Riley Keough Knows You Don’t Believe Her, But She Really Didn’t Sing Before ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’

It’s still unbelievable to think that Riley Keough didn’t have any real singing experience before starring in Amazon Prime Video’s “Daisy Jones & the Six.” Actually, most of the cast didn’t — which makes the tremendous sound of the band all the more impressive. “Daisy Jones & the Six” did what few other shows have done (perhaps “The Monkees” being the other most notable): turned a group of actors playing characters in a band… into an actual band.

But back to Keough for a second. Yeah, every story about her and “Daisy Jones” says the same thing: What? She hadn’t sang before? But she’s ROCK ROYALTY. (Granddaughter of Elvis Presley, c’mon, you know the drill by now.) Some might argue it’s in the genes, but that’s just a fraction of it. Don’t sell Keough short. It was hard work and talent. And a lot more hard work. Keough and the “Daisy Jones & the Six” cast also had a bit of weird timing on their side too, as COVID-related production delays forced them to keep practicing. And after all that rehearsal time, they got good. Real good.

On this episode of Variety’s award-winning Awards Circuit Podcast, Keough talks about the journey to making “Daisy Jones & the Six” and its lasting impact on her. But first, on the Roundtable, we get a Cannes recap, plus we talk “Succession” finale and a whole lot more. Listen below:

“I’m really touched when people say that, because I don’t hear myself that way.,” Keough says of the inevitable surprise from fans when they discover she doesn’t regularly sing. “And I I’m just so grateful that I slid on through feeling like a professional singer somehow. I mean, we had so much time rehearsing and we had a huge team of people who were helping us through… we had so much time together, and so much rehearsal time, that’s not typical. That really was extremely effective. And was the only way we were able to feel, in my opinion, like we knew what we were doing. Because some of us, especially Sam and myself, if you’d put us up on a stage, like two weeks after we were cast, it would have been very different than what you see in the show. And very embarrassing.”

“Daisy Jones & the Six,” the TV adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel of the same name, hit Amazon Prime Video back in march. The series, about the epic rise and fall of an iconic 1970s rock band, isn’t quite about Fleetwood Mac, but the similarities are there.

In the limited series , Keough stars as the singer and songwriter Daisy Jones, who teams up with the band the Six. There’s soon an intense rivalry between Daisy and the band’s lead singer, Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin). This volatility ultimately leads to a quick collapse for the band.

As our conversation begins with Keough, we pull out a copy of “Aurora,” the release from Daisy Jones & the Six, on vinyl.

“I feel like I’ve been listening to these songs for three years straight,” Keough said. “And over and over again. I’ve never listened to songs more. I mean, the songs are so incredible.”

When did Keough realize she wanted to be an actor? “Growing up, it was very rare that I wasn’t pretending to be somebody else,” she says. “Whether I was just in my house or, or playing in the backyard,. Like a princess in my castle, or, I was often prisoners I really liked that narrative for some reason. Being trapped. I’m, like, just sitting here thinking What was that about? Or a single mother, or just anything I could think of. I just wanted to be other people. And so I think that was very apparent in hindsight. And also, I remember, as a kid, I would, when I would cry, I would look at myself in the mirror and watch myself cry. And as an adult, I think that is like, a behavior of an actor child. I don’t know what that is, either. Human emotion, like watching it sort of happen in real time or something. I don’t know.”

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Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.

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