If you have never been at a sleepover with a group of girlfriends, jumping up and down on your beds singing along to “Potential Breakup Song,” then you are really missing out. That song was, and continues to be, an anthem for all heartbroken and mistreated girls. Half of the voice behind it is AJ Michalka, who has built an incredible career from her beginnings on Disney. Today, Michalka stars in Schooled, a new show on ABC that is a spinoff of The Goldbergs, while releasing music independently with her sister, Aly. Together, the duo Aly & AJ recently released their single “Church” and will be heading out on tour beginning May 1st.
The spinoff show, Schooled, which you star in premiered this past January. For those who have never seen the show, how would you describe it? How did that show come about?
It’s been a long process. I have been a part of The Goldbergs for the past six years, and I have really gotten to love Lainey and develop her from the ground up. I feel very close to that character. And people have really come to love my relationship with Barry on that show. We kind of ended up closing that chapter, and here we are 10 years later. Lainey is working at her old high school as a music teacher. We are now in the 90s, so I’m able to spin off this character who is now an adult. It had a lot of different lives, it was not going to go, and now they’ve retold it. The network really believed in it and decided that this was something that could be a great comedy to overlay on top of The Goldbergs. It’s kind of the perfect scenario: two back to back comedies that both have similar tones and fanbases.
What was the inspiration behind “Potential Breakup Song”? How did that song come about?
A lot of it is electronic pop, 80s inspired, and less guitar than we have usually done. While we were making it, we were listening to Tame Impala, Beach House, Genesis, and Peter Gabriel’s solo stuff, bands that have inspired us in a really cool way. They are either 80s type bands or have influences from it. We try not to listen to too much when we create because it can infiltrate your sound in a way that you feel less authentic, and you want to be careful about creating your own thing that isn’t taken from anywhere else, as hard as that is. Still, that kind of music was really our biggest influence while making the record.
If you could describe your new album ‘10 Years’ in three words, what would they be?
Nostalgic, uplifting, and electric.
If you could only listen to three records for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Beach House’s Depression Cherry, and Tame Impala’s Currents.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Continue to trust yourself. You are what you are for a reason, and that’s exactly what you’re supposed to be.
STORY ANA SANDOVAL
PHOTOS DERRICK FRESKE
HAIR CLAYTON HAWKINS
MAKEUP MELISSA HERNANDEZ
STYLIST CHRIS HORAN