It’s no surprise that what happens on-camera during Pitch Perfect 2 is exceedingly musical—after all, the movie does follow the exploits of a college a capella team—but according to Ester Dean, things were never particularly quiet behind the scenes either. And much to her delight, what was often playing was her very own music.
“Even before I met Brittany Snow, her favorite song was my ‘Drop It Low,’” says the 29-year-old singer, songwriter and actress who recently released her new EP Miss Ester Dean. “So we would play it and she would dance because she loved that song that much. We’re musical girls anyway, so we’re always dancing and having fun.”
It doesn’t sound so different from Dean herself who, when she’s not acting, recently went on a European tour with Nicki Minaj and who spouts off an impressive list of things to do when questioned about her next project. “More auditions,” she says, “more movies, more music, more writing for everybody!”
And while Dean enthusiastically proclaims herself an audiobook junkie—“I have a lot of Tony Robbins”—she also says she’s dying to collaborate on musical projects with the likes of Taylor Swift and super-producer Max Martin. And, of course, another installment in the Pitch Perfect franchise wouldn’t be unwelcome at all. In fact, Dean says, the second film in the series has her even more excited than the original.
“We’ve got cooler hair and cooler outfits and cooler dances,” she says. “We really got in there and did more moves and more stunts; it felt like I was in an action movie. Fans are really going to love it.”
Speaking of love, Dean’s adamant that she can’t live without music. Here, she shares some of her current favorites for a playlist that’s dedicated to staying optimistic. “I really want to wake up and feel good,” she says. “I want something getting me through the day. There are a lot of things that can come your way to make you sad, but I try not to listen to music that makes me feel that way.”