Quanie Thornton is an actor from Trenton, NJ, who now lives in Los Angeles. In New Jersey he sang locally in clubs, talent shows, restaurants, and was briefly in a group called "Legacy" as the lead singer. After losing from an exclusive talent show, he met a club promoter and comedian who gave him the opportunity to open up for him. Shortly after, he got casted in MTV’s "Copycat", a show where people who sound like their favorite artist compete against each other. That opportunity lead him to move to Los Angeles where he is now working on his craft, taking acting classes and working on new music.
R: When did you discover your drive to be an artist?
Q: As a kid living in the projects I’ve always had a sense of wanting more for my life and as I got older that feeling intensified. I don’t know where the drive came from but I’ve always had it.
R: What inspired you to be an actor and who do you look up to the most today?
Q: What inspired me was being able to turn on the television and see myself being represented. Representation and positive images are more powerful than we know. Growing up I lived in a time where black families and black people were being portrayed beautifully on screen. Still to this day I haven’t seen a character on television as relatable as Will Smith on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was fly, smart, funny, and I truly related to the episode where they touched on Will's father not being present in his life. Many actors inspire me including Jake Gyllenhaal, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and all of the new generation of actors coming up. I have such a love and respect for actors.
R: You had a vital role in Big Sean’s music video “Light” featuring Jeremih. What was it like working with Big Sean?
Q: Working with Big Sean was great. He was very, very, chill on set. I have so many memories of that day that I’ll never forget. I remember when we had broke for lunch on set, he got in line with all of the actors and extras to get a plate to eat. Very mellow guy.
R: The music video had such a powerful message. What was your preparation process like and was there any part of the story that you could relate to?
Q: I could definitely relate. I thought about Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and every other victim of police brutality. As a black man I feel like there is an invisible and not so invisible target on my back simply because of my race. In relations to getting prepared for the video, I auditioned for “Light” on a Saturday and got a call the next day from the casting director saying I booked the job and told me the shoot would be on Wednesday. I literally didn’t get a call sheet until the night before so I was little in the dark about everything until I got to set, but the director, Lawrence Lamont, explained everything to me in the audition and I just applied all of it. That was an amazing experience.
R: You’re also an incredible singer, who are a few of your influences?
Q: I love many singers and I gravitate to singers with voices similar to mine such as Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, and PJ Morton. But there is only one person who’s life, music and career who keeps me going and that is Brandy. I’ve never heard a voice like hers in my life. I love her spirit and she reminds me of my childhood a lot. I could go on for days but to keep it brief she’s the best in my eyes. She gave me a dream.
R: Was there ever a point you considered taking a safe route instead of following your dreams?
Q: Yes of course. I’ve quit many times but I’ve never given up! There’s a difference. I get weary, discouraged and I feel every negative emotion you can possibly feel but this game is about stamina! Who can last the longest through all of the self doubt, the misdirects, etc. There’s so many talented and beautiful people that exist with the same dreams as me but what’s going to separate me from the rest is that I’m not going to give up.
R: If you could have one song to play every time you walked into a room, what would it be?
Q: "Crew" by GoldLink
R: What’s the last TV show you watched?
R: What’s your favorite 90’s jam?
Q: Too many to pick but I loved anything Brandy, Monica, Aaliyah, NEXT, Dru Hill, Lauryn Hill, and Mya growing up.
R: Do you have any hobbies outside of acting and singing?
Q: I am currently looking for a hobby. Sometimes I feel like I don't have time for a hobby but boxing, tennis and SoulCycle are on my bucket list!