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The Glee Project Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with eliminated contestant Bryce Ross-Johnson on June 13, 2011 about the show The Glee Project.

Bryce

Question:
The mentors, Robert, Zach and Nikki, seemed so incredibly supportive. Can you talk about your experiences working with each of them?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
Robert is just like basically heaven on earth. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met and sincere and he's exactly the way he comes off on camera, off camera, same person. Nikki is great too. She's beautiful, she's sweet, she's great at what she does. And she's not afraid to give you a little push or a little bit of a hard time and make sure that you do it right because she doesn't mess around as nice as she is, she won't baby you. And the same can be said for Zach, he's very interesting, entertaining guy. He's a character himself, he could be on Glee. I don't think he liked me too much off the bat but I feel like we kind of came back around a little bit more of an understanding later on kind of off camera.

Question:
It seemed on camera like you were eliminated more for your attitude then your talent. Do you regret asking to make that change during the video shoot?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
No, not at all because from what I've heard and what I felt like and what I saw I didn't see the attitude in what I did. I saw that it could be annoying to have somebody ask to change something during the filming but I didn't see where it looked like I was giving him grief to say. And my part would have been weird because it was different even before that. The part that you saw me changing wasn't even the original thing. The thing that he gave me before got changed got changed the day that we were filming it and so but what he changed it to was weird to me so I suggested another thing which is I guess it was annoying to him. I think maybe from him working so much and having so much to do that anybody giving him extra work to have to do would seem frustrating and I was just that person.

Question:
People were definitely surprised about your elimination based on the last of your performances for Ryan and Robert and Zach. Were you surprised too?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
I actually thought that I was going to be the one that went home based on a few things that were kind of off camera. I felt like I was the only one that had a song that challenged them range wise vocally. If it hadn't been for Damien not knowing the words to the song which Ryan Murphy didn't know it would have been a pretty easy song for him to sing. The lyrics is what made it difficult. And the same for Ellis, it was right in her range but they wanted her to kind of sex it up a little bit.

Mine was the only song that I really had to push and stretch to reach the things. And after watching the episode I thought I did a really good job but during the filming I was so down on myself and thought that Ryan wasn't that impressed. I knew Zach didn't like me very much so I was pretty confident that I was going home. It was just actually seeing it on paper that was shocking. I didn't know how it was going to go down.

I didn't know I was going to be reading if off paper. I didn't know if they were going to be telling me or if they were going to explain it to me. So that was a little hard to be the first one to find out because now everybody else at least how it goes down because everyone came into the room and said goodbye to me. But I kind of was the guinea pig of that. And that was a little - that was a little tough to deal with. But I had a great send off and at least they made me look good at the end I think. And it was definitely tough to see that. That was a little bit of a surprise.

Question:
Even though you weren't there very long do you feel it was a good experience to go and really get that inside glimpse into what casting for Glee is like?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
The experience was worth everything on a million different levels. It was worth seeing what it's like to be behind the camera, it was worth it to meet the wonderful people that I got to meet, the cast, the crew, everyone was just so nice the whole time. And it was worth the whole audition process was so fun and I never expected any of it. And to just get to feel like on such a high level that I was picked based off who I am is such a big compliment and I needed that.

I really needed that lately to boost my self esteem. And it made me look cocky and confident on the show. I didn't choose the heartbreaker thing, obviously we didn't choose our own most likely to be's. So but I get down on myself a lot so I really needed this show and them telling me that they thought I was one of 12 of the most talented people they'd seen around the world. I needed that. And after I was done I started writing again. I mean, just on so many different levels the show was worth it. I wouldn't take it back for a heartbeat. If I left even half way through the week it would still be worth it.

Question:
How do you think that being on the Glee Project changed you as a performer and as an artist?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
It was my first experience ever trying to dance professionally, to sing cover songs professionally and to do it all on camera for a competition. I mean, there was just a bunch of firsts. So I got a chance to really experience first hand what it's like to have to compete against some of the most talented people in the world. I went into it kind of just on a whim and ended up learning so much about what you need to do to get noticed and stay in a competition and what it takes to be an artist.

Now I know what those Glee kids do not have an easy job the kids on that show. The dancing and the singing all at once and recordings and I mean it is just a massive amount of work. So, I have a lot more respect and appreciation for what goes into all that too and I regained a lot of confidence from it and feel like before I wasn't sure if me, myself was good enough for things and after this I really got a lot of confidence back.

Question:
What's next for you?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
I've wanted to be a recording artist and songwriter. That's my main goal, that's what I've wanted to do since I started music. I write all my own songs I've played in multiple bands and I'm now doing my own music and I feel like I'm really good at it and other people keep reminding me I am because of my songs are getting noticed. As soon as I was done filming I had somebody from ICM call me that had just randomly heard the song that I've written immediately after being eliminated from the Glee Project. I had a meeting with Atlantic last spring so I really just want to continue writing and recording songs until somebody is smart enough to notice that I might be somebody worth signing.

