Mitchel Musso is an icon in the tween and teen world. He sings, he acts and, oh yeah, his character Oliver on the popular series Hannah Montana was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Mitchel Musso is an icon in the tween and teen world. He sings, he acts and, oh yeah, his character Oliver on the popular series Hannah Montana was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Just before Musso was in town last month to perform at the New Albany Classic, we randomly selected five kids who have type 1 diabetes to be part of our photo shoot. And although I really wanted ask Musso why diabetes was written into his character's story line, it was made clear by his agent that he wouldn't be talking about it. Not because Musso was being difficult, but because he felt he didn't know enough about it to speak publicly. Kind of responsible for a teen, I'd say.

Musso came to the interview walking ever so slowly toward me while texting. Then he stopped in front of me and texted. Then he sat down next to me and texted - which, to me, means this guy's more of a true teenager than an affected TV star. I promptly became Mom and told him to "put that thing away during a conversation, Mister," which drew some chuckles from his manager.

He was charming and affable, allowing me to throw question after question at him, even though his schedule was tight. He didn't rush me, and actually looked me in the eyes during the entire interview - something even my own teens haven't yet mastered.

Special thanks to Hinson Ltd. Public Relations, especially Mike Duffey, for allowing Columbus Parent Magazine to have this
interview.


Q Tell me how you got started in show biz.
My little brother was a J.C. Penney and Sears model when he was like, 4 or 5 and I was about 8 or 9. I was really jealous of how much attention he was getting, like, "man, that is so cool." He got so much attention from all these pretty girls because he was such a cute little kid.

I was, like, "I want to do that," and got into it. I ended up booking the first audition I went out on for Borden Milk. Of course I didn't book anything [for] 60 auditions after that but after doing that one gig I thought, "This is really cool; this is what I want to do." Did it, and now I'm here.

Q Where did the music come from?
The music actually came in before the acting. I was doing music at 6. I was playing the grand piano at 6, I was having recitals at about 8. At about 10, I got my first Gibson guitar. When I was about 12 or 13 I got my first Promaster drum set.

And it wasn't about being a singer or artist. I wanted to learn tempo, I wanted to learn key, I wanted to learn melody. I didn't want to come into "the scene." For years I've always told people I'm not a musician, I'm not a singer. I didn't want to be another one of those trying-to-be triple threats - kids who can sing and act and dance. That wasn't me. I learned Logic, Reason, Protools - these are all music editing software. So I can go into the studio, lay down all my tracks, lay down my vocals, edit and mix, all by myself.


Q Did your parents freak out when you got your ears pierced and your tattoos?
Not necessarily. We've always been pretty chill about that if it doesn't hurt anybody else. I'm not promoting it. I'm not telling kids to go out and get tattoos. I think that's stupid. You should wait until you're 18. I'm 18 so I'm legally allowed to get tattoos. I have one on my back that says Sam M. Unsurpassed - Sam M. is my dad, Samuel Musso, unsurpassed means can't be beat.

I have MMM for Mason, Mitchel and Mark, those are my brothers. I have one on my back right here and it's the only one for me. It's been a four-month tour. We've been on tour on a bus for months. And we still will be from the U.K. to Brazil and Mexico and everywhere else in between, outside the U.S. So I got the one on my back for me. You can see the MMM and it's holding a microphone. It's holding an old Frank Sinatra steel cage match microphone and that's my life.


Q Your self-titled band is opening for your brother's band, Metro Station. What's that like?
Yeah, we were on tour before this tour with Mason. It's awesome because me and Mason have a song together called Shout It [music video out now, Musso notes]. We just shot it on tour. All the Metro Station songs he wrote and so he's my icon. And so what do I listen to? I listen to Mason Musso.

We've had so much fun. I can't even imagine how much fun he's having right now [on tour] with Miley [Cyrus]. Twenty-five thousand people each night. They can sell out anywhere.

I always wanna show support to the fans. I love the fans so much and hopefully I get to see them on the road. They can definitely check out my MySpace: myspace.com/mitchelmusso, Facebook: facebook.com/ mitchelmusso, or my twitter, which is @mitchelmusso.

I'm constantly updating and keeping everybody posted on what's happening. And you can always check out official dates on Facebook or MySpace. That's the best place to find anything set in stone.


Q Any advice for kids that want to follow in your footsteps?
Follow your dreams, man. It's not original but the truth is if you work hard enough at something and that's what you want to do, just keep progressing; keep excelling. My friends who weren't anybody are now superstars. If you look at all the kids, we actually grew up in the same area. Demi [Lovato], Salena [Gomez], The Jonas Brothers - we're all from Texas.

These people had parents that were like, "do whatever you want. What do you want to be?"


Editor Staci Perkins blogs on ColumbusParent.com where she shares her everyday adventures as a single mom with four kids.