Big Time Rush – The Music Sounds Better with Elevate
by Deborah Wagner
Originally posted on December 1, 2011.
What do you get when you take four friends from Minnesota, fly them to Los Angeles and try to make them pop stars? The answer would be Big Time Rush (a.k.a. BTR) – a Nickelodeon hit TV show, lots of laughs, hit records, concert tours and so much more. With a well-received hour long sneak peak that aired in November 2009, the official debut of BTR broke records in January 2010 when it was watched by nearly seven million viewers, making it Nickelodeon’s most successful live action premiere ever.
Inspired by the 1960’s hit comedy The Monkees, creator Scott Fellows led an extensive search for four very specific castmates. After two exhausting years, and many, many auditions, he chose his dream cast – which consists of James Maslow as James Diamond, Carlos Pena as Carlos Garcia, Logan Henderson as Logan Miller and Kendall Schmidt as Kendall Knight. Judging from the show’s popularity and sold-out concert tours, all of that hard work is already paying off.
Currently in its second season, BTR has been signed for a third season due to start production in early 2012. Like the Monkees before them, every episode of Big Time Rush is jam packed with music, jokes and comedic adventures. Fans tune in each week to see what kind of trouble the foursome will get into – and better yet, out of – during their rise to stardom. Filmed in Hollywood, the series’ plots often revolve around their fictitious record label Rocque Records and The Palm Woods where they live. Beyond the four leads, other recurring main characters that fans love include Gustavo Rocque (Steven Kramer Glickman) a zany record producer, his assistant Kelly Wainwright (Tanya Chisholm) and Katie Knight (Ciara Bravo), Kendall’s sister.
With brilliant marketing behind the show, many episodes end with music clips or full videos of the boys. This all seems to add to the excitement for fans who definitely appreciate the guys’ musical talents. After releasing their first album titled BTR in October 2010, the group just released their second album Elevate to rave fan reviews. The first single “Music Sounds Better With U” is already climbing the charts.
As an opening act for a sold-out concert tour this past summer, BTR performed for hundreds of thousands of screaming fans. After recently announcing their first headlining tour to promote Elevate, most major markets sold out within minutes – quite an accomplishment for four guys who didn’t even know each other three years ago.
Nominated for several Kids’ Choice and Nickelodeon Awards this year, BTR is doing something right in the eyes of their very loyal fan base. And while the show might never be thought of as “art” by some critics, BTR – the show, the group and the business commodity – continue to show no sign of slowing down any time soon. Recently when we had a few minutes to talk to group member James Maslow, we got right down to some of the questions our readers really wanted answered about the hottest boy band to hit the charts and the TV in years.
Before the start of Big Time Rush in 2009, did you consider yourself more of an actor or a singer?
It’s hard to say. I grew up singing. Initially I was in choirs and I always had more of a poppy voice. That’s what got me into theatre, which got me in to acting. So, at that time, I was transitioning into film and TV and really focusing on that, but music was always a big part of me and my background. If you asked me now which I liked better I’d have to say I’m really lucky because I can do both, so I don’t have to choose.
When the group was formed, how did you land the part of James Diamond?
I was in the first audition of a two-year process. So, it was just like any other show except multiplied by many more additions. They shot a pilot a year in and then recast. They had so many people and got Kendall. Logan was in the first round. Carlos in the third round. It was a long process and it was pretty tedious. After all that, you’d imagine someone would have hopes for a great amount of success. I definitely expected something, but this has really blown my expectations away. It has really exceeded everyone’s hopes.
Wow! Two years is pretty intense!
Yes, they definitely wanted to find everybody who could have a legitimate music career and could be legitimate actors, and maybe dance a little bit – although I must say (laughs) that was the least of the requirement. Beyond that, Scott Fellows – the creator of the show – also really wanted genuinely nice kids and good people. I can vouch for all of the guys that they have come from good families and are normal people and are great guys. That’s why we still get along after four years of doing this.
I was going to mention that in my next question – you all seem to get along great. Do you have as much fun off screen as you do on screen?
I think the quality of fun is definitely different. I’m 21 off screen and on screen (laughs) you know, we’re not. But yeah, we have a ton of fun together. Most of the time we are in a different city. Like today we are in New York and I’m from here and happen to have some friends, but the majority of the time it’s just us four and our crew and that’s who we end up hanging out with. I’m lucky these guys actually are my friends.