EXCLUSIVE: Asia Monet Ray on Being a Quadruple Threat & Performing Alongside Mariah Carey

Araya Diaz

Asia Monet Ray is a singer, dancer, actress and digital influencer – and yet, at only 11 years old, she still manages to juggle it all. You may recognize the young star from her docu-series, Raising Asia!, or perhaps her role in Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, Grey's Anatomy,or American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, but you've surely never gotten to know Monet like this before.

Ahead, read about her goals, working with Mariah Carey and more. 

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You’ve had a busy week! Tell us what you’ve been up to.

Well, I just came back from San Francisco because I was doing this appearance with one of my really good friends – for panels, for girls and for empowering. It's called Girls for Tech.

Cool! What were some of the topics that you discussed?

Well, we were talking about mostly social media and how like not to really worry about the hate comments, and how to build your Instagram and how to, just kind of how to post things, and how like you arrange them, and what you should post and everything. It was really fun. There were a lot of kids there that don't have the time to sit on Instagram all the time. So it was really fun to help them and teach them how we fit it in to our schedule.

Since we’re on the topic of social media, how do you deal with any hate?

When it comes to the mean comments, or the hate comments or anything, I just don't really worry about them because I’m not going to remember them. I just tell my mom and she just deletes them. Most of my following is very positive, and I try to keep it positive, and I take suggestions on what to post next or what to do next or what they want to see more and like when people just have negative comments or like bully comments and everything, I just don't even worry about them because most of the following is positive. So that little 5 percent of people that are just trying to be negative for no reason – it’s like, why?

Absolutely. Changing subjects a bit, tell us about your latest venture in music.

I’ve been really growing as an artist since when I started singing at around 7 or 8 years old. I have grown drastically from then – I sound totally different. My voice has grown a ton. I’m so happy. Since I’ve been singing more, my voice has been more raspy and deeper, which is funny because when I was little I thought I sounded like a little chipmunk! So now I’m really happy that I’ve been really growing in the studio. I’ve been working on a ton of music and coming out with a lot of covers and stuff on my Instagram. I’ve been doing music posts, and I just have been working really hard on my music and hopefully by like the end of this year I’ll have a couple songs coming out. We’ve been working really hard on writing, and I’ve been in the studio a ton listening to tracks and everything. So I mean I’m just working really hard on my music and getting it in while I can. Because I’m so busy, I always try to fit in everything so I’m glad I’ve been getting a ton in.

Was singing something that you were always interested in since you were little?

Yes, totally. When I was little, I used to watch Hannah Montana, which was probably the show that made me want to sing. I wanted to sing so badly after I watched that show! And “The Cheetah Girls”. I would sing all these songs in the car and probably annoy the heck out of my mom, but once I turned around 7 or 8 I really just wanted to get serious about singing and not just sing in the back seat with some headphones on. I actually wanted to be in the studio with some headphones on recording music for other people to listen to. And then I met my amazing vocal coach, Kelly, from New York. She has really helped me a lot she’s an incredible singer and coach.

That’s amazing. And you recently performed alongside Mariah Carey, yes?

Yes, I had the honor of singing with Mariah Carey, and dancing with Mariah Carey, in her “All I Want for Christmas is You” show at the Beacon Theater in New York. New York is one of my favorite places, so it was incredible working with an amazing singer and a legend for ten shows and also being in my favorite place ever: New York. So I was so happy that I got to see New York for a month and also work with Mariah and all the other dancers. They hired an amazing choreographer, Anthony Burrell, who was the creative director of the whole show and the choreographer for most of it. He didn’t choreograph all of it, but his positions were incredible. I just had so much fun, and it was an incredible experience. And now saying, ‘Yeah, I sang and danced with Mariah Carey’ is not something many people my age can say that they did that.

Is she someone that you look up to a lot in the industry?

Yes, she’s an incredible singer. I’ve always loved her music and everything. Since I was little, I would always be in the car with my dad and we would play the song “Obsessed” – that’s my favorite song from her besides “Hero” and all her amazing other classics. Great songs that she’s made and just meeting her and getting to hang around her when we were singing. She’s so nice and genuine and always said good luck before we went on stage and always gave good vibes around before we went on stage, so it was so much fun.

Tell us what’s been new in your acting career.

A couple months ago (actually this year), I won the Young Artist Award for Best Recurring Young Actress in a TV series for Grey’s Anatomy. I was so happy that I got that award because I was not expecting it whatsoever. Grey’s was the highest rated show that was on last season, like practically ever, which was absolutely crazy. I had to cry on a dime, which I did have to learn, but I had so many amazing cast members to tell me how to do it and how to work around the situation and everything. I’m just so happy that I got to work with such amazing directors, producers and the cast and then end up winning this award. Then, for American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, I was so excited to be a part of that, even though I wasn't in a ton because the kids weren’t in a ton of the court drama. I was so glad that I will now be recognized as an actress in the two shows that I did.

These two roles, in particular, are pretty heavy roles/topics. Is it hard to channel that energy when acting?

Well, actually something really funny is that what we’ve learned from my experience with acting and taking auditions and stuff is that I actually book more TV dramas than comedy or anything funny. I don't know why, I’m just a bubbly person, which I am so shocked that I wouldn't get a funny role or something like Nickelodeon or Disney, but then I got OJ and Greys!

You’re also involved in the world of fashion, which makes you a quadruple threat. Is there one thing, in particular, that you’re most attracted to?

I’ve been asked the question a ton in multiple different ways, but I feel like I shouldn't just pick one because I’ve been doing all three for a long time, since I was really young. I know that it’s possible to do all four, then I know that I can keep doing them. So I wouldn't pick one over another if I know that I can do all four. It may take a while, but if you put your mind to something, it’s definitely going to happen.

With that said, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the things on your plate?

Oh, no! I love doing all four. I love going everywhere and I love traveling. I don't feel like it’s overwhelming or anything. If my supportive fans love me doing everything, then I’m going to keep doing everything to make them happy.

Do you still find time to be an 11-year-old girl?

Well, I think I’m very mature for my age. I’m such an old soul – I’m like an old person in a little body. But I do make time. I love all my friends, so I always make time to hang out with them. I still go to Disney Land. I always make mistakes in everyday life. I’m so clumsy. I mean, I still consider myself an 11-year-old, but honestly I think I’m pretty mature for my age.

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Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?

Well, hopefully I would be a Zendaya or someone similar. Hopefully ill be selling out Staples Centers by then! I’m crossing my fingers for that. I did actually perform at the Staples Center for the Clippers game. I sang the National Anthem. So hopefully I will have my own show, where I’m performing, and hopefully it will be sold out, because I’m hoping that. I wouldn’t want it not to be sold-out.  Also, hopefully I will be able to travel the world. I made a pact to myself that before I turn 20 I want to literally travel to everywhere in the world. So hopefully I can make that happen.