The Young and the Restless' Cait Fairbanks always makes a splash on-screen as her popular character Tessa Porter, but she's just as instrumental behind the scenes, as well -- literally! The actress has a huge role in the soap's music department, often pitching in as a composer, lyricist, and performer of the tunes that viewers hear in episodes throughout the year.
One such song was the Daytime Emmy-nominated "Next to You," which Fairbanks wrote alongside Y&R composer Brad Hatfield. The actress also performed the vocals on the romantic song, which played during Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and Ashland's (then Richard Burgi) Tuscan wedding last year. (You can listen to "Next to You" on Y&R's official Spotify playlist.)
In celebration of her Emmy nomination, Soap Central spoke with Fairbanks to find out how she feels about receiving such an honor (her second in the category), what it's like to share the category with a superstar like Beyoncé (who's nominated for the Talks with Mama Tina theme song), and how she feels about soap opera weddings -- her own included!
Soap Central: Congratulations to you on your Emmy nomination!
Cait Fairbanks: Thank you so much.
Soap Central: How does it feel to be honored in this way?
Fairbanks: It's incredible. You can't really compare it. It was one of those days where I was just having a bad morning -- the coffee machine broke, my food didn't turn out, and I wasn't getting anything right. But then I got a text from Camryn [Grimes, Mariah Copeland], and she was like, "Congrats!" And I was like, "On what? What?" And then I looked it up, and I was like, "Oh, my God! This is incredible!" It's such an honor, and I'm extremely excited.
Soap Central: I'm sorry to hear you were having such a bad morning that day, but it's probably comforting for people to hear that those days happen to all of us!
Fairbanks: Ooohh, yeah! Oh, my goodness. Especially lately!
Soap Central: Did you ever think that you would be competing with Beyoncé for a music award? That must feel so crazy!
Fairbanks: I mean, it's honestly just frightening! [Laughs] But you're right, it's crazy, and it's the thing that I've been leading with. I'm like, "So, here's the craziest part: I'm up against Beyoncé." It's one of those things where I've been telling everyone, "You know, it's just an honor to be nominated." I just immediately start with that because it's so intimidating. And yeah, obviously, I never thought that that would happen.
Soap Central: Yeah, and for the Daytime Emmy Awards, too! There are massive stars from daytime there, of course, but from the music world?!
Fairbanks: Yeah, I'm kind of like, "Come on, leave us alone! Let us plebeians battle it out. Why do you, as a goddess, have to come down here?!" [Laughs] But it's amazing.
Soap Central: After you found out that you were nominated, who did you share the news with first?
Fairbanks: Well, my boyfriend was sitting right next to me, so, he got to find out first. And then I texted my parents and my brother. My parents were so stoked, and my brother sent me a text that said, "Cool. Again?" [Laughs] I was like, "Okay, well, thank you." But it's just so crazy that I get an opportunity to do this, and my parents are extremely excited. I know my dad is very proud, and my mom is excited for me.
Soap Central: And how about your Y&R family? Have you received a lot of love and support from them?
Fairbanks: Everyone is so sweet when they find out. It's just the best group of people to work with. They're so incredibly supportive and sweet. I feel grateful not just to have their support for this, but all the time.
Soap Central: Do you remember anything about recording the song "Next to You"?
Fairbanks: I do, yeah. We actually did it over Zoom -- we wrote the song over Zoom. I'm forgetting how we recorded the vocals, though. I think I might have gone to one of the music supervisors' houses and did vocals, but we actually wrote the song over Zoom because it was in the heat of COVID. I think it was during the second lockdown that we wrote it.
Soap Central: Do you remember the inspiration for that song or what you guys talked about when you were writing it?
Fairbanks: It was a wedding song, so, I think I pulled from the same place of, "Well, how would I feel, and what would I want to hear when I'm getting married?" I think that's where I always pull from. And I knew the characters were Victoria and Ashland, and at the beginning of their relationship, it seemed as if they were going toward a good place together; they had been through a lot, and maybe they had made some wrong decisions, but they came together and made it right. Obviously, that's changed! [Laughs] But at the beginning, that's how I saw it.
Soap Central: Well, that's the thing with soap opera weddings. You just never know!
Fairbanks: Yeah, it's the kiss of death, as they say.
Soap Central: You yourself have filmed a wedding recently, which is really exciting, and I think all the fans were super, super happy for this moment. Do you also share that sentiment about Tessa and Mariah finally tying the knot?
Fairbanks: I'm really just happy for the fans, because I know that they've been rooting for this for a while. So, yeah, of course I'm excited for them. And I also think it's really important; it's something that hasn't happened enough on daytime, or on television in general, so I feel just very honored to be a part of it. However, for me, I love drama, so I'm hoping that Tessa and Mariah now get some married drama! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Well, yeah -- it's not always best to have a "happily ever after" in this genre!
Fairbanks: Yeah, it's fun to fight and cry. It's super fun to do that stuff. But, of course, right now, the most important thing is that we've created a happy couple on the show for the fans.
Soap Central: Has this storyline been inspirational to you in terms of your music writing?
Fairbanks: Not necessarily, not for Cait. But for the show, yeah. I definitely pull from the character when I'm writing songs for the show.
Soap Central: Your category will be announced during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards rather than on the televised event on June 24. Are you attending both ceremonies?
Fairbanks: I am!
Soap Central: So, that means double the dresses!
Fairbanks: Double the dresses, which I already got. I'm an overachiever! I'm obsessive. The second I found out, I was like, "All right, here we go. Let's get this done." I don't like the stylist thing where they show up the day before and then you have to pick something. That is my worst nightmare. I'm way too anxious for that. I needed to pick the second I found out, and it was like, "Okay, I have a whole look ready. Let's go!" [Laughs]
Soap Central: Your big night is the Creative Arts Emmys, because that's the night that you could win, but then the other one is being televised nationally, so, how do you choose which look is your big look?!
Fairbanks: Well, I think for the Creative Arts Emmys, I'm going for more comfortable but still cute, because yes, it's my night, but I want to be comfy because we're not being televised. So, it'll look good and be comfy. And for the televised one, I'm just going to go all out, like, who cares about comfort?! I'm going to be uncomfy all night because I think I'm wearing a corset.
Soap Central: You've been nominated for Emmys in the past. What do you normally feel in those seconds before they announce a winner?
Fairbanks: My way of dealing with it is just knowing that I haven't won and then being okay and being really happy for whoever did win, because you just know that that is such a life-changing moment for whoever gets it. I don't really have the nerves, because I'm like, "It's just nice to be here." Honestly. That's kind of how I've always thought about it.
Soap Central: Did you celebrate receiving your Emmy nomination after the announcements came out?
Fairbanks: Yeah, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner after. We went to Musso & Frank and had a nice little night.
What do you think about Cait Fairbanks being nominated for an Emmy? Do you think she'll take home the award in the Outstanding Original Song category? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.