Mitchel Musso

Hannah Montana fans got some good news when the Disney Channel picked up the show for a fourth season. But that pick-up came with a "catch" — series regular Mitchel Musso is switching to recurring status for the new cycle. How will Oliver's absence be explained? As his self-titled CD debuts (shop Amazon.com), Musso pondered his future as a TV star and recording artist.

TVGuide.com: Congrats on Hannah Montana's Season 4 pick-up.
Mitchel Musso: Thank you! We're all so, so stoked because this is our last week [in production] on Season 3, so we were kind of nervous, like, "This is going to be it." But then we got the call.

TVGuide.com: You're switching to recurring status next season. Was that dictated by the show's upcoming change-of-setting, or did you want time to spend on your other projects?
Musso: In the last episode of Season 3, Oliver leaves on a six-month tour, so I might miss the first couple weeks of [Season 4]. But other than that, you'll see me. And I'll be back with a lot more music. So yes, I'm taking a little time off to work on my music, but I have a bunch of new acting gigs coming up, too. I can't talk about them just yet, but keep your ears open.

TVGuide.com: You purposely took your time with your first CD, saying you didn't want to be one of those young stars who churn out an album just to do it. Was it worth the wait?
Musso: It was definitely worth the wait, because I feel much more prepped. I can go into a studio and I know ProTools, all the editing software. I know how to make a song by myself, and that's where I wanted to be. I wanted to be an artist before I was an artist.

TVGuide.com: Which song on your album speaks most to you?
Musso: "Us Against the World," which is a duet with me and Katelyn Tarver. It might be the edgiest song on the record, but that's where my head is at in music. It's a very MGMT sound, involving rock and dance and electro and hip-hop all in one. It's a Romeo and Juliet story about nobody wanting you to be together, but it's worth it to try. It's a great message with a great sound. It's my sound. My second album, that's what it's all going to be about. 

TVGuide.com: A few of these songs are about gaining and losing girlfriends. Did you have to give anyone from your life a heads-up?
Musso: Well, yeah. I think it's cool to write about certain people in your life and what's real and what's going on. But in my main single, "Hey," the chorus is, "Hey, I'm screaming at you/I don't care enough to write you a letter/Now that I'm doing better alone" — basically, "I'm better off without you, no matter what," and I would never say that to a girl. So that's just a song. Sometimes I feel like I'm taking on a role when I'm writing a song, and it doesn't always have to be true. I'm not sitting in my room crying with my guitar, writing a slow solo about a depressing breakup; that's not me. My songs are about girls, partying and being yourself.