Friday, February 26, 2010

Interview (Being Erica): Sebastian Pigott: From Canadian Idol Finalist to Being Erica Star

Sebastian Pigott, who plays Kai Booker on SOAPnet’s “Being Erica,” is not a household name in the U.S. like he is in his native Canada — yet. Sebastian, who made it to the finals of “Canadian Idol” in 2008, is a singer, songwriter and actor who is well on his way to capturing the hearts of American viewers. This week especially is an important week for his alter ego, Kai, as we learn more about his past when Erica travels into the future (at a time that is actually Kai’s past — confusing on paper, but it all makes sense on the screen).

But let’s back up a few years to “Canadian Idol.” Sebastian describes the experience as “really surreal, and an intense kind of experience — a real baptism by fire. It was a crash course; you can’t buy that kind of experience. It actually took me a while to recover from.”

He is grateful for everything the show gave him and taught him. “A great thing about ‘Canadian Idol’ is it really made me get my ass in gear and take (singing and songwriting) seriously and really work at it. If you want to do something well as a professional, you have to have discipline and work hard.

“I was acting in earnest for a good three or four years before I did ‘Canadian Idol.’
That’s another thing you have to give credit to the show for, because since then, I’ve been working solidly.”

Sebastian got his musical start pretty early in life. He explains: “My mother is kind of a Bohemian. My father passed away when I was 7, so she decided to up and move us to Portugal. We lived there for about five years, and that’s where my brother and I started playing. That’s when we got our first guitars and keyboard.

“I remember I was 8 years old, and by the time I was 10, we got gigs playing up and down the tourist spots along the coast — these two little Canadian boys. As an artist, it helps to have unique things like this in your past, it helps to give you a different perspective.”

Playing a tortured artist like Kai has also given Sebastian a different perspective. Kai has returned to his past, which is Erica’s present day, to try to fix a huge regret. “He is really messed up. I get the impression he is really decent dude, and he’s got a lot going on, but he is just really messed up. He is going through something that others can only imagine.

“It must be an insane experience. He’s reunited with his friend (who is Kai’s present day has committed suicide). To me, Kai’s whole story line is a love story, the love he has for his friend. Even just to fantasized about what it must be like to be reunited with someone you had lost, I just think his head is spinning. He is in a freefall and he is just grabbing for branches.”

As Erica had to do at the end of the first season, Kai is wrestling with the fact that he can’t change the past. It’s difficult, as Sebastian explains, because “he’s there with his best friend again, he’s alive, and he doesn’t care about the rules or what’s right and wrong. He wants to do it his way.”

This season marks a “first” for Erica, because she finally gets to meet someone who is experiencing the same kind of unique therapy that she is going through. “Erica has become a part of Kai’s therapy. She is certainly helping him through it. Kai’s effect on her life is a little less intangible; he shows her that there is other stuff out there. She sees a kindred spirit in Kai, and she digs it.”

Don’t forget to watch “Being Erica” on SOAPnet every Wednesday night at 10 p.m., and see if you dig it too.