Question:
You said that you expected to be the first out but do you think you deserved to be or do you think someone else should have gone before you?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
I expected to be, especially looking back on the episode and no I don't think I deserved to be the first one going. And I think a lot of people knew that. I think a lot of people saw that or thought that it was going to be somebody else. At least the amount of surprise that I've seen or heard people say, I could understand why they would want the first person to go to be a shock. Because they don't want you to be able to just figure out who's going to go home every week. It has to be interesting and surprising every single week. But for the majority of the people that I've talked to were surprised that it wasn't Ellis. And yeah.

Question:
I don't know if you know who won but when you left who did you think you wanted to win?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
Even though it didn't really show me being close with anybody on the episode, I was close with everyone and I was closest with Matheus and Sam the most. Having said that, I think Sam has the one of the best chances of winning and I think Cameron too.

Question:
Even though you got some validation, did this experience impact your confidence at all when you were eliminated?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
There was never a moment where I felt like this isn't what I should be doing because I basically validated that this is what I should be doing from making it to the show. Because every time I start to get down on myself that I'm thinking, okay maybe I should try a different career path then something like the Glee Project comes around, something that kind of where life just reminds you that you are on the right path and to keep going. Yeah, if I was right in assuming that I should be doing a different thing with my life then I wouldn't have made it to the Glee Project because plenty of times I've already felt that way.

So that didn't happen leaving the Glee Project. What did happen was my confidence went back down a lot from how much it had raised getting into the Glee Project. But being there for such a short time and being the first one I felt embarrassed and kind of confused for a little while afterwards and then I took that and used it to start writing songs again. And I hadn't written anything in over a year which is my passion, my favorite thing to do is songwriting. It's what I'm best at, it's what gets recognized the most. And the song that I auditioned for Robert, the song that wrote is what he loved so much too. And so to be able to do that again, just take everything, all the embarrassment and kind of pain and confusion of not making it and not getting called back and getting a chance to use it to start writing great songs again, made it worth it.

Question:
You mentioned that dancing was something that you didn't have a lot of experience with. Is there a skill that you were sort of exposed to that you want to develop more as a result of the Glee Project?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
I had virtually no dancing experience. I wasn't used to showing my personality with a lot of emotion like everyone else did. Like I noticed that in the Signed, Sealed, Delivered, you could see who everyone was just when they were singing their one line in the song. I mean, Alex doing his whole diva deal and Sam with his rock voice and rock act and Cameron with his kind of weird, geeky little dancing. There was a piece of everyone in there dancing and I don't feel like I have - because I don't feel like I've ever performed as a character before. I just perform what I do and how I write songs and I just go on stage and I - I know how to perform but I've never made myself a character. So I want to figure out a way to show myself as a performer immediately, right off the bat better.

Question:
The Glee Project is getting people to open themselves up to music theater and all, but it's also a reality competition. So what was it like kind of walking into that experience and sizing up your future contestants, people you're competing against for this one role?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
I went into this like I said not thinking of it like a competition because I never expected to get as far as I did. It was a chance to meet a lot of people, have fun and sing in front of cool people that I knew already like me and hear other people sing and I was just excited from that. Making the show didn't change anything for me competition wise because I was still with these same people that I'd grown to love and I think a lot of people felt that way.

So I never thought like I was competing against the other contestants. I felt like I was competing for attention, it was weird because my personality isn't always out there. I mess around a lot and I joke around a lot with people but it's not always out there. I'm not like a character. I guess like Lindsay is the kind of person who always has something to say. She's like that Rachael Berry type. Her character is very prominent and out there and the camera loves that. I'm have a lot of trouble trying to just be my normal self in front of the camera because I always feel like I have to just struggle to push who I am like tenfold just so that it looks like an important character on the show which was really weird.

I didn't really size up anybody. I knew that Sam was going to be a big competition for me because I'm used to being somebody that walks into a room and eyes follow me because I don't look like somebody that you're used to seeing. And I have a very different interesting look. Then Sam is in there too and he's got that plus dreads and everything. I mean, he's got this whole thing going on and I'm used to being that interesting looking person. So that kind of took that away from me so I'm thinking okay, okay, now what do I do?

Question:
If you could have sung any song for the judges and for America to see what song would you have picked?

Bryce Ross-Johnson:
I would have sang Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 or like Little Iron Man by Mumford and Sons. Because I have a really jazzy voice from what I've heard from people. I sing a lot of jazz at school and Sunday Morning I've sang a lot of times and people always love it when I sing that. And I feel like that would be a good smooth song to show off my voice because not a lot of people have the same quality as Adam Levine's, that really smooth kind of almost jazzy sound and I have that. So I think that would have made me look really good and showed where my voice fit into.

Also, Mumford and Sons, Little Iron Man, I just love that song and I did a cover of it myself and it's like a good range for me and he's got that kind of rasp in his voice as well that I kind of have. If anything else I would have also liked to do a rap song but I'm not sure which one but they - they don't have any real honestly the people that can really rap on the show and I do that in my own music a lot. So I feel like that could have been a good showcase for me. Maybe the - maybe another week if I had been there they would have had something that I could have shown, yeah.

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