The parallel between Tracee Ellis Ross and her music icon mother Diana Ross will be on full display in the upcoming film The High Note, in which the younger Ross plays singer Grace Davis, a superstar who, along with her assistant, set out to record one last album. During an interview with PEOPLE, Tracee recalled the story of when her mother heard her sing for the first time, which was only earlier this year for the movie.
“There’s a reason I waited 47 years to let my voice out publicly!” she told the publication. “It was my childhood dream to sing — but terrifying when your mother is who my mother is. The idea of comparison; that’s in a child’s mind or an adult’s mind. I could be taken down and obliterated.”
Tracee reveals she drove over to Diana’s house, sat with her in her car in the driveway and played the song “Love Myself.”
“It felt like bringing her my heart,” Tracee recalled before her mom asked her to replay the song. “And then my mother said, ‘Finally. Finally,'” she said. “I have wanted to sing for so long. My mom teared up and we just kept looking at each other. We were both so excited. My mom has always known I could sing. There have been gentle nudges over the years, so this was a big moment.”
During her time in quarantine during the coronavirus outbreak, Tracee Ellis Ross has been reflecting on how “fortunate” she is for having the opportunity to act in it.
“Singing was terrifying and invigorating and the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on,” she says. “You tell yourself you want to do something and then you dive in and are, like, ‘What the hell have I done!!?’ This movie was just the perfect thing to allow me to face the fear of singing. And to realize that me singing has nothing to do with my mom. It’s my voice. This was me telling my own truth.”
Could there be a mother-daughter singing duet in the future? The Black-ish star says she certainly hopes so. “Wouldn’t that be fun? It would also be fun to do a duet with my brother Evan Ross, my sister Rhonda Ross, and my step-sister Leona Naess. They are all singers too. For God’s sake, while we are at it, I could also do a duet with Rihanna, John Legend, Childish Gambino… Shall I go on? Looks like I want a future in this singing thing.”
Also starring Dakota Johnson, Ice Cube, Zoë Chao and Kelvin Harrison Jr., The High Note will be available on-demand May 29.