E.G. Daily: The Culture Brats Interview

E.G. Daily has had an incredible career. She was Loryn from Valley Girl and Dottie from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. She gave voice to The Rugrats' Tommy Pickles and the Powerpuff Girls' Buttercup. And until last week, she was a contestant on the current season of The Voice. We spoke with E.G. about her time on The Voice and what she gained from the experience, Valley Girl, working with Pee-Wee and Tim Burton, and her favorite voice acting gig.

Let's talk about The Voice. What made you decide to audition for the show?
What made me decide was a friend of mine who I didn't really know very well, that I met a birthday party, she asked me to sing on one of her shows that she produced called BalconyTV. It's a show they do on the Internet. Artists will play a song and it's usually acoustic and it's usually sung on a balcony. She said, "Would you sing a song on my show?" and I'm like, "Sure!" I ended up hosting some of those because it was so much fun talking to artists and what inspired them. I was just so moved by those things. The next thing she called me one day and said, "I hope you're okay with this, but I got you an audition for The Voice." I was flattered and I thought, "How sweet of this woman" that I didn't really know that well to do that for me. I decided that I would go for it. I said, "I don't know if they're even gonna on the show because of my history and my experience." She was like, "No, they're familiar with you and they'll still give you a time slot." It didn't matter my history, it didn't matter that I was Tommy Pickles or Dottie. None of it mattered. The next thing you know I'm on the show and then chairs are turning and I'm like, "Is this really happening at this age in my life?"

What was being on the show like? Were you given a lot of input from Blake?
Yeah, actually. We had a really nice rehearsal and we had some rehearsal times. He's awesome. He's very spot-on about his comments. He knows his music and he knew right away what my little issues were. He was like, "E.G., I need you to wind it back down and blow it out later." He knew and he was like, "You're not wanting to feel the softer notes. I want you to feel them." He was right.

So you pretty much answered my next question, did you learn anything from your time on the show that might help you down the line?
I learned so much and how to really enjoy the process, that it isn't winning the prize, it's that it's being willing to fall on your face no matter where you are in your life, take a risk at things. It was a risk for me. I could have gone on that show and had no chairs turn and that could've been "Woman in her 50s goes on The Voice and non chairs turn." I think the lesson was to keep continuing to be willing to fall on my face. And when people are like, "Oh, you can't do that!" Oh yeah? Watch me.

Let's switch gears. Valley Girl is just an iconic '80s movie. For many of you working on it, it was your first starring role. What was it like to have so many young faces working together on a major movie?
Well, we didn't know we were going to be famous at that point in time. We just got this funny little movie that was very low budget. We didn't even know if it was going to come out. But we had a blast making it. We did it because we were actors. At the time, it was pretty much like a b-movie because it had no funding. I think we even had to wear our own clothes at one point.

I've got to ask about Pee-Wee. What was it like working with him on Pee-Wee's Big Adventure?
I got cast as Dottie. I had to go through a regular casting situation. Tim Burton, that was one of his first big movies. I remember them showing me a little movie saying, "This is the director, Tim Burton, and he's known for doing this really great short about a dog." I didn't know what his work was because he was new then. When we were on the set, I was like, "This is going to be fun!" because the sets were so goofy and childlike. He was such a genius director. Paul Reubens is such a genius himself. The next thing you know, we're filming and it's a blast and it was a huge movie for Warner Brothers. Huge. You never know. I never go into them thinking, "Oh, this is going to be the thing." I'm always pleasantly surprised by how things work.

How did your incredible voice acting career begin?
Wow, thanks! I actually got cast in a play that ran in LA called Tarzana Tanzi. It was a musical and I had to do all these voices. The play was about a female wrestler and I was the star of the show. It was in a boxing ring, and each round of the play, I was a different age. Opening night at this big theater, it was standing room only. Some guy was there and he handed me his card and was like, "Wow. You are really good with your voice. You really know how to do children's voices." I was like, "Oh, thanks. I'm an actress. I'm a singer." I didn't really think much. He said, "I'd like to send you out on some voiceover things. I think you'd be really good at this." He just heard something about my ability to manipulate my voice and do different characters. I was like, "Sure, I'll try that!" The first thing I went up for, they showed me a little claymation character and I started thinking, "Hmm, that looks like it would sound like the voice I've been doing my whole life since I was a little kid." A little voice that I had been doing, it was so developed. When the producers walked in, I started doing that voice. They were blown away and the next think you know they're bringing more producers in and more producers in. And the next think you know I was cast as Tommy Pickles.

What has been your favorite character to voice?
I really liked doing Baby Mumble (from Happy Feet), he was really cute. Tommy Pickles, of course, was amazing. Buttercup (from The Powerpuff Girls) is real fun. I played a character once called Germ Girl (from Bump In The Night. She was like this really sexy germ. She lured you in with her sexiness and then she kissed you and infected you with a cold. That was a pretty funny character. Voiceovers are so fun because you can be an inanimate object, you can be a ball, you can be anything.

You do so much: live acting, voice acting, singing. Which is your favorite?
I like them all. I can be doing live shows for awhile and I love it. I love singing and working with an audience and connecting with people. But when you get a character role where you get to dive into a certain character... Like, I did the role of Candy in The Devil's Rejects. I remember when I got to the set. Something about the clothing, I got to wear little baby doll things and patent leather go-go boots and my hair in Princess Leia braids. Something about transforming your body is really cool for an acting role. The voiceovers? Forget about it. It's off the charts because you're not limited by anything physical. You're all about your voice. For me, it's all fun.

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