Landry Fields is not your average NBA hooper. The dude owns a Stanford Degree, once sold his own jersey in disguise and hosted Jeremy Lin on his couch while NYC erupted into “Linsanity”. While he now resides north of the border, the 6-foot-7 shooting guard has recently added to the resume: musical entertainer.
On May 31, a Saturday, at 8 p.m. ET, Landry Fields will start a new journey on ABC’s “Sing Your Face Off.” The Stanford grad is now part of a new roster that includes himself, comedian Jon Lovitz, Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach, soap opera star Lisa Rinna and talented Disney personality China Anne McClain.
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We caught up with Landry to talk about his new career in television, Drake and his time in Toronto.
Dime: Landry, as a communications major at Stanford — did you ever think you would be on prime time television “singing your face off?”
Landry Fields: Ehh, no. Absolutely not (laughs). I had absolutely no clue that I would ever do anything like this.
Dime: How were you approached about the show and were you surprised when they targeted you to become part of the cast?
LF: My agency hit me up and I think the producers of the show were talking to (my agent) about me possibly being on the show and apparently they found out that I was capable of doing something like this from my Knicks days where a YouTube clip went viral of me singing a little bit. It kind of pushed it in that direction. Then I did a small Skype interview and boom — all of a sudden they told me that I was on the show. That’s kind of how it came to be.
Check out this exclusive video of Landry performing as Lionel Richie on the show:
Dime: How does the “Sing Your Face Off” work and how are each of the performances judged?
LF: Each episode, you dress up as a different “legendary” music icon and then basically you have the full blown makeup, prosthetics, hair, choreography, voice lessons, whole production on stage, background dancers, background singers. Then you perform one the icons songs and you’re judged based on obviously how well you did in the performance (and) how you were able to encompass each artist. And there’s three judges. Two of the judges are there the entire show and then there’s always one guest judge each week- so that’s basically the premise of it. I like to describe it as karaoke on steroids. That’s kind of the basics of it all but I mean, it’s full blown- it’s huge.
Dime: I caught the sneak peak of you doing your best Lionel Richie impression. I even saw you dressed up as Pitbull and Enrique Eglesias. If you could choose one person to imitate on stage, who would it be and why?
LF: Aw man. One!? If I could do it, and I can’t- it’d be more of a fantasy dream type thing, it’d be like Michael Jackson. If I could like borrow his moves for one day and his voice and just give the performance of a lifetime- i’d do that. And the older Michael Jackson. Not the younger Jackson 5 Michael Jackson.
Dime: Have you noticed any parallels between playing on basketball’s biggest stage to being on the big stage with “Sing Your Face Off?”
LF: I thought that there’d be more of a parallel but it’s completely two different worlds. Being on the court and playing is one thing in front of 19,000 fans but being in a studio on stage in front of a few hundred people that are live in studio is so much more nerve-racking than being in a big arena full of people. It’s probably because I’ve never done it before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. But then singing in front of all of these people and trying to kind of lose yourself in the acting part of it- it’s tough. The preparation for it all is that much tougher so I left the show with a much higher respect for artists and what they do when they go on tour and they have to prepare different songs in the studio. It’s really hard (laughs) but I still think nerves wise, it was much higher for me than basketball. You never know- I’ve been playing basketball my whole life.
Dime: What has been your favorite moment so far in working with the star-studded cast of Sebastian Bach, Jon Lovitz, China Anne McClain, Lisa Rinna?
LF: I think with each individual person, they bring a completely different dynamic to every day when we were working. I mean Sebastian and Jon Lovitz are absolutely hysterical. I didn’t know Sebastian was that funny. I always knew Jon Lovitz kind of was with his movies. But just being around them was great and then (Disney Star) China Anne McClain – she’s an incredible talent. I mean acting, singing- she’s awesome. And (soap opera actress) Lisa was also amazing. That was actually my first time really knowing who she was. I don’t watch any daytime soaps (laughs) so I was like, “Oh okay- that’s who you are”. She was also very nice and a consummate professional.
