Joshua Bassett on New EP, Laughing Off Drama With Olivia Rodrigo and 'HSMTMTS' Season 2 (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
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Joshua Bassett is feeling amazing after the release of his self-titled debut EP. It's been a long road to finally have his six-song album drop and, as he tells ET's Katie Krause, he can't wait for people to hear it.
"I'm feeling really good," Bassett, 20, shares. "We've had this EP ready to go. It was supposed to release six months ago, so now that it's finally [come] out, I'm like, 'All right!' And plus, I wrote it over the last two years. So to finally get it off my chest, I'm excited and I can't wait for people to hear it."
Working on the songs for the last couple of years, people initially tied his music to an alleged breakup between him and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Olivia Rodrigo. Bassett, however, says that's not the case.
"I think the songs speak for themselves. That's really the truth," he says. "It's funny for me to see people speculate or make theories about things. I don't see a lot of it, but what I see, I'm like, 'Where are you getting this from?' It's so funny how people piece it together. But I get it. We're all in quarantine. Everybody's got nothing to do, so everyone's trying to make more meaning out of something than there is."
Bassett can't help but laugh off rumors that Rodrigo's "Driver’s License" was about him, and his song, "Lie Lie Lie" was a rebuttal.
"Plain and simple, It's just not," Bassett affirms, adding that he and Rodrigo even laughed about the drama that followed them amid the release of their music. "Of course, yeah. Olivia's amazing. We were filming the season throughout everything going on, and all is well. And we finished strong, and it was really great."
Bassett, meanwhile, notes that "Heaven Is You" was the last song he wrote for the EP and "has a special place in my heart."
"I wrote that one in the summer of last year while I was recording the rest of my EP. It was a last minute thing where my whole team was like, 'Oh, well, let's throw this one into the mix.' So we did," he explains, adding that it was inspired by, "When you find that person that is that idea of heaven that is in a physical body. Heaven is you. It's not this afterlife world that we get to. It's right in front of me. So that was kind of the inspiration."
When asked if it is about his rumored girlfriend Sabrina Carpenter, the actor replies, "No, it is not, but people are going to speculate whatever they're going to speculate."
As for what Carpenter's favorite song on his EP is? "I don't know if she's heard the whole EP, but I think 'Only a Matter of Time.' is her favorite. Pretty sure."
The two were expected to release a duet together titled, "We Both Know." The song was ultimately replaced with "Telling Myself" as to keep the focus on Bassett and not romance rumors.
"We just collaborated on a song. It has not come out," he explains. "We collaborated on that and a couple other ideas that we had. So maybe down the road we'll get together and put a song out there. But as of right now, there are no plans to do that…I don't have a day for you yet. We're figuring out the time and everything."
He does note that his collaboration with Carpenter, "Is one of my favorite songs that I've ever written, and I'm very excited and proud of the product."
Bassett also shares that he's currently working on a full-length album, saying, "I'm writing and recording right now."
Of course Bassett also touches on what fans can expect on Season 2 of HSMTMTS. While he can't share too many details, he says of his character Ricky, "You get to see a little bit more of the development of Ricky, as well as all the other characters."
"That's what's really cool about this season, is that we have more time now to sort of see... Everyone gets their own world," he explains. "You get to experience all the characters' lives and get a little bit of a snippet in each person. That's actually really exciting to me about the second season, is just how much more we get to see into each character's personal lives and how they intertwine. It's really cool."
He also shares that people "will feel things, I'll tell you that," when it comes to Ricky and Nini's (Rodrigo) relationship. The actor also shares that "people are going to have the ride of a lifetime" when it comes to the song and dance numbers.
"Going into Season 2, I think everyone was just excited to continue on this story. And honestly, I do believe that Season 2 is 10 times better than Season 1," he expresses. "And that's why I'm really excited about it because I think people who liked Season 1 are going to just absolutely adore Season 2."
Production on the new episodes has wrapped, and Bassett couldn't have been prouder of the work they all did.
"We all got together, socially distanced, and the producer put on all of the song and dance numbers from the season. So we all got together and watched that, and it was the most beautiful experience," he recalls. "Everyone was crying and laughing and cheering, and it was just such a beautiful experience. Despite all the limitations that we had, we persevered and we did this. So that was a really special moment."
Watch the video above for even more from ET's interview with Bassett. His new EP is out now.