I know you are huge Big Time Rush fans, so when I saw this interview with James Maslow from the show, well I just knew that you would love it.
Q: Was the auditioning process hard?
James: It was. I think the hardest part was the wait. It was two years. I was seventeen when I first started auditioning and nineteen by the time we started filming the first season officially. It was pretty crazy.
For the first round – we had four rounds and four national tours where the national cast from thousands of kids – and the first one they literally flew in forty, forty-five kids from around the country to Los Angeles. I drove from San Diego and we all stayed in a hotel for a few days, and then literally at six a.m. we were just on a bus to go to a studio where we spent three hour rotations. Three hours dancing, three hours singing, three hours acting and then they’d do a round of cuts. Then all of a sudden, you’d come home and the next day you’d come back and they just kept cutting people almost like American Idol type stuff and it progressively got smaller and smaller. So each of the four rounds which were about six months in between each one, we had four [different] people. So I had three other cast mates each time and the only person that stayed the same was Logan. And in fact after the third one, the third screen test or whatever you want to call it, we shot a pilot. We had another guy who wasn’t Kendall. We found Carlos in the third one and then we shot the whole pilot, thought it was a go and everything was great. Then all of a sudden, they recast it again so the fourth one we were very hopeful and luckily it was unanimous that everybody wanted Kendall and we were really excited about finding him.
Q: Where were you when you finally heard you got the role?
James: This is actually something I’ve never told anybody, it’s not a big secret, but I was with one of my best friends in the world named Brit and I swear Brit is my lucky charm because I was with him. So we were having breakfast on one of the few weekends I had down there [in San Diego] and I just remember being at breakfast and getting that call and just screaming and being stoked and calling my dad. Even again I was with Brit the first time I booked iCarly when I was the guest star on that a couple years ago. So that kid, whenever he’s around things are good.
Q: The CD is excellent! Do you have a favorite song from it?
James: So far of the songs that have been released I would definitely say “Halfway There.” I really dig that one but we’ve been recording so many more. We probably have thirty new songs between the first album coming out later this year and the second album we’re already recording. There’s some really cool ones in there and one of them might be my new favorite.
Q: What’s your process when it comes to writing a song?
James: I really should keep a journal on me and sometimes I do. I’m bad about it though. I have a journal in real life that I wish I wrote in every day and I’m really trying to remind myself because it is so easy to forget even the most amazing experiences. You stay busy and writing them down helps and the same thing with music. I’ll think of like a hook and maybe sometimes I call myself on my voicemail and leave a message, basically singing that hook so I don’t forget it. Usually, honestly when I write I figure out a melody or a hook first either on the piano or guitar or even just vocally, and then I go try and jot it down and then make the chord structure. Then I’ll go and write lyrics to it. I’ve done it other ways. I’ve had lyrics first I really wanted to write a song around, but I found that more difficult, because it seems more forced to me but hey, everybody has their way you know!
Q: If you could share a stage with any artist who would it be?
James: Michael Jackson- everybody knows. I don’t think there’s one person who wouldn’t want to share a stage with him. Just watching back at what he did, everybody looks up and says, “Whoah, he was the greatest.” He was absolutely the best entertainer in the world. From dancing to singing to capturing the crowd, he literally gave his life doing that. Presently though, I think Justin Timberlake is a wonderful performer. I have yet to meet him, but I would love to share a stage with him at some point. Even our own generation, I think Taylor Swift’s a great songwriter. It’d be fun to work with her. You never know!
Q: Do you like to read?
James: I love reading. In fact when I pick up a book, a lot of times I’ll be like, “Why have I not been reading that much?” Because honestly I don’t have all the time these days. I just don’t have that much time but I’ll try to pick up at least a couple books every month or so and get them done on set. It’s such a nice way to take your mind away from everything else. TV’s great, but you’ve got to balance it out. I think you enjoy the other one more when you do them both if that makes sense.
