Kendall Schmidt of Heffron Drive – An Introspective Look into Parallel!

By: Robert Cavuoto


Kendall Schmidt – photo by Rob Cavuoto

Kendall Schmidt, star of Nickelodeon’s hit television series, Big Time Rush, has just released his first single; “Parallel” from his new band Heffron Drive with guitarist Dustin Belt.

Heffron Drive is a young band building on something big and showcasing their versatility as diverse musicians and entertainers.

Kendall and Dustin exemplifies a new model of musician-as-entrepreneur, controlling his own career path by independently releasing his single. With the help of TuneCore’s comprehensive platform for Music Distribution, Heffron Drive will get their music heard around the world.

In my interview with Kendall, he explains to me how personal this new song is to him and his strategy for testing the water with singles before releasing a full length CD.


Robert Cavuoto: Congrats on the release of your new single, “Parallel”, it’s a great song. How is it doing on the charts for its first day?

Kendall Schmidt: Thank you, I appreciate that. It is somewhere around 25 on the pop charts, which is really great for not having that much promotion behind it. It will be cool to see what happens when it’s starting to get ads on the radio.

Robert: It sounds like a very personal song. Tell me a little about how it came about?

Kendall Schmidt: Yeah, it’s definitely personal. There are two experiences that I can think of where the lyrics were being drawn from. There are a lot of people on the planet, and sometimes they get along well, yet at other times it can be difficult.  The song talks about the possibilities when the stars do align, and everything comes together for one shot at love to take place.

Robert: I saw you play at Webster Hall in December 2013, I don’t recall you playing this “Parallel”.

Kendall Schmidt: I didn’t play it at all during this last tour. For me, it was just trying to decide what I thought would be a great for a first foot in the door for people to hear something different from me. A song that sounds like me and not everyone else. It definitely took some time, but I thought that this was the closest one.

Robert: You mentioned to me that you had a lot of demos created before joining Big Time Rush. Was this something new or is this something that already existed?

HeffronDriveKendall Schmidt: I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it but it’s definitely within the last five months.

Robert: Why tease the fans with just one song? I think everybody’s waiting for a CD.

Kendall Schmidt: That’s another good question. I wanted to see what the reaction would be. I wanted to see what people thought about this song in particular. So, I can decide what other songs I wanted to put together in a group.

Robert: I think this song really allows you to showcase a different side to your music as compared to the live show which was more rock oriented. I’m curious why a ballad?

Kendall Schmidt: I have all kinds of sides. I guess the tone of “Parallel” is sort of melancholy, coming from a melancholy place. There have been songs I’ve written when I was younger that are all reggae and Rasta.

Who knows what people react will be? I have no idea, but it was what I thought would be the most easy-to-understand representation of the kind of music that I like, and what I like to perform.

Robert: Are you planning to release more singles?

Kendall Schmidt: I suppose I could do another single and then put out a CD based on the power of the two or three singles. Obviously, the CD would be announced before the third one comes out. That’s something that I’m trying to be a little strategic about.

Robert: I feel that in the pop world it’s more common place to put out singles rather than full CDs. What are the pros and are there any cons to this?

Kendall Schmidt: I think there’s obviously both. I think a con maybe that some people just like buying CDs. Some people don’t like buying singles, maybe more “old school”? I feel like if I hear a single that I really like, I just buy the album anyway because why not? It’s probably a good CD?

But, I don’t think that’s the most common person in the world. Some kids are buying songs off gift cards with only $6.99. Getting an album for them is difficult when they can only get six songs from different artists. I think it’s a generational thing.

At least the first couple of songs I put out, I kind of figured it would be smart to do them in singles and see whatever people think about them. I can then collect my thoughts, because I have all kinds of songs. You saw my shows; it could really be anything. That’s why I don’t want them to all sound the same, but I want it to be able to have it somehow tie together – at least the first two songs.


Kendall Schmidt – photo by Robert Cavuoto

Robert: That’s an interesting perspective; I didn’t look at it like that.

Kendall Schmidt: I think it’s anyone up to maybe going to college. After that, you go to college; you have a credit card, even if you don’t have the money to pay for it, to buy an album. [Laughter]

Robert: On Twitter you changed your profile photo to the single’s artwork. Is there any significance to tying the artwork and the song together?

Kendall Schmidt: Well, I guess it’s an abstract representation of what the song is. I took that photo in Mexico and did this cool design work with an app. Then it became even more abstract. We had a high-definition version created, so it would be artwork-cover worthy.

Robert: So you’re multi-talented, doing music and art? [Laughter]

Kendall Schmidt: I got a lucky shot on the sunset. I think it represents the song being abstract and having introspective lyrics.

Robert: Tell what has been the highlight for you in reigniting Heffron Drive?

Kendall Schmidt: Today is definitely a highlight. Putting out the first song and actually seeing it for sale is really cool. I have a lot of awesome friends who helped me by tweeting about it making people aware who might not have known.

Doing the last Heffron Drive tour and playing bits of Heffron Drive songs during the Big Time Rush tour in South America was awesome. With Big Time Rush slowing down and not being 365 days; all four of us have to do something. I was like, “I want to do music; I want to play all the places that we’ve played with Big Time Rush, now with my own band.


Robert: Speaking of touring, what are your touring plans for Heffron Drive?

Kendall Schmidt: We just did a South American tour with Big Time Rush. With Heffron Drive, I think it’s just dependent on the next three months of music. I’m actually seeing if I can open for somebody. I think it would be really cool to go on a really good tour.

Robert: When we saw you at Webster Hall, you seemed really excited about playing all of your songs. Is there one song that you enjoy playing more than the others?

Kendall Schmidt: I like an older song called “Better Get to Movin’ “and “Time Wasting” which we play at the end of the set.

Robert: I really liked “One Track Mind” live.

Kendall Schmidt: “One Track Mind” is nuts live. That’s a whole different kind of thing. What makes it fun is because it’s in the middle of the set surrounded by all these acoustic songs. “One Track Mind,” is like electronic rock-step in a way. You can imagine my predicament in trying to pick which songs to put out.

Robert: When last spoke talked, we talked about guitar collection; I recently read that you picked up a new guitar? Is that true?

Kendall Schmidt: Yeah, I just got a Custom Shop Martin from GC Pro. Dude, it’s incredible. I wanted to get acoustic electric, because I like being able to plug in and not have to worry about having manual pickups put in the guitar.

Robert: What’s your prediction for James Maslow on Dancing With The Stars?

Kendall Schmidt: He doing well. He’s going to make it to the finals. I can guarantee you he’s going to work hard enough to get there. It’s a reality show; so anything could happen.

Robert: My daughter Cassandra, who you met a few times, has the last question. Which Big Time Rush CD is your favorite and why?

Kendall Schmidt: Hi Cassandra – I love 24/Seven, but Elevate is my favorite, just because the songs are really cool, and I like the artwork a lot, as well.

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