UltimateDisney.com > Interviews > Mitchel Musso, "Hannah Montana"/musical performer on Snow Buddies

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Mitchel Musso Interview

Hannah Montana's friend dives into his own musical act
with a cover of "Lean on Me" in Disney's Snow Buddies

By Amy Braun

As a core cast member of Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana", Mitchel Musso is part of the rarest of basic cable shows, one which has earned regular national attention while developing into a multimedia empire of children's entertainment. But the 16-year-old Musso, best known to the public as Oliver Oken (one of the few friends in on Miley's big secret double life), is not content with holding just the one steady highly visible acting gig.

Like co-star and friend Miley Cyrus, Musso has musical ambitions. Such ambitions surfaced last holiday season when Musso was on the bill for four stops on the Radio Disney Jingle Jam Concert Tour.
Mitchel Musso enjoys the company of dogs in his "Lean on Me" music video from the "Snow Buddies" DVD.
This year, Musso's singing can be found on the DVD release of Snow Buddies, Disney's strongly-selling latest installment in the series of family films that began with Air Bud. For the movie, Musso performs a cover of Bill Withers' famous "Lean on Me." The music video is among the DVD's bonus features.

In addition to live-acting and singing, Musso has done some noteworthy voice acting, as the lead character of the Oscar-nominated Monster House (2006) and the recurring character Jeremy (Candace's love interest) on Disney's "Phineas and Ferb."

In conjunction with the debut of Snow Buddies, UltimateDisney.com recently spoke with Mitchel about his new song, his blossoming music career, "Hannah Montana", and his plans for the future.

UltimateDisney.com: How did recording "Lean on Me", your song from Snow Buddies, come about?

Mitchel Musso: Let's see, Disney called and said, "Well, Mitchel, we know that you're into music and we have this new movie coming out we're going to do a music video for, a remake of 'Lean on Me.' Do you want to do it?" And I was like "Yeah, of course!" The demo wasn't exactly what it is today. We definitely mixed it a little bit more, put a little more hip-hop in it. And I beatboxed throughout it on some stuff. It was fun.

Is "Lean on Me" one of your favorite songs?

I definitely grew up listening to "Lean on Me", so it's definitely one of those songs that is not easily forgotten.

How was making the music video?

It was awesome. Everybody was so cool. One of the best days I've ever had on a set was shooting "Lean on Me", because everybody was so cool and,
the whole time, there are a bunch of little golden retrievers. I love dogs, so a bunch of little puppies just running around and me doing my thing... it was awesome.

Not only did you record "Lean on Me" for Snow Buddies, but you also performed on the Radio Disney Jingle Jam tour last year. Are you planning on making an album?

I am planning on making an album! We're actually in the middle of making an album.

Who are your musical influences and what can we expect on the album?

Let's see, what are my musical influences? I love Aerosmith. I love my brother's band, Metro Station -- my older brother is amazing, absolutely amazing. I love Miley [Cyrus], of course -- she's great. She has such an incredible voice. So, yeah, those are probably my three favorites.

If you could remake any other song, which would you choose?

Actually, I'm in the middle of remaking another song. [Mitchel checks to see if he can reveal what song he's covering. He can't, but his publicist reveals he'll be joined by "a very special guest artist... who we're very good friends with." Hmm...]

Has being a part of "Hannah Montana" contributed to your interest in music?

I think it definitely helps, but I've always loved music.

Speaking of "Hannah Montana",
Mitchel Musso appears as Oliver Oken in a lunchroom scene from one of the first episodes of "Hannah Montana."
the newest DVD One in a Million contains episodes featuring celebrity guest stars. How was it working with Vicki Lawrence, Dolly Parton, the Jonas Brothers, and Selena Gomez?

Great! They're all amazing. You know, I grew up with them on my TV, Dolly and Vicki. So it's been really cool, very exciting and fun. It makes you feel like a star when you get to work next to people like that.

Can you tell us anything about any upcoming episodes of "Hannah Montana"?

I know there's a very, very serious episode coming up. I don't know if I'm even allowed to talk about it. Something happens to Oliver, and it's very intense. I mean, of course there's funny stuff, but it is serious too.

How is voicing Jeremy on "Phineas and Ferb"? Are you having fun with that?

Oh, I love Jeremy! I actually just did a song for Jeremy.

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Jeremy has a band come out in the future and it'll be awesome. I got to do a song with him, and it was really fun. And, of course, working with Ash, Ashley [Tisdale]. I've known her for the past six years of my life. Very cool.

Would you ever like to voice a character for another animated feature film, like you did for Monster House?

Yeah, sure, if given the opportunity, absolutely. I love animation. I love live screen stuff, too, but I mean animation is one of those things that you can go as crazy and wild as you want and no one ever sees what you really look like, you know? If you only knew (laughs)... I look ridiculous in the recording studio. But it turns out all right, so...

How was it competing in the Disney Channel Games, and would you want to participate in that again?

Other than that I feel really bad that I win every time, it's great. I will try to compete this year. I know I've got a lot of stuff going on, but we are trying.

I hear that your dog is named Stitch. Did you name him after the Disney character?

I didn't name him after the Disney character. I named him after me! Mitch and Stitch. But it turns out Stitch is a Disney character, and that's just, you know, even cooler.

What's your favorite Disney movie?

Oh, The Lion King, for sure! I probably watched that four times a day when I was at the age of, like, four to ten.

What are your goals for the future?

Right now, music. Music and working on movies. And that's kind of my life, my passion, and I'm going to keep it up until something happens.

I really appreciate you sitting down and talking with me!

Well, thank you so much for having me!

Snow Buddies DVD cover art
More on Snow Buddies:
Read our interview with Snow Buddies star Dominic Scott Kay
Read our full DVD review
Buy the DVD from Amazon.com

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Interview with Brenda Song of "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody"
High School Musical 2 DVD Premiere Report, with red carpet interviews of Disney Channel cast members
Interview with Michael Angarano, star of Sky High

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Article published February 27, 2008.