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Interview:
Big Time Rush, Victoria Justice look at life beyond Nickelodeon
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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At different junctures in their affiliation with Nickelodeon, Summer Break Tour partners Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice are showing fans they've grown up a little.

For its third album, "24/Seven," Big Time Rush -- which formed for the Nick show of the name and, not unlike the Monkees, became a band in its own right -- took "a different approach" according to bassist Carlos Pena, Jr. "We went more with just music that felt good and didn't try to write for the radio," he explains. "Normally we would go in and overthink things; this time we jsut went in and said, 'What's fun? What makes you jump around and sing? Let's write a song about it. If it's garbage, let's toss it out. If not, we'll use it.' "

The strategy resulted in a No. 4 debut for the album on the Billboard 200 after its June release. Pena, 23, says the musical side of the quartet continues to solidify, so much so that he's sure "the music will definitely keep going" even after the TV show runs its course.

"I don't think Nickelodeon expected us to embrace the band side of it as much as we have," Pena says. "It's a very unique situation where people are like, 'Are they a real band or are they not real? Are they actors or musicians?' We've embraced every aspect of it and have made ourselves a real band, so I'm hoping we can make our longevity as a group last a little bit longer than the TV show."

Justice, meanwhile, wrapped up the three-year run of her "Victorious" series in February. The show allowed her to release three companion albums -- which launched the hits "Freak the Freak Out" and "Make It Shine" -- but she's using the summer tour to provide a transition from her Nickelodeon identity into her first proper solo album, which she`s in the midst of recording.

"I'm very excited for everyone to hear my own sound and who I am as an artist," says Justice, 20. "I've been cultivating it for awhile now, and I think it's definitely come time for me to reintroduce myself to people. I feel like now that the show's over, I've been talking about this solo album for awhile now so I really want to put something out so people can hear my new stuff.

"It's great now that I have more free time. It was hard before because I did a movie and my TV show was going, so I couldn't really juggle all of it. But now that I do have more time, I definitely will be focusing on (music) more."

The Summer Break Tour, with Big Time Rush, Victoria Justice, Olivia Somerlyn and Jackson Guthy, plays Saturday, Aug. 3, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $30-$89.50 pavilion, $20 lawn ($25 night of show) with a $60 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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