You may know James Maslow from his role on Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush,” but he is now ready to embrace himself as the artist he has always known he wanted to become and he is all grown up. Maslow recently released his debut solo album “How I Like It”, ( CLICK TO HEAR ) and we can’t get enough of it. James has also proudly won the opening spot for Macy’s iHeart Radio Rising Star Competition in Las Vegas and you can see his performance on September 22nd. We got a chance to sit down with the busy singer/songwriter/actor and got the latest 411 on his journey since going solo, his new album and upcoming projects. Check it out!
1. Congratulations on becoming The Rising Star winner for the IHeartRadio Music Festival this year in Las Vegas! What can we expect from your performance? I’ve been playing a pretty stripped down show recently, with only one other musician and myself going back on forth between guitar and piano and adding in a touch of track here and there. For the IHeartRadio Music Festival though, I plan on stepping up production quite a bit. I’ll be adding a drummer and maybe even some dancers. I just want to have fun on stage so everyone in the audience is having fun as well. I plan on opening this show with a bang!
2. Who are you excited to see perform? I’m a big fan of the Weekend and Kings of Leon so definitely looking forward to catching their sets.
3. You recently released your first solo album – Tell us a little bit about the meaning behind your music. My debut album How I Like It is a taste of a few different sides of me as an artist and the type of music I’ll keep making. Nobody has just one emotion or look and nor does my album have just 1 sound. I’m proud of every song on it and also excited to keep developing and creating more.
4. What helps you with your writing process? I’m not an indoor cat, so to speak, so I often like to work outside or at the very least take breaks from the studio. I probably wrote half the album on my boy’s rooftop in Brooklyn and the other half in Venice Beach. Literally on the beach. I produced most of it from Timbaland’s studio in Virginia Beach but even there I’d be making coffee runs myself just as an excuse to get some fresh air.
5. Do you have a top favorite off of “How I Like It?” – Why that song? Really hard to pick an absolute favorite but Who Knows and Fairy Tail have been a lot of fun to perform so far. The melodies are some of my favorite to sing.
6. Your Proudest Moment? I’ll never forget the excitement and pride I felt when I finished the last mix on the last song on this album. It was only my writing partner Doug Makuta and I grinding away for weeks at Thomas Crown studio in Virginia Beach and we damn near lost our minds when it was finally complete. This feeling was shortly followed by what the fuck do we do next? Haha
7. If you could tour with any artist – dead or alive – who would it be? Michael Jackson. He always wanted to be better. Learn more. Work harder. I’ve learned so much from just listening to his music and watching his work, I can only imagine how much I could learn touring with him.
8. Last song you purchased? Leon Bridges – River
9. Any silly rituals before you go on stage? I have a whole playlist that I prepare for each tour. It starts when I’m 30 minutes from hitting stage. My dressing room basically becomes a dance party which, besides being fun for anybody backstage, honestly warms me up and puts me in the right mindset to go play and have fun with the crowd. Singing along to artists like Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson is my favorite way to warm up.
10. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? I have a film called Bachelor Lions that should be coming out soon and several more in the works but honestly the focus is on music at the moment. Expect some music videos soon. Plus I’m playing a bunch of small shows for press and promo over the next few months and hope to set up a proper tour after. Will definitely hit you with dates when I have em!