Q: What are you currently reading?
James: It’s called The Millionaire Next Door. It’s critically acclaimed and the reason being it’s not that boring, even for young people. And I started reading [financial] books- Rich Dad, Poor Dad, things like that. Some of those that have been acclaimed and I figured, “Hey I want to know what people are talking about.” I read those when I was young and I think that it’s really helped me to this day. I’m nineteen years old, turning twenty in a couple weeks and I’ve got a lot of finances to control. Paying bills and gas and food- all of that adds up. It really emphasizes saving and really emphasizes being frugal and smart with your money. I think books like that are beneficial. When you start to save some money or make some money then it’s kind of a cool thing to read. Every time I spend money and I think back on it I’m like, “Why did I just spend that?”
Q: What is your all-time favorite book?
James: That’s such a tough question, but I’ll give you one of them. I’d say Ender’s Game. Have you read that book? You need to check it out. To me it’s one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. I mean fictional and all that and it’s fun, and the characters are so great.
Q: Is there a social or political issue that’s particularly close to your heart?
James: I’m a pretty large advocate for being healthy physically. Windsurfing, the gym. That’s just me. I’m very active. I like to rock climb and that type of stuff, but usually people that don’t enjoy it need to realize that they’re going to have a longer life and be happier and have more energy if they just eat healthy and exercise every week. I’m a huge patriot; I love this country so much, but I don’t like that we’re the fattest country in the world. If I could change that I would love to. If I can remind kids to eat healthy and go and play or ride the bike or workout or whatever it may be, then I’d love to encourage that.
Q: You’re a climber. How long have you been doing that?
James: I dabble. I’m an enthusiast. I climbed Mt. Whitney last June and I trained probably six or eight months before that. But ever since I was little, I was a monkey and loved climbing and doing that type of stuff. Now I take it a little more seriously and I eventually want to climb at least four of the seven world peaks. I’ve got one underneath my belt. I’m hoping next year I’ll do Rainier and start accumulating those.
Q: What was the Mt. Whitney experience like?
James: It was probably the most unreal experience I’ve ever had. It’s one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. It’s not the hardest thing in the world to do in the summer time when there’s no snow; it’s just a big hike. But we climbed when there was more snow than there’s ever been during that month, the beginning of June. So from about 12,600 feet up it was completely covered and we had to use our crampons and ice axes to actually blaze a trail to the top at 14,505 feet and it was amazing. I was with one of my best friends, Jean Paul, and it’s one of those things where he’s my boy for life because we quite literally had each other’s lives in our hands at one point or another. Until you actually experience that where you’re trusting somebody quite literally with your life every step of the way- I don’t know how to explain it. It’s completely different, and physically it was by far the most strenuous thing I’ve ever done. I really did not think I was going to make it at so many points along the way because I couldn’t talk. You’re just trudging trudging trudging through knee deep snow for miles. It wears on you, man. And you also have such little air to breathe up there. But the views and the scenery and the people along the way- it’s just breathtaking. Pictures could never do it justice.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge in your life?
James: Well, my brother unfortunately was in a motorcycle accident about three years ago and he was in ICU for about six months, and that period of my life obviously can’t compare to his and I don’t want to attempt to do so, but I thought I lost my bro for the longest time. He was unconscious for the first month of it and that was- when something like that happens it’s tough to keep anything else going because you put your entire life on hold for somebody else and happily there’s just no question about it. I think I was barely in school. But we’re very very blessed. He’s gonna be a doctor now. He lost some vision in his right eye but for the most part he’s a hundred percent healthy. To me that’s one of the biggest reasons that I believe in God right there because I think that, amazing as the doctors were, they couldn’t have done it without prayer and without God. Man that was intense. He’s alive and he’s doing well. There’s nothing, no material object compared to life and family. That is the most important thing in the world.
Interview by Tyrus Cukavac
Photos courtesy of Nickelodeon