“I’d be like, ‘Miami doesn’t have those trees! Miami would never have that curb!’” she said. “I think I was really annoying at a certain point. Not only do I care as a storyteller about getting it right, I love that city.”
While sipping an almond macadamia latte outside a Downtown Los Angeles coffee shop, Singleton discussed the season’s “all that glitters” allegory. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
If Season 1 was rooted in authentically representing Miami culture, what was the focus this time around?
One of the things for the characters is that the [touring] environment really tests their sense of self — who they are, what they’re willing to do, how far they want to go. You’re close to the thing that you want, you can see it in front of you, but you’re not quite there yet. It’s watching how much they’re willing to compromise for this goal, which I think is relevant for Shawna, Mia and Chastity. But Shawna, especially. We saw her start off as this person who was like, “I don’t even want people to look at me. It’s only about the statement that I’m making, and it’s political and I want to rile people up and get them to pay attention to these issues.” But with the desire to make it, now she’s slowly letting that go and no longer standing up for that.
If you tell someone, “I’m going on tour,” there’s what that looks like on social media — how many likes you can get because people are now all of a sudden paying attention to you — then there’s what that actually looks like. Mia’s stomach is growling. Shawna doesn’t have tampons. That’s what people don’t see. The music industry is at a really interesting place right now because it really does feel like it’s social-media driven, and you gotta fake it ’til you make it.
Did the touring narrative make this season more challenging to shoot?
Season 1 was written before shooting; this time, there was overlap. Everything was happening at once and everything was happening here in Los Angeles. We’re “on the road,” but we recreated Portland and Oakland. I really felt like I was pulled in so many directions — scouting locations, going into the writers’ room to work on Episode 6, then going back on set and shooting Episode 2. After last season I was like, “I got this under my belt, I’m gonna go into Season 2 so much more confident!” But then the universe was like, “OK, you accomplished that level, now do it in L.A., fake Miami, fake all of these different cities, do it all at once and do it in the freezing cold because it’s January.”