Dime: You said that you think this show will make other NBA players “see you in a different light.” How do your teammates in Toronto feel about your new hobby?
LF: I mean (laughs), I’ve told people about it. I’m like (this is before the air date), “Yeah, it’s going to come at some point”. I was kind of bracing myself. I mean, unless I’m on your team, you don’t really know the goofy side of me or the side of me that is able to get out of the “NBA stereotypical role”. I enjoy doing stuff that’s not of the norm, so I think that’s the kind of light the entire NBA will see, but not to the guys that I’m closest with or that I’ve been teammates with before. They’ve already seen that side of me before so I feel that they’ll look at me like, “Ehh, it doesn’t surprise me that he did it.”
Dime: Speaking of the Raptors — you guys had some great fan support during the playoffs, including from Toronto’s own Drake. Any idea on what his take might be on your future in the music industry?
LF: Ehhh (laughs), I don’t know. He’s the best of the best so if he said anything nice about it I’d say, “that’s awesome because you’re awesome”. Just having him around all year it was just kind of great to have a super fan like that and have the ability to see who he is as opposed to what we all see — whatever’s viral or in music videos. It was cool to get to know him a little bit.
Dime: We all know that during March Madness Drake is a big Kentucky supporter but what was it like to see your alma mater make their own run to the Sweet 16 for the first time since you played for the Cardinals?
LF: It was huge. I became a super fan. Just to see Johnny Dawkins be able to finally break into the tournament and not only that but the Sweet 16- it was awesome. I love Johnny and he’s a major part of the success that I’ve had now on being able to become an NBA player. Just learning from him and just speaking with him and his knowledge of the game is unlike anyone that I’ve ever been around. I was extremely happy for him and also- some of the guys that were on the team, I had the chance to host when I was at Stanford as a senior. At the time they were incoming Freshman and I wasn’t able to play with them but just to see those guys and the kind of characters they had and how hardworking they are- it was great to see them make that big run.
Dime: On the NBA front, you’ve unfortunately dealt with some nagging injuries since you arrived to Toronto. What are your plans for this summer to make sure you can have a big impact next season?
LF: This time is big time for Physical Therapy for my hand and arm. I was able to see another doctor and get more specific with my rehab process so I’m hoping that this will be the finale of this whole ordeal. But if not, I’m always willing to work no matter what it takes and I’m going to be in it until it ends. So right now, that’s kind of the focus and just kind of bringing back my game to where I know exactly where it can be pre-injury status.
Dime: You guys became one of the more exciting teams in the league this year between your youth, athleticism and fan base. How does this Toronto team differ from the Knicks team you played on a few years ago?
LF: The biggest thing with this team to me, was the chemistry and the guys that were on the team. I’ve never been around any team, not just NBA, where it was a collective group that was willing to work hard to sacrifice whatever role was given to them. People that we’re at the end of the bench to the starting five no matter what, they were going to do what was necessary for the team to be successful. On top of that, like I was saying with the chemistry — everybody liked each other. I mean, I loved everybody in the room. Sometimes you get around guys and they have different personalities and you might not mesh with them as well but this was a very special, core group of guys and I think that spoke volumes of the kind of success that we had. It wasn’t necessarily that we were the most talented in the league, even though we had phenomenal players, all-stars, whatever. It was kind of the intangibles and the extra stuff which I think was a huge part of our success.
Dime: If you had to pick one of your teammates to join you on “Sing Your Face Off” for a dual performance- who would it be and why?
LF: (laughs) Uhhh..Who would I pick? It’s a toss up between Julyan Stone, Dwight Buycks, and I think Steve Novak because I think those three guys are the most able to get outside themselves and do something like this. Everybody else- I don’t know yet (whether they could do this), but those three guys I think would have the best shot.
Dime: Should we expect any other TV show appearances from you in the future?
LF: Not right now. I got nothing for you except for this “Sing Your Face Off”. That’s all I got.
Dime: Lastly, when is the album dropping?
LF: (laughs) The moment I sign to OVO and do a feature with Drake- that’s when the official album will drop. As long as he’s supporting it then I know it’ll do well.
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