Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester embraces her poetic side

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      Leighton Meester wants to talk about Chanukah. No, not the sacred festival of lights, but the sidesplitting song Adam Sandler wrote “for all those nice little Jewish kids”.

      “That’s a classic!” the 26-year-old star of Gossip Girl turned singer tells the Georgia Straight on the line from her L.A. home. “It would be awesome to do something with ‘Chanukah’.”

      Meester held her own with Lil Wayne for their collaboration on “Make It Rain”, so a kooky duet with funnyman Sandler—with whom she costars in the upcoming comedy That’s My Boy—might not be a total flop.

      And besides, she’s done a pretty good job of balancing two careers. We’ve seen Meester go from rich-bitch Blair Waldorf to honorary Cobra Starship singer. (Those are her delicious vocals on the band’s 2009 single “Good Girls Go Bad”.) Even when she went Nashville for the 2010 movie Country Strong, it seemed to work—which cuts her some slack on her recent revelation that she’s embracing Joni Mitchell as one of her major inspirations. So if Meester wants to take on “The Chanukah Song”, we’ll happily raise our gin and tonic-ahs to that.

      But before the face of Vera Wang’s Lovestruck perfume can add anything else to her Day-Timer, she’s determined to release her long-delayed and still-untitled record.

      “Hopefully, we can put it out sometime this year,” Meester says. “I wanted my album to come out at the right time so that I could promote it and tour. It’s been hard because shooting a TV show is probably the most gruelling schedule you can have.”

      But the Gossip Girl gig hasn’t been all bad for Meester’s music career. It’s afforded her a built-in fan base and one-on-one time with Cyndi Lauper.

      “She is so cool and so funny and so New York and down-to-earth,” gushes Meester. “The last time she was on my show, she was like, ‘I think I want to write a blues album.’ And I’m like, ‘Wow, okay.’ After years of doing pop music she can reinvent herself, and I love that she’s creative and brave enough to do that.”

      As for Meester’s own sonic transformation, she’s ditched the pop hooks to play up her poetry. “It took me a long time to get to this, but the six-year-old me—this is exactly the type of music I pictured myself doing. It’s the type of music I’ll look back on and be proud of at 86, not something that will be of the moment and a pop hit. That stuff is fun, but I just couldn’t ignore the singer-songwriter thing; I really love poetry.”

      Maybe after Meester has had her fill of writing odes to Joni, she’ll put that love of poetry to good use and actually trump Sandler’s menorah-loving masterpiece. ’Cause, really, Veronica and wannakah are just scratching the surface when it comes to words that rhyme with Chanukah.

      Leighton Meester plays the Vogue Theatre on Wednesday (May 30).