Talking to Austin Mahone on the phone is basically the same as winning the lottery. Out of the 22 million Mahomies that follow the Young Money-signed singer’s every move, we were the lucky ones who got to pick up the phone, and ask him everything we’ve ever wanted to know about what he likes, what he dreams about, and what happens behind the scenes when he’s touring the world. Luckily for you, we took extensive notes. From the songs he’ll be playing through his headphones this summer (he has Chris Brown and Michael Jackson on deck), what he’s doing to improve on his songwriting skills, and even what he has to say to one special Mahomie named Bailey Brooke: check out our interview with Austin Mahone below.
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What motivates you on a daily basis?
I have a lot of goals and dreams that I want to accomplish. On top of the dreams and goals, I have the fans who are always pushing me, going to the shows, getting the music. And I have my love for music in general—all three of those aspects combined make me realize that I want to do this forever.
We are giving you three musical fairy god-parents. Alive or dead, who would you choose?
First pick, anyone would choose Michael Jackson, of course. I would say Chris Brown. I’m a huge Chris fan, he’s my favorite artist. And Drake.
How has your process for writing music changed as your fan base has grown over the years?
My love for writing music has grown. In the beginning, I wasn’t writing my own music. We would have producers send stuff in, so I would sing their songs. Now that I’m getting older I’m starting to build relationships with writers and producers and really write my own stuff. When I’m home, I spend a lot of time in my studio writing and producing. The more I do it, the more my writing is getting better. I’m still trying to figure it out. What I have struggled with when I try to write songs is that I always over-think it. I psych myself out and then I can’t get anything down. I think you have to get all of your ideas down, no matter whether they’re good or not. You can always go back and pick out the best stuff. In the moment, you can’t worry about what you’re putting down; you just have to write from the heart.
If you could only listen to 5 songs for the rest of the summer, what would they be?
“5 More Hours,” by Chris Brown, my new single “Dirty Work,” coming out this summer, “All Summer Long,” by Kid Rock, I’m going to say “Forever,” by Chris Brown—I love Chris. And lastly, I’m going to say “The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Michael Jackson.
Describe the best party you’ve ever attended?
Man, to be honest there aren’t too many parties where I live North of Miami. When I’m in LA I go to label parties and that kind of stuff. I’m not really into the party scene, I prefer to just stay in the shadows and make music.
Countless hours go into rehearsing, interacting with fans, planning launches and recording new music. At the same time, you are living out a dream that has taken you around the world, and given you a platform to reach millions of people. At this stage, how do you balance working hard with enjoying your success?
I’m in a place where I’m trying to take this and make it grow as much as possible. I’m confident on the road, I love traveling and seeing new places. Even when I’m working and I’m on the road I feel like that’s time to have fun. I’m with my friends flying all over the world. Even though I’m working and performing it’s kind of like I’m on vacation. It’s all about just living in the moment for me.
We can all remember our first concert. Describe yours?
The first concert I ever went to was a Kenny Chesney concert. I’m from Texas and country music is huge out there.
Bailey Brooke might be the youngest, most enthusiastic Mahomie on earth. Would you be down to share a special message for her with us?
I know who you’re talking about! Bailey, I love your videos. I think you’re really adorable and cute. I’m glad you love my music and hopefully I’ll get to meet you someday.
Walk us through your pre-show ritual. Team chant? Stretching? Good luck charm?
There’s pretty much all of that except for the good luck charm. We stretch, we listen to music, we get focused and everyone says a little prayer. Then we have a little chant and we go out.
What’s your chant?
We go, “Turn up, turn up, turn up, ahh—BOOM.”
In an alternate universe where you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be out on the streets or something like that if I didn’t have music. It’s all I know, it’s everything I’ve got. My mom always wanted me to be—what are those people called who build houses and schools and stuff?
No, not a carpenter. Something dealing with math, and I’m terrible at math so I’m glad I found something I’m good at.
Yeah, an architect!
Describe the situation that made you the most nervous you’ve ever been in your life?
When I was getting ready for the VMAs in 2013, that was a big deal. It was one of my first big entrances as an artist. I performed at the VMAs and it was pretty crazy. I usually bite my nails when I’m nervous.
Are you a one-flavor of Slurpee kind of guy or a mixer? And, more importantly, do you add candy?
I’ve never added candy before, but I’m definitely going to try that now that you mention it. My favorite flavor is probably Blue Raspberry, closely followed by Coke.