Sunday, September 13, 2009


I was able to have a phone interview with Hannah Montana star, Mitchel Musso and he gave us some insight into his life and his music career! He was really nice and great to talk to. My article is only in the Alberta issue of Youthink this month, so I'll post it once I get a copy of it from the Youthink office!

Here it is for you to read though! (I might post the recorded conversation later)

1. So tell me how you’re feeling about the recent release of your debut album. Has it been in the works for a long time?

M - It has been in the works for a good amount of time. I’ve been playing music since I was about...oh man...Six years old was when I got my first grand piano, so I guess involved with instruments and stuff like that. I picked up a guitar for the first time at like 10. I started playing the drums at 11 or 12. So just overall, I’ve always had a passion for music, an ear for music, I loved just music in general; from tempos, keys and chords and everything else that comes with it. But most recently, probably about 6-8 months ago, we were in discussion about creating this album to drop right around my birthday when I turned 18; and just this whole new look, you know what I mean, just completely changed. And it has! But I think it’s all for the better, you know what I mean? Music has opened so many doors and I do love it so so much so it’s been very good!

2. How would you describe the overall feel or theme of this album?

M - The overall feel...I guess as far as topics that we really talked about in the album where I discussed is like you know, girls, parties and not fitting in but how it’s okay. And I guess mainly the sound, like if you want to hear what genre it really falls in, I’d say it’s kind of a rock, hip hop, dance, electro kind of a vibe. Yeah, because I listen to everything from classical to hard rap. Like Billy Joel to Three 6 Mafia or Lil Wayne to Elton John, you know I mean, so like everything in between. You probably won’t find very many country sounds in my album but as far as everything else is; I try to add as much as I could; get a variety.

3. How did you balance working on the album with your work on Hannah Montana?

M - You tell me! I’m not sure, it just kind of happened, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t say...working on Hannah’s not too difficult and recording music’s not too difficult, so both of them together wasn’t too bad.

4. Was everyone on the cast and crew supportive of you pursuing this endeavour?

M - Yeah, yeah for sure! They were like the first people who got the album. I came in with like a whole; everybody was asking me for one so I came in with a whole suitcase full and gave everybody one. I wanted to hear everyone’s opinions. I know Miley was like the first person I showed my CD to and she thought it was great and she wants to do music later on in the future. Like for the second album, she’s written 2 songs: one just for me and a duet between me and her, but you never know.

5. So Miley was really supportive, did she give you any advice about the project?

M - Yeah she was. And not really, other than she wants to do a duet.

6. So did Disney approach you to do an album or was it you taking the initiative and approaching them?

M - No, no, that was me wanting to do it. Yeah, they did a long time ago, and I was like “No.” The thing about music is that I just truthfully...I wanted to be an artist before I was an artist, so like what that means is...Like when I was little, I learned a couple big editing softwares like Pro Tools and Logic and Reason. Because like nowadays I can go to the studio and lay down all of my tracks, which are you know, the keyboard, the drums, guitar and edit and mix it all by myself. And that was what I wanted to do, or at least to be able to do. Just being able to know music before I really became a musician and that was what we did.

7. You worked with a number of well known industry heavy hitters such as Max Martin, Curt Schneider, and Matthew Wilder...How was the experience working with them?

M - Phenomenal. I mean, even, we also worked with S*A*M & Sluggo, which is Sam & Dave, who did Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Gym Class Heroes, also Metro Station, my older brother’s band. And then PJ Bianco who did “Look Me in the Eyes” for the Jonas Brothers, branched them off in the top 40. But overall, yeah, I try to tell everybody that there was so much talent put in this record, not on my own behalf, just by everybody else’s help, that it really made it sound like a rockin’ album. It’s not just me, it’s a lot of help, you know what I mean, there’s so much talent in the’s ridiculous.

8. So how much input did you have when you were in the studio?

M - A lot. All creative rights and everything else; creative control.

9. You co-wrote a few songs on this album? How did you enjoy that process?

M - It definitely was a thrill. I wrote two of them by myself and then I co-wrote mostly all of them except for like two that were already written. But it’s been cool. I wanted to add my own ideas and I feel like we covered all of that. I feel like we came out with a pretty rockin album.

