Being in a successful boy band and having a hit TV show is hard work. Just ask Kendall Schmidt of Big Time Rush. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Schmidt was singing by the age of three and acting by the time he was ten. In 2009, Schmidt was cast as the leader of the band Big Time Rush. Over the past three years, he and the rest of the actors/musicians began writing, recording and performing music outside of the Nickelodeon show, and over that time, they have sold almost four million singles and are putting together their third full-length album.
Speaking from a practice facility in Los Angeles and in anticipation of Saturday's show at Gexa Energy Pavilion, Schmidt was fairly candid about making the transition from boy band to adult pop act.
You are both an actor and a singer. Do you have a preference? I guess I don't have a preference. I definitely grew up acting. That's really the only thing that I've done my whole life. I love doing it, but I also love singing, even though that came into my life later on. It's something I think about all day. It's got to be a bit of both, but I really love music.
You're 21, but Big Time Rush is often identified as a "boy band." How does a boy band make the transition into an adult pop act? I think the transition is natural for us. The first album was a made-for-TV album. The second one we wrote and it helped establish more credibility. The most important thing is to make songs people can dance to and songs the kids who first started watching the show can still enjoy.
You look at a band like Hanson that seemed to have trouble making that transition. Do you worry about remaining popular and relevant? I don't know. I've never thought about the longevity of this band. We've just kind of went with working hard. As long as people support us, we will continue to do what we do. We are all young. We are all 21 and 22. There is plenty of time in life. We work well together and enjoy making music together. We spent 12 hours a day together for the last four years. We are better than best friends; we are brothers. Of course, we sometimes get sick of each other. I'm sick of them today, but I can't stay mad at any of them. I am sure we get on each other's nerves, but we've had the understanding to keep working hard.
Have you noticed a change in the demographics of the audiences? I imagine that early on it was just teenage girls who came to the shows. That's the thing we've had that is different from some other boy bands. We have a lot of boys from the age of 7 to 13. That's a market a lot of people don't have. Of course having four guys in the band is going to bring out the teenage girls. The audience now is really all ages. I've seen grandparents at our concerts. I've seen parents who are more excited than their kids.
You are writing and recording a new album. Any big changes in store? Not many differences, but this time we worked with a lot of different producers. With each producer, we get a new flavor in our music. We are about to go on the road for four months. Then we will be flying some people in and record more songs. We will see what interesting things we can come up with.
I read where the band made eight million dollars in 2011. Does the quick rise to stardom boggle your mind? Such success is a long way from growing up in Kansas. Where did you get that number?
From a number of sources. That's wonderful. That's a great number. Yes, that is a long way from Kansas. I grew up thinking that it would be great to play in front of 2,000 people. Now, I feel like I am running from show to show. I have to do it. I look at it as the coolest job in the world. It's definitely challenging.
Who is your favorite rock band? When I was a teenager, the band that really inspired me was Taking Back Sunday. Incubus is pretty much my all time favorite band. I think the Foo Fighters are one of the last great rock bands.
Could you be in a band that made music like the Foo Fighters? Of course, I can see myself playing whatever music goes through my head. Even before Big Time Rush, I was always writing music. I would have a rock song and then I would have an electronic song and then I would have a love song. My style is always changing. I would love to work with people like that one day. I've tried to get to play with John Mayer, but he is a busy guy.
You guys did a Christmas song with Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly. She can't really be that sweet and nice, can she? Yes, she is. I know that's disgusting. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
What about Katy Perry? Your video for the song "Windows Down" was number two to Perry's video for "Wide Awake." Don't you have to hate her? No, I love Katy Perry. I am a huge Katy Perry fan. To even be close to Katy Perry as far as music videos go is incredible. I hear that she is starting her own record label and that is pretty cool.