Kelvin Harrison Jr. reveals his musical background helped with 'The High Note' role (exclusive)

Tom Beasley
Contributor

Kelvin Harrison Jr. says his musical background helped him get into character for The High Note, but admitted he was still “terrified” to get into the studio.

The 25-year-old Waves star has music in his blood, with his father a saxophonist and his mother a jazz singer.

He told Yahoo Movies UK that growing up in this environment helped his performance as budding singer-songwriter David in the music industry comedy.

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“It definitely fuelled the psyche behind how I approached David,” said Harrison Jr.

“I immediately understood where his head was at and why he was fearful of maybe branching out, and how that can manifest itself through a dude who's trying to cover it up with things — material things specifically.”

Kelvin Harrison Jr. in 'The High Note'. (Credit: Universal/Focus Features)

David’s talent is nurtured by Dakota Johnson’s Maggie, who works as personal assistant to music icon Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) but harbours dreams of becoming a producer.

Harrison Jr. said: “I understood that moment of your life, but also what happens when you meet someone who can kind of break through that facade and get you to the other side to really let you jump off with them and see what happens, take that risk.”

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The star said he was “terrified” by the prospect of recording music for the movie, having previously taken on serious, dramatic roles in films like Luce and It Comes at Night.

“I was like: ‘I don't know if I should do this. I might be terrible. There are so many better singers out there. Why would I do this?’

“But I think it was good for me and I grew a lot from it.”

Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Dakota Johnson in 'The High Note'. (Credit: Universal/Focus Features)

The actor said it was a “big moment” to be in the studio with legendary producer Darkchild, who has collaborated with the likes of Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

He added: “I was in his studio and he has produced some of the best songs and albums that I could ever think of. It was almost too much.

“I was like ‘I can't breathe’ and I just really wanted to do my best and make him proud.

“There's that little kid inside you that's like ‘keep going, keep going’ and adult me is just like ‘shut up’.”

Tracee Ellis Ross as singer Grace Davis in 'The High Note'. (Credit: Universal/Focus Features)

The High Note follows the fortunes of Ross’ singer as she grapples with her future career path, as well as Johnson’s journey from assistant to producer.

Ice Cube, Bill Pullman and Eddie Izzard are also part of the cast, with Late Night director Nisha Ganatra behind the camera.

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The film is set to debut for digital download in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but Harrison Jr. is hopeful it will still find its audience.

He said: “You will always remember quarantine, and hopefully you will remember this movie as part of your memories in quarantine. That’s kind of special to me.”

The High Note is available to rent at home from 29 May on Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video and other digital retailers.