10. So your brother Mason is also in the music industry and is featured on the track “Shout It”...How has he helped you or influenced your career as a musician?

M - Well as far as Mason goes, he’s really like my role model when it comes to music, you know what I mean? Not just music, I mean he’s my role model in general. He’s my older brother; usually your older sibling is the person you look up to. But I think he’s helped me, I mean, a good amount, he’s definitely taught me a lot of guitar. He taught me mostly all the instruments before I knew because he picked them up first. And then, when he was progressing in it, excelling in it, I was like “I want to do that”, and he helped me out, taught me some chords. He taught me how to write. I mean, when I was little, he taught me what chorus, you know, the meaning of the chorus, and the meaning of a verse, and a prechorus and a bridge...just pretty much how to make music to be completely honest with you. And I’m so stoked because we’re going on tour the 28th of this month, so real real soon we’ll be on tour together.

11. So earlier, you mentioned that you have a wide range of music that you listen to...are there any in particular that you like more, or any bands that stand out for you?

M - Well you know what, there’s so much talent in this world, that it’s very difficult to really pick my favourite artist, you know what I mean? But I love bands like...let’s see I love Blink 182, I love The Used, I love the Clash, I love Metro Station. And then again, I like stuff like...I love Eminem. I love Dr Dre, I love Three 6 really all depends. I like everything.

12. Have you always known that you wanted to get into the music industry as well as acting? When did you decide to pursue your music career?

M - Truthfully, just after I knew I could do it. When I felt like I was an artist, that’s when I felt like I wanted to pursue it. I was like, I don’t want anybody to just look at me like another one of those kids who comes out with music and is all bubblegum pop and everything else like that; no creative control and just gets fed stuff and does it. I wanted to really be able to take over. I get up on stage and I play every instrument and I just want to be a musician in general.

13. How has being an actor helped your career as a musician?

M - You know, the fan base of course. And I have the coolest fans in the world, I always like to shout them out; they’re the best always, always filling out the shows and everything else. As far as acting goes...When I write I guess, it’s not necessarily... I don’t want to word this wrong but it’s not necessarily always true, you know what I mean? When I write, some of it’s from the heart but I try to mix up a couple things. Because when I write, I don’t like to write about necessarily my personal personal life. If I write about things, it’s very under wraps, you would never know, only I would know and maybe the person who it’s written about, you know what I mean? You’re not going to catch me in a room with an acoustic guitar writing a song about a girl named Ashley who broke my heart, you know what I mean? The music’s more’s always going to be upbeat. I will always want everybody to dance to it and I want everybody to be able to feel free and let loose and that’s what the music truthfully is for me. But everybody has their own opinions on making music.

14. How do you keep yourself grounded in such a crazy business, particularly because you are so recognizable from your TV career?

M - I don’t know, I think me and Mason especially, are pretty good about it because we’re do I say this...we love to share I guess is the right word for it. We’re huge into sharing. We like everybody to be able to...Like if we’re going to play a concert, we love throwing the mic in front of the kids’ faces so that they can sing with us! We want everybody to feel involved to be completely honest with you. We also come from the smallest county in the largest state of Rockwall of Texas where everyone’s all hicks and I mean, I walk outside and you see cows and then you see a lake, you know what I mean, like whatever. So I feel like maybe that kind of has a little help. But then again, we just look at it like a job. We’re just regular kids with just extraordinary jobs. It’s weird, I feel like if you talk about being grounded, you actually have a big head, so it’s kind of weird. You know, like [in sarcastic tone] “Oh I’m so grounded, I’m just the nicest of the nicest” you know what I mean? No.

15. What is it like to be a part of such a phenomenally successful TV show as “Hannah Montana?”

M - It’s nice! Ever since, I was about thirteen was when we started so it’s definitely been the right area for me to get involved in. I mean Disney was definitely a good stepping stone and will always be right there to back me up. I’ve definitely been blessed I guess to be a part of the channel. Disney is phenomenal; they’ve helped me pursue this dream, not just of being an actor, now they’re so open armed into letting me be this musician and everything else.

