Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
Hayden Panettiere is seeing a longtime dream come true this week, as her song "Telescope" hit country radio, with its sassy video debuting on People.com. The pop-country song is part of the soundtrack to her hit TV show, "Nashville," on which Hayden plays the role of rising star Juliette Barnes. Though the 23-year-old actress is a whole lot sweeter than her conniving character, Juliette's career ambitions aren't too much of a stretch for her.
"[I was a] huge fan of country music, and that's always genuinely where my heart was," she said this week on the "Rachael Ray" show. "I've loved singing since I was little, and I actually headed down the road of doing an album for awhile. I started when I was about 14."
The New York native, who released a pop single, "Wake Up Call" in 2008, says she might have continued pursuing a music career if she had had the confidence to perform country music instead. "It didn't feel like me. I felt like I was trying to be somebody I wasn't," she notes. "And I was afraid if I did country music that, being from New York, people wouldn't make that connection."
Now, thanks to her role on the ABC drama, Hayden not only gets to play a country star, but is also living in Music City, where the show is being filmed. "It's the perfect place to be. It's the epitome of southern hospitality. People come up and they're just so pleasant to you. They're like, 'Hey, I love your show,' or 'Hey, I love your work.' They don't want anything from you. They're used to it. I feel like I could walk down the street in my pajamas."
The former "Heroes" star insists her bitter rivalry with actress Connie Britton (who plays iconic singer Rayna James) on "Nashville" is all for the cameras. "It's not all the time that you get to work with actors who make you want to be better at what you do, and who make you rise to the occasion," she notes. "With (Connie), she's so fantastic. She gives back so much and we have such a great chemistry."
"Nashville" airs on Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM ET on ABC.
Watch a Video on Hayden's Country Ambitions