Emmy Rossum has spent the last decade and a half establishing herself as a dynamite actress with roles on Showtime's Shameless and in films like Mystic River. Now she's taking a moment to revisit her roots with the release of Sentimental Journey, her first album in almost seven years.
Quick refresher: Rossum was asked to join the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus at 7, and spent the next five years singing alongside opera greats like Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. But after aging out of the children's costumes and finding the gender politics of the industry too frustrating, she turned to acting.
That's what makes Sentimental Journey all the most exciting -- this is Emmy's music on Emmy's terms. "I made this album with my own money and partnered with Warners to release it," Rossum tells ETonline. "I called in a bunch of favors and my friends and I made it in three days at The Village Recording Studio [in New Orleans, where she was filming Beautiful Creatures]." Early in the process, Rossum made the entire process easier on herself by deciding the album would contain only cover songs and that it would stick to a unique concept.
"There's 12 months in a year and 12 tracks on the CD, so I had the initial idea to do a calendar themed album," Rossum says. "Each track corresponds to the feeling and the tone and the mood of one month. January's song is Sentimental Journey, because that kind of leads you into the year. April's song is These Foolish Things because I thought of April Fools' Day. I gave myself some restrictions because otherwise it would have been too crazy."
Although "crazy" might be an apt adjective to describe her impending 2013 -- in addition to the January 29 release of Sentimental Journey, the third season of Shameless is currently airing on Showtime and February 14 brings the release of her next feature film, Beautiful Creatures [trailer], for which Rossum embraced a very different look!
"[Ridley Duchannes] is this this overly campy, super sexy, totally evil southern belle," Rossum says of her role, "And I don't often get cast as that. An eye-catching hairstyle (super short, super bright) also helps to reinforce how different a role this is for Rossum. "I dug the hair," she tells me, "but I was glad it was a wig. I feel like Keri Russell just has long hair again now and as a girl with curls, I know how long it takes to grow your hair back out, so it would take a lot for me to cut it in real life." That's why it's good Rossum's most significant role, Fiona Gallagher on Shameless, embraces her au naturel appearance.
"The writers are really on a roll this season," Rossum exudes about the brains behind her hit Showtime series. "This season, you'll really see Fiona making some Frank-like decisions we haven't seen from her before. But, at the same time, we'll see her opening up more to Jimmy/Steve. I still call him Jimmy/Steve," she laughs about Justin Chatwin's confounding character.
And while posters for season three played off the idea of Happy Endings, Rossum isn't too sure Fiona is capable of accepting one ... if it ever came her way. "I think that it goes to the same point of why Fiona isn't happy with Jimmy at the start of season three despite the fact he's doing everything right. There's some kind of comfort in the tumult and while it's not ideal, [she's] used to it. I think everybody deserves a happy ending, but everyone has to define that for themselves. It'll be an interesting journey as we see the trials and tribulations for this family. But I like that, despite all the setbacks, Fiona is determined and won't let this family fail.
Check out ETonline's exclusive sneak peek at Emmy Rossum's I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time music video, off Sentimental Journey, available January 29, click here to pre-order. Shameless airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.