STING OF THE SONGSTER. Katharine McPhee charmed the world with her voice, and today she works her magic as an accomplished actress
Dress by Cristiano Burani
Music has always been part of Katharine McPhee’s life, but her path to stardom started only in 2006, when she tried out
for the fifth season of “American Idol.” She breezed through the early auditions, survived Hollywood week, had an incredible run (dubbed the “McPheever” by her fans) during the semifinals and eventually finished as the runner-up. Recording deals followed soon after and, eventually, so did TV and movie projects. She made brief appearances in shows like “Ugly Betty” and “CSI: New York,” got her first taste of handling a leading role in the musical “Smash” and is now part of the main cast for the action-drama series “Scorpion”—the second season of which started airing only three days after the launch of her fourth album, “Hysteria.” It would seem that the McPheever hasn’t run out yet.
DA MAN: Hi, Katharine. First of all, we’re only several episodes away from the season finale of “Scorpion.” What can viewers expect as the second season comes to a close?
Katharine McPhee: “Scorpion” viewers can expect a fun-filled, action-packed finale. I have no information about future storylines but i have a feeling that there will be several different romantic storylines.
DA MAN: One of the most interesting premises of the show is how your character, Paige Dineen, is set up as the link between all the socially awkward geniuses on the Scorpion team and normal people. What is it like being the “token normal person” in a show about techies?
Katharine McPhee: It’s certainly an appropriate character for me to play. I really don’t like tech that much and I don’t know much about it, so it feels well suited to be playing Paige. I feel bad for my costars having to learn all of the technical jargon.
DA MAN: On the flip side, how do the cast get along in real life?
Katharine McPhee: We all get along great. We are very lucky to have such a fun, outgoing group that keeps long days on set interesting.
DA MAN: Looking back, one of your most memorable breakout roles is in the hit musical series “Smash.” What is your fondest memory of being on the show?
Katharine McPhee: I’m pretty fond of all of my memories on that show. I get pretty nostalgic when I think about my experience on the show. Every day was different on the show: different costumes, dance routines, songs, actors. I also really loved living in New York! “Smash” was such an exciting show to be a part of because it was something different and fun. I also loved the big production days with all of the dancers, costumes and lights. It was like being on Broadway.
Outfit by L’Agent by Agent Provocateur
DA M AN: Of course, most people still know you first and foremost from the fifth season of “American Idol.” One decade, four albums and nine singles later, what is it that you remember the most from your days on “Idol”?
Katharine McPhee: We were so busy doing interviews, fittings, rehearsals and song selections that it was like living in a bubble. It was a true crash course on what your life can become when you start working in this industry. The pace of “Idol” was not much different from the pace and demands of being on “Smash.” It’s a great learning platform. I look back and realize how little I knew.
DA MAN: Season 15, which is currently airing, will be the final season of “American Idol.” How does that make you feel?
Katharine McPhee: When my season was over all those years ago, I was sad to say goodbye to all the people I’d spent four to five months with. The show has had an incredible run and done incredible things for people, but everything has a beginning and an end.
Jumpsuit by A.Moss
DA MAN: By the way, several years ago you made a new version of your song “Terrified” where you dueted with Zachary Levi. What was the story behind this collaboration?
Katharine McPhee: My collaboration with Zack Levi was because of a mutual friend who was directing a lot of behind-the-scenes videos for me. I was a fan of his work and was so excited to collaborate with him.
DA MAN: Do you think you’ll be doing more collaborations in the years to come?
Katharine McPhee: I’m always open to collaborations. Hopefully, different projects in the future will open themselves up to me.
DA MAN: Outside of singing, acting and giving back through charity, what else are you passionate about right now?
Katharine McPhee: I’m a bit of a foodie, so I love trying new restaurants around the city I live in. I love to see films and I’m a bit of a homebody. I love having friends over and entertaining.
DA MAN: If you could give one piece of advice to all the aspiring musicians, singers and actors out there who look up to you, what would it be?
Katharine McPhee: My advice would be persistence. Find people who believe in you and who will help you stay strong, and remind you to believe in yourself when you are feeling down. It’s a hard business. You have to love every part of it.
To see more images from this shoot, get your copy of DA MAN February/March 2016 here.
Photography Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling Alexa Rangroummith Green
Makeup Jeffrey Baum at Jed root using Laura Mercier
Hairdo Derek Williams at the Wall group using Oribe
Styling assistants Kirsti Schroder and Jennifer Wang
Casting Jonathan Clay Harris (jonathanclayharris.com)