Jessica Mauboy puts record on hold for The Secret Daughter
JESSICA Mauboy put her music career on hold to star in Seven's new drama The Secret Daughter.
The series is her first leading TV role after turns in the musical movies The Sapphires and Bran Nue Dae.
"I put my next studio album on hold for the show," she told APN's The Guide.
"I had such a blast. I want to do more TV; it's such a powerful tool."
The award-winning singer, who rose to national fame as the runner-up in the fourth season of Australian Idol, plays a part-time country pub singer whose life changes forever after a chance meeting with wealthy city hotelier.
Mauboy said she enjoyed leaving the bright lights of her music career behind to focus on her character Billie Carter.
"It was nice to leave myself at home, strip the make-up and the clothes back and play this country town girl who's hopped all over the place with her father," she said.
"She's had to survive and struggle and live off fruit picking, working in a bakery and backup singer in a pub band.
"She's a strong young woman who tries to get her father out of trouble all the time. She's always helping everyone else.
"I like how respectful she is to every person who comes into her life."
Acclaimed actor, writer and director Leah Purcell, who directs the first episode of The Secret Daughter, helped the 27-year-old prepare for the role.
"My method acting training helped a lot. Leah would tell me there's a lot of people coming up, they'll be making you look a certain way and camera people will be talking to you, so you've got to be ready and stay focused and be in your character," Mauboy says.
"I give her all the credit for helping me explore all my emotions and give them permission to be free."
Mauboy also formed a close relationship with her co-star Bonnie Sveen, who plays Billie's best friend Layla.
She calls Sveen, who is best known for her role on Home and Away, her 'sister girl'.
"As soon as I heard her laugh it just make me cackle too; it feels like we've known each other for forever," she said.
"There were moments I'd be sitting there and have some dialogue that didn't sound the way my character would probably say it, so I'd read my line out to Bonnie and she just gave me so much time and helped me rephrase it or add more to it."
Sveen says Mauboy brought a refreshing energy to the set.
"I would call her an impulsive, intuitive, open actress who is very emotionally accessible because of the heart she puts into her music," she said.
Layla is the keyboard player in Billie's boyfriend's pub band and dreams of finding success with her best friend.
"They might as well be sisters. When you grow up in a small, regional area the bonds you forge can be very true, long-term ones," she said.
"My character's major concern is getting everything out of the way so they can be successful. It's been enjoyable to play someone who always feels like the glass is half full and every opportunity is a good one. She has faith that everything will work out."
The Secret Daughter premieres tonight at 8.40pm on Channel 7.