What do Tommy Pickles from Nickelodeon's "Rugrats," Dottie from "Pee-Wee Herman's Big Adventure" and Buttercup from Cartoon Network's "The Powerpuff Girls" all have in common?
Actress E.G. Daily.
She has been making her mark in the world of television, movies and mainstream music for more than three decades. But few realize she's the voice behind some of the most-beloved cartoon characters. Needless to say, it's been an interesting ride in an industry that relies heavily on face recognition.
Her vocal prowess, and a sense of anonymity, led her to the stage of the NBC's "The Voice." Those familiar with the show know that contestants participate in a blind audition for celebrity judges Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green and Adam Levine. It took about a minute of Daily singing Faith Hill's "Breathe" for Shelton and Green to become engaged in a battle over her.
Those familiar with her fearless approach probably weren't surprised to see her trying something new. It's the naysayers, though that serve as her biggest source of inspiration. Telling her she can't do something? That's a guarantee you'll have to eat your words.
Question: What inspired you to go on "The Voice?"
Answer: I've always done everything in the arts -- voiceovers or movies -- and music was something I always did first. I went through a period of time where I wasn't doing as much music, and I started to feel a little bit sad about it. And I kind of woke myself up one day and was like, "Wait a minute; the reason why I'm not feeling as happy is because I'm not doing the one thing that makes me really happy, the most happy."
So I started committing myself to my music and songwriting. And out of that, I went to a birthday party at this woman's house, and she asked if I would do a song on her show, which is "Balcony-TV LA." And I said, "Sure, I'll do that." And then, the next thing I know I started hosting some of those, and, one day, she called me and said, 'I hope you're OK with this, but I got you an audition for 'The Voice.' " And then, I was like, "Sure, I'll do it, great!"
I wasn't sure they were going to let me on the show because I was already well-known. They actually embraced who I was and what I had done. ... They didn't really know that I could sing.
Q: Given your parlay into mainstream music in the 1980s, would you call your appearance on "The Voice" a re-birth of sorts?
A: It was sort of tying a really beautiful bow around everything about who I was. For years, people have seen and known me: When I was on "Friends." And some people knew or didn't know I had sung the theme song to "Two and a Half Men." And some people knew that I was in "Valley Girl" or "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," or (voiced) Tommy Pickles. All the generations and decades of my work kind of came together on that stage. And everybody got to see the whole thing put together.
Q: Ironically, your voice has been familiar to millions without them even knowing it. Having come from a successful career as a recognized face in Hollywood, was that somewhat bizarre?
A: Yeah. With voiceovers, you're pretty anonymous. Even though people for decades have grown up to my voice. The parents watched "Rugrats" for 14, 15 years; the kids grew up watching it. So, literally, different generations have grown up to the sound of my voice. You don't put a face to the name usually. ... It takes one thing to have people go, "Oh my gosh!" It's a blast making the reveal. And that's what I felt like "The Voice" did for me. The curtain revealed all the faces, all the voices of E.G. Daily - who I am as a voiceover person, who I am as an actress with that voice and then who I am as a singer with this voice.
Q: Is singing a way for you to connect with people on a more intimate level?
A: It is -- it's very intimate, and it's also very moving and emotional. Music is so emotional as it is. I love how I got to sing "Breathe" because it's such a beautiful song about feeling. So, music just kind of helps you feel things without thinking. I get to use my singing voice to get to know feelings through my singing. I know it sounds kind of crazy. Music is one of the most powerful things. That's why they say it's a universal thing, everyone can feel a song.
Q: You've conquered the world of acting, mainstream music and voiceover. What's next?
A: It's just really to continue to keep challenging myself to my dreams, to keep saying, "Well, that would be really fun to do; I'd like to try that." To really not get caught in any limitations or any age. I get these little whims of ideas in my head, and I just want to constantly allow myself to try things. And I think the other main thing is to be a messenger of that, for moms that are in their 50s and a messenger to my own children. It's like my kids are, I'm hoping, being influenced by my way of thinking. I don't listen to anyone who tells me I can't do something. The more you tell me I can't do something, the more I will say, "Oh really? Watch this."
Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-8515.
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