Visual Tales: Thanks for doing our shoot and spend a day with us. You recently relocated from Oceanside, California to NYC. How are you adjusting to life in the BIG APPLE and how is it different from living on the West Coast? What motivated you to make the move?
Joshua Bassett: I’m absolutely loving it here! I always knew there was something about the energy here that inspired me; and I decided, hell! I’m 20! Let’s give it a go!
VT: You started your career in the entertainment industry at a very young age of 7, from all the years of performing and perfecting your craft (numerous musical productions), what are some of the key lessons you learned from performing?
JB: A key thing I honed while growing up in musical theatre was learning how to trust my instincts. Also, I learned how to not be embarrassed. If you can lose the fear of falling flat on your face, you’re no longer at the mercy of the situation. No matter what happens you figure out how to roll with it.
VT: You signed your recording contract last year (April 2020) with Warner Records, just right after the covid pandemic began. Signing with a major label for the first time, you must be so excited to begin your new musical journey with promoting, performing, and touring. Due to the pandemic, everyone and everything, became a holding pattern for a long while, how did this unexpected break affect you?
JB: It actually gave me more time to work harder on my music and writing. My mental health, on the other hand, has been quite the rollercoaster. Like everyone else, my life a year ago feels almost unrecognizable— in a good way! I feel like I’ve grown so much in the last year and am looking forward to sharing that with the world!
VT: You recently share on your social media your views on toxicity, hatred, and negativity. The current times we are living in, mental health and cancel culture has become a major forefront topic, another epidemic in itself. Being a public figure yourself with a huge following, it appears that everything you do, the media and press are ready to make their judgment. What are your views on this?
JB: Oh boy- a fun question! People who spend their time tearing others down on the internet are either in pain or bored. My lyric “why would you make your pain mine,” from my song “Only A Matter of Time,” is a favorite, because it hopefully illustrates how people often don’t realize that making someone else feel pain as a way of coping with your own pain, helps precisely no-one. I think people also forget there are human beings, just like themselves, behind the screens. Because everything is so fast-paced and immediate, there’s often little time for empathy. It’s important to remember the weight of our words, and the lasting impact they have.
VT: Songwriting: How did you discover your love of writing and performing? Share with us the process of writing your songs.
JB: I believe the first song I wrote was to ask a girl to Formal, but the process changes every single time (literally every time). Lightning can strike while you’re on a walk or in the shower, and it’s just my job to capture all of it and write it down!
VT: Are there songwriters or recording artists you are influenced by? Who are they and why they are important to you.
JB: Ed Sheeran, Kacey Musgraves, Billy Joel, Carol King, John Mayer, Adele, Paul McCartney, you name it! I grew up listening to these iconic artists and have them to thank for getting me through most of my life!
VT: You recently released a new vibrant track entitled Feel Something. A lot of artists these days tend to write from their personal experiences or their stance in what they believe in. In your songwriting, do you set a limitation as to how much you want to reveal, or do you feel it is an artist’s right to say whatever is on their mind and share it with the public?
JB: I don’t think there should be limitations in how an artist chooses to express themselves; that said I’m always personally mindful of how my lyrics might be received. I recognize the weight and impact my words have, so I make sure to be intentional with every word!
VT: You also self-directed a cool music video of the track with some of your close friends, what was that experience making that video like? What prompt you to want to direct your own music video?
JB: Once my team decided we were gonna go for a music video, I thought “Well, you know exactly what you want, there’s no time to find a director, why not give it a go?” I could not have done it without my creative/co-director Sarah Carpenter! I told my friends “The goal is to have one of the best nights of our lives, and hopefully capture it on camera”. And we did just that from 5:30PM-5:30AM!
VT. You star as Richard “Ricky” Bowen, in the Disney Plus’ High School Musical: The Musical: The Series), from watching the show, it must be so much fun (but hard work) to be a part of a musical tv series. What is it like behind the scenes doing a show like this?
EH: There are a lot of moving parts! On any given day we go from a dance rehearsal to filming, to a vocal recording, to a promo shoot! It’s definitely a lot of work, but when it’s the best job on the planet, you don’t mind being stretched a little thin!
VT: From viewing the comments on your social media, you have the most loyal and supporting group of fans. With all of this adulation, how do you view the fixation of social media culture, fame, and popularity?
JB: I love the Bo Burnham quote “Haters gonna hate, lovers gonna love. You need to reject both sides of the spectrum to leave a... healthy middle.” It’s so true that you cannot put your value (or lack-there-of) in other people’s opinions of you. 1, because their opinion has everything to do with them, and very little to do with you. And 2, because it can, and will, change on a dime.
VT: We are sure more new music is coming... What’s your vision down the road, music-wise, where would u like to head towards?
JB: I am open to any and all things! Trying new things, pushing my previous limits, all that fun stuff! Stoked for people to hear what I’ve been working on!
VT. Our new issue’s theme is HEAVEN! In your world, what’s heavenly to you?
JB: Well… according to my song “Heaven is You”, it’s YOU. People really are divine. We seek pleasure, enjoyment, and worth outside of ourselves, but rarely do we recognize the magic in the mirror. We are perfectly whole and worthy of love as ourselves.
SOME RANDOM QUESTIONS:
If you could invite someone, past or present, to have a lengthy talk about songwriting in general, who would u invite and why?
Paul McCartney! Cause, duh!!!
Who are some recording artists you would love to collaborate within the near future?
Kacey Musgraves! Or Ed Sheeran! Or both!!!
Is there a song out there that someone else has written that you wish you would have written cause it spoke to you?
“When We Were Young” by Adele!
From our shoot, we discovered your love of wearing rings. How many do you personally own? What’s are some of your personal favorites?
I don’t have too many, but I recently bought a Buddha ring! Only problem is that I’m allergic to nickel (random, I know) so I can’t wear it for very long!
What’s the most nerve-wracking thing you've ever done?
I think performing in front of 8,000 theatre kids in Atlanta, Georgia! I got to play and sing live and was a wee bit nervous!
If u have the option to star in a remake of a musical, which role/musical would u choose? I really love “Catch Me if You Can”, I loved the musical when I saw it in San Diego but it totally flopped on Broadway! Could be cool to re-work it and bring it back to life!
A Different Tune