Angelica Hale brings positive spirit to ‘Chuggington’

Rick's Reviews

Angelica Hale is the voice of Tai (left) on “Chuggington.” (Photo courtesy of Disney)

The winner of the latest season of the NBC competition “America’s Got Talent” will be named in the next few weeks and will head off to fame and fortune. But, the performing world does not end for those who don’t take the top prize.

Angelica Hale, the 12th season runner-up to Darci Lynne, has continued to work steadily since appearing on the show. Not only has she recorded a single, “Feel the Magic,” but she also has performed around the country.

The 14-year-old Atlanta native also found a place on the Disney Junior series “Chuggington.” She provides the voice for the engine trainee, Tai, who is super strong and tough as nails.

The biggest trait for Tai is she has a can-do attitude. Angelica had no problem understanding her character’s positive spirit.

“I related to a lot of things about her,” Angelica says. “Sometimes Tai has trouble asking for help. I think everyone can relate to that but personally, sometimes I need to be able to put my pride aside.”

Angelica has a very philosophical outlook when it comes to Tai that can also describe the young singer and voice talent. She sees Tai as someone who is young and still learning so there are plenty of mistakes to be made along the way.

The young trio of locomotives learn important lessons of teamwork, listening, perseverance, patience, self-confidence and building friendships.

Along with the cable series, Angelica got to speak for Tai in the animated special Chuggington: Tails From the Rails.”The special, currently available on YouTube, celebrates the world of trains during Chuggington Day. “Chuggington” has registered more than one billion views on YouTube with more than one million subscribers on its U.S. channel.  

Another example of how something as big as the pandemic was not going to stop Angelica is how she continued to work despite the world being locked down. After starting to work on “Chuggington” at a recording studio, she ended up working from home in a studio that was built there. She was able to record her lines while remaining safe.

Angelica ended up spending a lot of time in the studio because she was working on her musical career at the same time she was recording the lines for “Chuggington.”

“There was quite a big change,” Angelica says of how she worked on the two projects. “There was a stage last year where I started recording and then COVID happened. It is really better than I get to work at home.

“The best thing about doing voice work is that you don’t have to get ready or anything. It’s really kind of convenient.”

The standard practice for recording lines of dialogue for an animated project is for the voice talent to be alone in a studio with only the director to feed cues. But, “Chuggington” features musical numbers and that means recording songs that will be sung by multiple members of the cast without others being present.

Angelica wasn’t going to let that stop her. She admits the process is a little difficult but she’s been able to handle it through the music guide she’s given plus there have been times when she gets to hear the other voice actors who have already recorded their portion of the song.

“It’s not like I’m completely alone,” Angelica says. “It all just works out.”

It might seem like Angelica is a veteran actor because of all her work but she’s still a very young teenager. The only place she is really old is when it comes to the demographic of “Chuggington” as it has been aimed at 3-6 years old since launching in 2008.

The show has been around long enough for Angelica to have watched some episodes when she was younger. She takes great delight in now being able to provide a voice for one of the characters on the show.

Angelica does have a younger sister who falls in the target demographic. She has not shown her an episode with Tai because Angelica isn’t certain if her sibling will recognize her voice.

Angelica can show her sister episodes of “America’s Got Talent” where she performed such numbers as “Rise Up,” “Girl on Fire” and “Without You.” She earned a golden buzzer from guest judge Chris Hardwick.

The fact she is able to be a voice talent for “Chuggington” or was a contestant on “AGT” is a testament to her determination. When Angelica was 4, she contracted a severe bacterial pneumonia causing septic shock and multiple organ failure including her kidneys. After spending a year and a half on dialysis, she received a life-saving kidney transplant from her mother.

“Before I tried out for ‘America’s Got Talent,’ I was doing a lot of charity performances,” Angelica says. “After doing that for a couple of years, I decided I wanted to do something more.”

She did not get accepted to be on the show the first year but the determined Angelica auditioned again the next year. That resulted in her being accepted, making it to the finals and eventually landing voice work for “Chuuggington.”

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