna know how that all was. She, my great grandma, was in a concentration camp in Poland. I wouldn’t wanna relieve it but I would want to know how she got out.
Jana Kramer will soon be making a special announcement right here on how you can see her perform her new music live in Nashville at a private showcase! This is a special show she would love for her fans to be a part of and all the details about it will be posted here very soon!
Read my interview with Jana Kramer from last fall-‘Jana Kramer Stirs Things Up on One Tree Hill’!
All photos are credit of Josh Williams Photography.