On a warm winter’s day while dining outside on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, E.G. Daily, the soft-spoken artist with an unmistakable voice, sat down to discuss her journey in the entertainment world. Daily has been a familiar part of pop culture for over three decades. On top of her albums and songs from movies like “The Breakfast Club,” “Better Off Dead” and “Summer School,” she has had a string of projects over the years that has drawn each generation to her for a different reason.
In the ‘80s, films like “Valley Girl,” “Streets of Fire” and “Pee-wee's Big Adventure,” instantly made her a joy to see onscreen. The ‘90s and early 2000s gave fans another side of the artist to love when (among a long list of credits) she became the voice of Tommy Pickles in “Rugrats” and Buttercup in “The Powerpuff Girls.”
Today, whether you know her from “Happy Feet,” Rob Zombie films or her appearance on season 5 of “The Voice,” this triple threat continues to prove that talent and kindness will take you everywhere.
AXS: I want to go back to some of your earlier roles. What were some of the standout memories for you? Is there anything in particular that has a special place in your heart?
E.G. Daily: I think it was with ‘Pee-wee's Big Adventure.’ It was just getting the role, not expecting anything out of it, not expecting it to be an iconic cult hit 35 years later. It was one of those pleasant surprises. I think most of the greatest places or things in my life were. And Tim Burton, it was his first big, world-renowned production. That was a groundbreaking film and it was the beginning of his career. Pee-wee’s career also blew up from this. I feel lucky because I worked with a lot of directors that were just starting to break. I did a movie called ‘Fandango’ when I was really young with director Kevin Reynolds and Kevin Costner was in it. [Reynolds] had already been doing a lot of great work but this was an interesting film, and it was in the beginning of his career. He was just this sweet, down-to-earth guy. It was the same thing with ‘Valley Girl.’ ‘Valley Girl’ just completely blew up. We didn’t expect any of that. It didn’t have a huge budget or anything. I would say most of the things I’ve done that were pleasant surprises were my favorite.
AXS: You have so many different facets. Would you say your first love is music or acting?
ED: I think it was actually dancing. I started pretty young playing music and I was comfortable doing it. I was always doing music and acting. I started doing music young, so it was always running parallel to everything. Even in the ‘80s when I did a bunch of movies, there was always a music project or a band I was playing in on the Sunset Strip. I did a band called Slave, I did a band called Ronnie’s Angels, I was in a band with my brother when I was 15 or 16; playing places like the Troubadour and The Roxy and the Rainbow. The Strip was kind of my backyard.
AXS: Being that you’ve had a longstanding career in music, what was it that made you decide to do ‘The Voice’ in 2013?
ED: You know, I hadn’t been doing a lot of music at that point and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So, I decided to start doing things that I loved again. That was what turned the light on inside of me again. Cindi, the producer from ‘BalconyTV LA,’ had asked me to come on and do a song. After that, she asked me if I’d mind hosting a band for her - like actually hosting. And I was like, that’s kind of a really interesting idea. I really feel so aligned with that, as far as talking to people about music and art and songwriting. One thing led to another and then Cindi had called me one day and said, ‘I hope you’re not mad at me but I got you an audition on ‘The Voice.’’ I was like they’re not going to put me on ‘The Voice.’ I had a record deal back in the ‘80s, but then something inside me told me I had to say yes to this opportunity. She put me in touch with this guy Lee who played piano for me, who’s been my great partner since on music projects, and then the next thing you know I got call back after call back. I really didn’t do it to get on it; I did it to have fun. Surprisingly, I ended up getting on. It was really a monumental moment in my life for me because it was validating a part of me that said you could do anything at any age and you can still fulfill your dreams; you just have to put one foot in front of the other.
AXS: What would you say was one valuable lesson you learned from being on Team Blake?
ED: The thing I liked about Blake was that he was just fun. He was just a goofball. It was interesting to see somebody who knew how to have a good time but also was serious when it came down to the moment. I liked that. I like having a good time, and when you need to show up for the moment you can, but you can also chill out throughout the rest of that.
AXS: How is your voice-over work different from the other aspects of your career? What is it like balancing all forms of creativity like that?
ED: It’s an in between. It doesn’t feel like a separate entity. But it’s a different medium. It was sort of God’s gift to me when I was ready to be a mom. Like, here’s a way you can keep doing your art but you can be with your children every day and never sacrifice any of that. It didn’t matter what I looked like, too. It was just more about my talent, in another form; same tree, just another branch.
AXS: Your kids are musicians also. So, aside from what you’re doing separately, do you have any plans to work with them, create with them?
ED: I’m already working with them. I’m already producing them. We do a lot of songwriting in the house. I did a live show, my daughter Hunter sat up with me. My daughter Tyson records all day, we’re always in the studio cutting backgrounds for her. It’s really cool. We all just do art together.
AXS: Let’s talk about what else you’re doing now.
ED: I was just in Nashville writing, composing and singing on some songs that we’re placing in films. I’ve got a show that I’m in and I’m one of the producers on called ‘Nubbin & Friends.’ It’s an animated show for little kids. That’s with John Amos and some other big celebrities. I’ll be writing for that, too. ‘Curious George,’ the animated series, just got picked up for another season and I do the voice of Steve. I’ve done that for a bunch of seasons now, which is fun. And then I’ve got a couple of indie films. I’m just really looking forward to more acting, more interesting projects that are epic; film work that’s just amazing and moving and powerful. My goal now is to work with really great people, play more songs and make more films. The biggest goal is just to have fun while I’m doing it. I’m also working on a book; it’s sort of my journey. That’s pretty exciting. It’s just all about being a young kid actor and the whole thought processes I had during that time. It talks about my perspective on things and the illusions that people have.
To keep up with E.G. Daily you can follow her on Instagram @realegdaily and check out her website. Fans of E.G.’s also know she’s an avid animal lover and does a lot of fostering throughout the year. You can help support one of her favorite organizations by heading over to Last Chance for Animals.