When Logan Henderson moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and music, he didn't think he would ever become a member of a group like Big Time Rush -- a "boy band," "teen pop group" (or whatever description one might use).
Growing up in Texas, he had done plenty of acting in theater and had also been a singer, but in rock bands. His favorite groups included Aerosmith, the Clash, Radiohead and Jet.
"I never pictured myself being in a boy band. I always envisioned doing solo projects and things that were obviously a little different than pop," Henderson said in a phone interview.
But when he got wind of auditions for a new TV show to be based around a boy band, and that companies like Columbia Records and Nickelodeon were involved, Henderson changed his tune.
"I decided this is such a cool opportunity, and I was still young," he said. "At that point I was like I want to try everything. I want to do everything, as much as I possibly can, to experience things. Basically the stars were aligned, and it just so happens to be that I worked really, really hard once I knew that these auditions were coming up and this role was headed my direction. I really just worked my butt off. It was one of those things. (I thought) 'I'm not sure exactly how it's going to be, but I'm going to make the best of it and work as hard as I can and make great music and act.' And all of these things are passions and hobbies of mine, so I kind of just ran with it."
Actually, Henderson is running harder than ever, thanks to the success Big Time Rush -- appearing Wednesday at USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City -- has enjoyed during the past couple of years.
The foursome of Henderson, James Maslow, Carlos Pena Jr. and Kendall Schmidt came together in 2009 as Big Time Rush for the first season of the Nickelodeon television show "Big Time Rush." The show, in which the four singers play Minnesota transplants that come to Los Angeles to start a music group and chase stardom, has been a hit -- the most watched show on Nickelodeon.
The musical side of the Big Time Rush franchise is flourishing as well.
Big Time Rush's first CD, the 2010 release "BTR," went gold, with sales now having topped 700,000 copies. Then in November, the group released its second CD, "Elevate."
In addition, the group's first TV movie, "Big Time Movie," debuted in March on Nickelodeon, with an EP of Beatles cover songs released to coincide with the film.
Then in March, the group began filming its third season of the "Big Time Rush" television show, and those episodes are now airing on Nickelodeon.
"There's a lot of relationship stuff going on in this third season, so I think the younger ones and the older ones will kind of attach onto this season because of that," Henderson said. "It will be fun. And we've got some really cool guest stars."
Now it's back on tour this summer for Big Time Rush, with a 50-date tour that plays amphitheaters and arenas.
Henderson isn't complaining about the workload with Big Time Rush, not after going through what became a long road to getting the first episode of the television series on the air.
Auditions for the show began two years before the public was introduced to the name Big Time Rush. Henderson and Maslow were the first two to be cast. Pena landed his part a few months later, and Schmidt joined the cast for the show near the end of the two-year audition process, after a pilot had been filmed with a different fourth group member and rejected by Nickelodeon.
During much of that two-year period, Henderson was stuck in limbo waiting to see if "Big Time Rush" would ever become a reality.
"A lot of people don't really understand how awful it was," Henderson said of this period. "It was hard. I couldn't get other work in the meantime. So I was always kind of on the edge going what's going on with this show? What's going to happen? And then the wait, I got to a point where I was like. 'I'm not so sure I want to wait any longer. I could be going and booking stuff.' And at the time I was struggling. I had to pay bills and pay for my apartment out in L.A. So it got to be pretty painful. But once we started up and once I received that phone call, we haven't stopped. We work all the time, but I can't really be mad at that because I had the feeling of what it was like to be very, very patient."
According to Henderson, the chemistry with the original foursome wasn't quite right, but when Schmidt came on board, everything meshed.
"I actually knew Kendall prior to the whole BTR audition. So that was pretty cool," Henderson said. "So he and I got along great. He's one of my best friends. And yeah, I think it was one of those things where he had the voice and he had that passion for music and it really kind of, it was basically like the missing puzzle piece."
Since starting work together, Henderson said the friendships within the group have continued to grow, and with the "Elevate" CD, Big Time Rush has really begun to find its musical footing.
Because of their busy schedules and the short amount of time they had worked together, Henderson said, the "BTR" CD was largely the work of the various producers that were hired to write the songs and produce the tracks for that first CD.
With "Elevate," Henderson, Maslow, Pena and Schmidt had much more involvement in the songwriting -- eight of the 12 songs were co-written by one or more of the group members.
"The first album was very much made in conjunction with the TV show and used for music for the TV show episodes. So that definitely gave it a different vibe on the first album," Henderson said. "The second album, we were done with Season 2 and we were done with the television show. So we basically were writing music that we liked and music we wanted to put out and not having to do with the show at all. It was a night-and-day difference because whenever there are no constraints and nothing you have to work around, it's just basically free-forming and you can write whatever you want. I think we really kind of did that."
The music on "Elevate," though, is pretty standard pop fare, with a mix of uptempo tunes and ballads about girls and romance, set to synth-heavy instrumentation and programmed dance beats and a mix of sung vocals and occasional rap parts. While far from innovative, the songs are well crafted, produced with plenty of professional gloss and have the kind of bouncy melodies that should connect with Big Time Rush's largely teen/tween audience.
Songs from "Elevate" figure to be a big part of Big Time Rush's shows on its summer tour, which features the four singers backed by a full band and a number of dance routines.
"From choreography to music to pyro to lights to the stadiums, everything is bigger," Henderson said. "So we're basically making every bigger upgrade you can possibly have. That's kind of what the tour is."