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“Sometimes I have a million words to say. Other times, I just want to listen.”

Five years ago, Ross Lynch was cast to play teen popstar Austin Moon on Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally. After the show premiered, life imitated art, and suddenly, the Colorado native found himself thrust into superstardom, his face plastered on teen magazines all over the world. But it only takes a few minutes to realize that there’s much more to Ross Lynch than the heartthrob title that’s been bestowed upon him. “I’m known for being outgoing, but at times I can be really introverted,” he says. “Sometimes I can have a million words to say and then other times, I don’t want to talk at all and I just want to listen. It’s like what Jimi Hendrix says: ‘Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.’ Sometimes I’ve got the knowledge; sometimes I just want to learn.”

In many ways, the 19-year-old could be considered an anomaly. Because during the time he was portraying a manufactured popstar on a children’s series, he was, in reality, fronting a legitimate rock band while evolving into a prolific songwriter.  And through it all, he managed to stay, well – refreshingly normal. “Because it was a closed set, you’re just kind of doing your thing,” he says. “You’re acting, you’re with your friends, and we’re all buddies just having a good time doing what we do. It’s almost like you’d forget you were famous. But then sometimes we’d step out to The Grove, a mall close to set, and people would start taking pictures and freaking out. The only time I have those kinds of experiences is either at an R5 show or at a shopping mall. Other than that, I’m pretty good at staying away from the world and just being human.”

And it was those human experiences that provided the inspiration for R5’s sophomore album, which was primarily written and recorded in the band’s garage. “I was finishing up the last season of Austin & Ally, Riker was doing Dancing With the Stars, and Rocky was spending hours and hours in the studio making all these templates for me to come home and write on,” says Ross. “And it just really worked. There was something about the atmosphere. Maybe it was the fact that we had experiences with not only music, but also just life experiences of going out in the world.”

Of the ten songs R5 created, seven ended up on Sometime Last Night. “Usually when you’re making an album, you write like 50,” says Ross. “I can’t imagine what those songs would sound like if we had more time.” Both sonically and lyrically, Sometime Last Night marks a natural, if not welcome progression from 2013’s pop-laden Louder, which was recorded when most of the band was still in their teens. “There are artists whose reason for changing their music is because they want to be cool,” says Ross. “It’s not because they love that type of music. With us, I can tell you genuinely – I love Led Zeppelin! And I love The Beatles and Queen and all those classic rock bands that are so iconic. That’s the reason that we’re playing the music that we are.”

To say that Ross is passionate about music would be an understatement. “Falling in love with music was honestly – I don’t remember a time not loving music,” he shares. “There’s something about the way it makes you feel and the way it makes you move. Imagine a movie without music. It could be the best movie ever, but if it doesn’t have a score or soundtrack, it’s going to be boring. It’s so cool how sound waves go through the air and suddenly you feel something. Cause music tells you how to feel. And I just love it, man.”

But while he’s always loved music, the same can’t be said about performing in public. “To tell you the truth, I was afraid of the stage,” he reveals. “When I was younger, there was no way I was getting up there. You had to bribe me with all sorts of things! In our basement, I was a stud – I would perform for everybody! But when it came to actually getting onstage in front of people I didn’t know, I was the worst. And I guess over the years, doing it over and over and over again, I just got really comfortable. And now I don’t even flinch before going out onstage. It’s almost like second nature.”

Another thing that’s like second nature to Ross, along with the rest of the band, is the concept of self-evaluation. “Happiness is big, especially in our family,” he explains. “That’s what all of us are searching for, is just happiness. It’s something my dad has done throughout his life, and so it’s naturally something we do as well – just trying to be your best self. I think it’s really important, and I think if everyone adopted that policy, the world would probably be a better place.”

Ross and the band believe in the power of positive thinking. “Riker and my dad practice optimism – they figure out how to be happy in pretty much any circumstance,” says Ross. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of things we can’t change about the world. So whatever situation we’re in, we look on the bright side, and make the best of it.”





Photographer: Joe Magnani

Story by: Colleen Broomall

Hair: Matilde Campos

Styling: Robiat Balogun

Grooming: Joseph Adivari 


Sometime Last Night With R5

Rydel’s Cover Story

Riker’s Cover Story

Ellington’s Cover Story

Rocky’s Cover Story

Rydellington: The Cover Story


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