Anyone who has ever laid eyes on her parents will recognize her because she’s the spitting image of both of them. Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, has been walking red carpets since she was a child and has been acting and (apparently singing) for just as long. When she was really young she played a little sister in the movie Now and Then (1995), which starred her mother, and also had a role in Striptease, a film which Demi notoriously was the star of in 1996. For both roles, she’s credited as Willa Glen (Glenn is her middle name and is spelled with two n’s). As she’s gotten older, Willis has played the quirky girl in a few of her long-term roles. For example, in the 90210 reboot she played Gia, a lesbian newspaper writer who was fun to watch because she didn’t buy into the high school glamour that surrounded her.
I’m not a Dancing with the Stars fan, but in 2015 Willis won the entire show which I do know is a big deal. But the most exciting role I’ve seen her play so far is her current one as troubled singer Tory Ash on the show Empire who the audience, along with main character Jamal, meets in rehab. We quickly find out that she is there battling a drug addiction after disappearing from the public eye following a stripping incident at a Fenway Park gig. With long black hair, a nose ring, and tattoos up and down her arms, she looked like Amy Winehouse even before she opened her mouth in front of a microphone. But then she sang and her voice immediately sounded very familiar:
If I heard that voice without seeing the person behind it I would have thought the person was an Amy Winehouse impersonator or the lead singer of an Amy Winehouse tribute band. Wow. The name of the song is “Crazy Crazy 4 U” and I’ll definitely play it on the radio next week. When Winehouse overdosed in 2011, the music industry lost a true soul singer – and arguably the best one of my generation – but maybe Willis is giving the genre some hope. As the 28-year-old daughter of two of the most recognizable movie stars on the planet, I’m sure she’s seen and done a few things.
So the question is when is Willis going to cut a record? Evidently, I’m not the only one asking. After this week’s episode of Empire, fans were tweeting about her performance because they wanted to know if the actress was really singing and, if so, whether or not she was planning to release an album.
As fun as it is watching Willis play Tory Ash with snap, passion, and a bit of irreverence, I hope the Empire writers avoid leaning too much on the Amy Winehouse comparison and allow her to be her own character. At least they wisely chose not to give her a British accent, beehive hair, or Cleopatra eyeliner. Even though Willis has only appeared in two episodes so far, she has made quite an impression. I hope that she becomes a semi-regular character because her swagger and music prowess bring not only a unique genre to the show, but also someone who is recognized and applauded for being different.