Leighton Meester on Moving on From Gossip Girl, Finding New Love in Music — Exclusive
This time next year, we’ll be saying goodbye to our favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters of Gossip Girl as they wrap up this seasons-long chapter of their lives. But for their real-life counterparts, that chapter is already nearly closed as the actors move full steam ahead into a future beyond the designer-clad world of the Upper East Side. One of the show’s biggest stars, Leighton Meester, has already made a big geographical switch — from New York to Los Angeles — to commit more time to her other passion: music. “It kind of already feels like it’s coming to an end now because I’m basically living in another place and moving on to something else,” says the woman behind the fiery Blair Waldorf in an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment. That “something else” has led to her first tour (five shows on the west coast, which kicks off May 29) with band and longtime pals Check in the Dark, whom she calls her “musical soul mates.” We may be nearing the end of our love affair with GG, but if it’s any consolation, Leighton is prepared to give us the sweetest breakup song ever. Read on for more of our chat with Leighton:
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On the beginning of the end for Gossip Girl: “We don’t go back to New York until July, and we only have four months of shooting [Season 6] so [...] it’s kind of a good thing and a bad thing. I’m excited to for it to end because I’m ready for a new chapter […], and at the same time, the thing I’ll miss the most is the people that I work with. Everyone’s like family — the crew [and] everyone that we work with every day in New York.” On moving from New York to Los Angeles: “It’s just such a great, warm, creative environment. And to be around everybody and my friends, to be able to be outside. It feels right [...]. Home is the west coast for me […]. It feels right and it feels great that our first tour is going to such great cities on the west coast.” On comparing music versus acting: “[Playing Blair] is intense, but music is intense in a different way [and] in a very personal way. When I play a character, it’s pretty much the exact opposite. I mean, I do find parts of the character in myself — and it’s absolutely rewarding to be able to draw from experiences of my own, but the music is my experience. It’s what I’m feeling in that moment.
"I feel like the songs I’ve written these past couple years, that we’re going to be performing [on the tour], they really are an expression of how I felt [at that moment] [...]. It’s completely different [than acting], it’s a different art form — and I’m really, really glad that I have it because it’s part of what keeps me sane — if I can call myself that.”
On how Gossip Girl influenced fans’ music tastes: “[We had] very interesting bands that I don’t think I’d heard of before they came on the show. I think [the show’s] great at doing that, at finding new kind of cool music and introducing it to the mainstream — which is awesome.”
On connecting with a new fanbase: “I feel like some hardcore fans who have already made it to shows […], they will totally understand the vibe. And I’m excited to introduce our new sound to people who have no idea what they’re in for — and that’s what I’ve been excited about.” (Check out Leighton and Check in the Dark in action here and here.)
On singing in Country Strong — and its impact on her as an artist: “I was definitely influenced by being part of [the movie], and being part of a completely different world and genre of music. And I mean, before that […] I was doing pop music. And as much as I can discuss that with pride […], personally, the music I’m doing now is way more of a reflection of who I am, who I’ve become, and where I’m headed.”