Monday, July 1, 2013

James Maslow Dishes On Life Beyond BTR, Driving In The Hamptons, And The BTR Bromance

"I'm just excited to keep the ball rolling. I'm excited for the next step in my career. I'm excited to pursue film and do my own music. I don't wanna take anytime off if I can help it," said "Big Time Rush" actor James Maslow about his career beyond his hit Nickelodeon television show.

With boy bands like 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men, and Hansen ruling the 90's it should come as no surprise that boy bands are once again on the rise, capturing the hearts of tweens and teens across the world and of course the Hamptons. One of the groups who helped make the return of boy bands cool again is Big Time Rush. The group gained popularity from the Nickelodeon television series "Big Time Rush" (BTR) which follows four hockey players from Minnesota - Kendall, James, Carlos, and Logan - after being selected to form a boy band in Los Angeles.

James Maslow plays James Diamond on "Big Time Rush" and after meeting up with Maslow in New York City for lunch one afternoon I discovered that he is just as charismatic as his BTR character yet surprisingly grounded. It is no shock to me why the band is captivating "rushers" globally.

BTR members James Maslow, Carlos Pena, Jr., Logan Henderson and Kendall Schmidt with Victoria Justice. (Photo: Nickelodeon)

After an eight month lull where James and the gang filmed the current television season and wrote songs for the new album, fans should get ready for a summer full of BTR with new episodes airing, the release of "24/Seven" on June 11, 2013, and the "Summer Break Tour" with Victoria Justice starting June 21. Maslow is ready for the packed schedule, "The summer is going to be huge, we hit 'em at all three angles so to speak. I'm stoked to get back on the road. It's a ton of fun!"

What sets the new album "24/Seven" apart from the previous two is this one was written mostly by Maslow and the rest of BTR. The "boys" wanted to create music free of restrictions and expectations. Maslow thinks "24/Seven" is the best BTR album yet, "We're really proud of it and think the fans are going to like it."

Maslow, born in New York but moved to California at a young age, still considers himself a New Yorker at heart. While Maslow hasn't been to the Hamptons since he was a child, he does have fond memories "picking blackberries from the bushes that lined the pathway to the beach of his grandmothers house." He also had one of his first driving experiences here on the East End when his dad let him take the wheel, "I almost totaled a rental car because my dad figured it was a rental and let me drive it. I was really young [around 8] driving on gravel, hit the gas, spun the wheels and hit the curb. He definitely didn't let me drive again after that."

An intimate moment with his dog Fox while on tour. (Photo: Nickelodeon)

From a young age he dreamed of being in entertainment, setting his hopes high, wanting to become an actor, ideally in film as well as wanting to be involved in music with a career as a pop artist. In eighth grade, after being "bored with school", Maslow enrolled in a performing arts school which he credits for his work ethic, "I learned a hell of a lot and got a great discipline doing multiple shows a week on top of school. It was like 'Fame' back in the day, it's the only thing I can compare it to." Struggles and the competitive nature of the school are still some of the biggest motivations he has to this day, "The more that people told me I wouldn't make it and couldn't do what I wanted to do. The more I smiled and was encouraged to be as good and big and successful as I could be."

Maslow received some sound advice from family friend and "Royal Pains" - about a concierge doctor in the Hamptons - star Paulo Costanzo who encouraged Maslow early in his career if he was serious about making it into a career. Paulo told Maslow, "If you wanna do it, you have to do it, you have to move to LA, it's a risk but persistence is going to pay off." Luckily for Maslow that advice stuck with him and after two years of auditioning for the role of James Diamond, his big break came in 2009 when he was cast on "Big Time Rush." "The idea that it was a full blown record deal and a TV show and it worked out, has been a wonderful platform to gain a fan base and grow in both worlds."

For anyone who has caught an episode of "BTR" the bond between the boys is evident. If you're wondering how close they really are, the friendship is just as strong off-screen. "People don't believe us but we've been on vacations with each other multiple times. I went to Coachella with Kendall and Logan just this past year," said Maslow. With the time they have spend together over the past five years between touring and filming, the four have created a bromance. "We've been through a hell of a lot together," he explained, "and it's stuff only the other three in the group will understand. It's a bond that makes us like brothers in many ways."

Maslow with U.K. pop sensation Cher Lloyd who made a "BTR" guest appearance. (Photo: Nickelodeon)

After the tour, if another season of "Big Time Rush" isn't in the cards, the ever so ambitious Maslow is ready for the big next step in his already big career. He is starting to branch off on his own doing covers on YouTube as well as writing for other artists. Recently he wrote "Never Too Young" for YouTube sensation MattyB which includes a cameo performance from Maslow. "It's exciting because [it was] something I could do as an individual and its fun for my younger fans." He also teamed up with Cimorelli, a group consisting of six sisters, for a cover of "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake.

As for acting, he is really hoping to pursue film but at the moment he is also open to another network show. "There are some other networks that would be fantastic," he went on to say, "I mean the CW is great, ABC Family has some really good content which is more mature would build my fans." Maslow is currently taking meeting for upcoming projects and once BTR is over Maslow said, "The ultimate goal is film, I'd love to do three or four films a year for the rest of my life."

You can catch Maslow and Big Time Rush live at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh as part of the "Summer Break Tour" on Thursday, July 18, 2013.


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