16. So how did you land the role of Oliver Oken?

M - Auditions. A nice little audition process. It took a good amount of time but when it all comes down to it, it started with um I guess I was in Texas, it’s actually a long story here, but it started out I was in Texas and I got this call for “Hey you have an audition for a show called Hannah Montana” so I was like okay cool, you know what I mean? No one knew what Hannah Montana was, no one knew what Hannah Montana was going to be. And so, it’s a Wednesday, we were flying out Friday to L.A. My mom says, “Don’t bring your skateboard Mitchel,” that’s all I used to do, is be a skater, that was like my life. “Don’t bring your skateboard Mitch, you’re going to hurt yourself, don’t do it. We gotta leave in 2 days, just keep it easy tonight.” “Okay Mom, I swear I’m not going to, I swear, I’ll be good. I’m not going to bring my board, I’m going to be fine, it’s all good, don’t even worry about me.” Went outside, ran around the back, grabbed my skateboard. Pretty much an hour into skating, I go up a ramp, I have no idea what I did, I just remember coming down and snapping my arm completely in half. I snapped my radius and my forearm; my arm looked like a V, seriously it looked like a zig zag. And so 6 weeks later, 7 weeks later, we fly out to L.A for pilot season; they’re still casting for Oliver. I go in for the audition and there’s this chair and they’re telling me to climb up on the chair because if you can remember from the pilot, Oliver’s character is climbing up into Hannah Montana’s balcony and I guess asking her to sign something for him; god we’ve shot so many episodes I’m sorry I don’t even remember what it was about. But I just remember climbing into the window but I was supposed to be climbing this chair that was the idea. So I was like “okay yeah for sure, definitely.” I dropped to the ground and I noticed like they’re all sitting behind this, there’s about 15 execs including Gary Marsh and Robert Iger who is the head of Disney and then the head of Disney channel. So like all the huge execs are sitting behind this table that’s like this mahogany leathered; this table looks like it’s more expensive than a Ferrari. It’s like a million million dollar table that’s got Disney engraved in it and it’s got Mickey Mouse coming up out of it; it’s crazy. So I dropped to the ground, no one could see me, and I just start crawling up on their table. And I figured, I don’t know, I felt like that was a change. Change it up a little bit.

17. Your character Oliver “Smokin” Oken is a pretty funny guy...Can you relate to Oliver and his crazy situations?

M - Sure. I guess Oliver, he’s a little bit “goobery” and I’m not as wild as he is for sure. Also, Oliver is more of a clean cut kind of a kid. I’m more of like a Southern, you know, I like to go out and play in the dirt and stuff like that; that’s the kind of stuff I like to do. Oliver is more like, likes to look proper and nice. He wears his, not khakis, but more like suit pants and stuff like that. See, I never do that kind of things. I like to go out in my black jeans and my black shirt with my black shoes on, you know what I mean, I’m not too fond of all the colours.

18. How do you feel being on Hannah Montana has affected your career in television as well as the music industry?

M - It’s affected everything really. I guess because you get known as a character and people learn to love that character and they want to see this character all the time and then they figure out that it’s not just you, it’s a character that you’re playing. So then there’s this other ego and then they want to learn about that. And then you’re playing another character on another show or another movie or music, you know what I mean? That was just kind of the first stepping stone that opened up the career. Even though, I’ve done tons of stuff beforehand and that was just, you know, but when you get booked on a show, you get stuck as that character because you play that character for years. I’ve played Oliver for the past 6 or 7 years, you know?

19. Moving forward, what will be in the forefront – your music or acting career?

M - It’s a tough question but when it all comes down to it, I would pick music because music I’m playing Mitchel; acting I’m playing another character. Although, I love acting, you know what I mean; I can always improv and make it my own and stuff like that but when it comes to music, I make my own call time, I write what I want to write about, it’s more of my project, it’s me being my own artist and I think that’s cooler.

Mitchel, thanks for the interview!
-Christinaaa :)

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