11-year-old Brooklyn native Alyssa Cheatham has a powerful voice. That voice, on full display in her two singles ‘The Weekend’ and ‘Like it Here,’ has also brought life to a handful of animated characters – most recently, the supporting role of Lorelai in the new animated Nickelodeon series, Santiago of the Seas.
Cheatham, who grew up in the Flatlands area, made her screen debut in the 2014 film Every Secret Thing. Since then she’s played dozens of characters in film and on TV, co-starring with everyone from Will Smith to Dakota Fanning, travelling around the country for roles. And yet, she’s still managed to stay loyal to her hometown.
“I love Brooklyn so much,” Cheatham told Bklyner over the phone. “There’s so [many] paintings and murals and diversity, which is very important. And there’s amazing food. I would never leave Brooklyn, because it’s just where I’m born – it’s who I am!”
The opportunity to work on Santiago of the Seas, an interactive action-adventure series airing on October 9th, is a dream for her, she said.
“She is able to transform from a mermaid into a pirate girl with the help of her magical bracelet,” said Cheatham. “I have magical powers, and you know, I’m rockin’ it, girl!”
The character isn’t just magical; she also happens to be multilingual, which factors into the show’s Spanish language and Latino-Caribbean culture curriculum.
“Lorelai, she speaks like every single language!” said Cheatham, who was coached in both Spanish and Portuguese for her work on the show. The chance to speak different languages for a role was one of her favorite parts.
“I thought that was so cool – I don’t know how to speak any languages.”
Voice acting presents a unique challenge, even without having to speak a new language, Cheatham explained.
“People can’t really see your face, so you have to try to find a way to play with your voice to animate and bring the character to life,” she said. “You have to play with your voice and stuff. It’s a bit challenging. But it’s also very fun, because I get to learn new things, and I get to learn how to improve my voice, and be animated.”
The character also has a vast knowledge of the ocean, and uses a magical pearl bracelet to transform into a human girl so she can go on pirate adventures throughout the Caribbean with main character Santiago and his cousin, Tomas. Her fearlessness, Cheatham hopes, will send a valuable message to kids watching the show.
“I would love for young kids to know that they can do anything that they put their mind to, and don’t be afraid to take risks, and help your friends out, you know?” she said.
Check out Cheatham’s website for more information, and for links to her music videos.