Auli’i Cravalho’s voice has already been in your home and in your ears. More likely than not, it has already swelled around you in your car and reached out and touched you while you were seated in a cinema.
Yet, you might not be completely familiar with her face.
The singer and actress voiced the title character in Disney’s 2016 smash hit Moana, which included performing arguably one of the best Disney songs of all time, the Grammy winning, Oscar nominated How Far I’ll Go.
At the time of being cast in Moana, Auli’i was in her first year of high school and living in her native Hawaii with her mother. After hearing about the call-out for the newest Disney Princess role, she decided at the very last minute to send through an audition tape to the Disney team and ended up being cast out of hundreds of applicants.
Now, the 17 year old’s face and powerhouse singing voice are set to be all over the small screen with the launch of her new TV series Rise, which will air in Australia exclusively on Stan from March 14.
The show is executive produced by Jason Katims (the man behind Friday Night Lights and Parenthood) and adapted from Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High.
The televised world of Rise takes place behind the walls of a rundown high school located in a smallish Pennsylvania town, a place where businesses are struggling to stay open, spirits are low and the only joy the townspeople find is in the success of the school’s football team.
In Rise, Auli'i plays the quiet and studious Lillette Suarez, a high school student whose home life looks very different to that of the other students she sits beside all day.
Raised by a single mother with a less than stellar reputation about town, Lillette holds down an arduous part-time job in order to help make ends meet while also spending her nights bent over her homework, dreaming of a life studying at a fancy college that is world's away from the deary life she currently has to contend with.
The story-line really kicks off when uninspired and frustrated English teacher Lou Mazzuchelli (played by How I Met Your Mother's Josh Radnor) decides to shake up the high school's musical theatre department by putting on a version of Spring Awakening, a revolutionary rock inspired musical that showcases teenagers coming into their sexuality while also dealing with issues surrounding abortion, rape and first loves.