Transcript of Jason's chat on
ZoogDisney.com in conjunction with Jessica
Simpson and Jason Raize in
Concert, which was airing
throughout the summer
the Disney Channel
ready, Zoogers! Gather 'round, Raizins!
Jason Raize is on his way to
chat with YOU!
everyone! This is Jason! It's Monday night!
How's it going?
How did you
get started in the singing business?
Pretty late. I was in tenth grade, and I
started performing with a
girlfriend way back when. She encouraged me
to act, and I began to sing
in shows. Singing for me was always attached
to being in a show. After
I did a few shows, I realized that what I
liked was singing, as opposed
to just acting. It went crazy, like a big
snowball going down a
mountain. I was lucky enough to get a few
shows, and here I am!
have formal training?
didn't have any formal training. Just at the
American Musical Dramatic
Academy in Manhattan (AMDA) after high
school. But I'm not a huge fan
of school, so I left after a year and
started working on shows. That
was my year of training ... but it was
really good to have a system to
get you used to living in a city like this.
I didn't grow up in
How did you get into the music industry
after doing Broadway???
was exhilarating! :) I think the process of
doing "Lion King" was very
high profile. A lot of people pay attention
to what Disney does. Record
companies and music industry people were
paying attention to me in
"Lion King," and I started to get offers
right away -- even out of
town, before we came to Broadway. The record
companies ... once we had
decided who I wanted to work with and I got
the best offer I could ever
imagine ... it was a process of making my
album at the same time I was
in the show. It was difficult, but I had
something else to work on
while working in the show. That was about
two and a half years.
you like playing Simba in Broadway's "Lion
amazing! I was a big fan of the movie, so I
knew the material. I
absolutely LOVED the role of Simba when I
went in to audition. It's got
a lot of similarities with my life. And I'm
still playing Simba until
love singing, but am afraid that if I sing
in front of other people,
they'll make fun of me. Do you have any
Absolutely! Start slowly. Start singing
alone, but add, if you can ...
find either a video camera that you can set
up, or a set of mirrors
that you can stand in front of and sing. Do
that as often as you can.
Slowly, start inviting your best friends to
come and watch you perform.
That process will slowly get you used to
people watching you. If you
want criticism, tell them that. If you just
want them to watch, tell
them that. That will get you comfortable
about your "In Concert Special" on Disney
Channel. What was that
was amazing too! The week that I spent in
Los Angeles, I was still in
the show, so I had to take a week off the
show. Disney Channel had
everything prepared, so I got a week of
activities and to do a concert!
We did a concert, went to Disneyland, and
went mountain-biking and
jet-skiing. It was more like a vacation!
What is the most embarrassing time when you
were on stage during a live
I'd have to say during "Lion King." My head,
which is my mask that fits
over my head, flew off during one of my
dances! It went into the pit,
which is where the orchestra plays under the
stage. I couldn't get it
back. And my microphone is located inside my
mask! So I didn't have my
mic or my mask, and I had to do the whole
number without it!!
Jason, my name is Kristyn, I was wondering
what you like to do in your
kinds of things. I love to read, and I love
going to the park here in
New York, playing frisbee and all the summer
stuff. A lot of our time,
my friends and I, we spend walking around
the city -- the Village -- go
window-shopping. I have a dog, so I take
Ruby out for walks. And always
movies. I love movies!
was it like to perform with Jessica Simpson?
Raize: Ha! I
actually didn't get to do that, because Nick
Lachey cornered the
market! We had a great time, because we got
to spend a lot of time
together, but we didn't actually sing
together. Jessica and her sister
are a blast together! They're really nice
people. We played volleyball
on the beach a lot.
you grow up at? I mean, like what city
Raize: I grew
up right around Oneonta, New York.
your favorite sport?
used to be soccer. I don't know if you can
consider mountain-biking a
sport, but that would be my favorite.
you have a girlfriend?
Raize: Ha! I
don't have a girlfriend right now ... that's
a good thing!
ever get stage fright?
don't know … stage fright comes in so many
different forms, I think,
when you get nervous a bit. I get nervous
only if family members are in
the audience. They've seen me perform a lot,
and they know every little
thing I do. So I want to make sure I do a
great show. Other than that,
when you perform something for so long, it
eases a bit. But when I
start something new, I get nervous and you
try to take that nervous
energy and turn it into excitement. It seems
to help me a lot.
what is the best thing about getting to go
Everything! You're getting ... you're
working, and you're allowed to
travel. And I love to travel. Getting to go
on tour and see all sorts
of fantastic cities and meet people
constantly is the fun part of
touring. Some people don't like it, because
it takes you away from
home. But I love coming home! New York City
is now my home.
inspired you the most to start singing??!?
... I guess ... definitely would be my
friend I told you about earlier.
She was my inspiration for me getting on the
stage. When I started
singing, nobody in my family had ever been a
performer, so they didn't
know about what I was doing. I had to really
dream about performing the
way someone would dream about doing
something completely foreign. It
really turned it into a real dream for me.
And from there, people
helped me all along the way. Mentors in
theater, mentors here in the
How is it
being famous? Is it scary?
It's not scary … I think that, for people
that have fame that goes far
beyond mine, I imagine it can get pretty
confining, like you're caught
in a cage, but I don't feel that at all.
Sometimes people talk to you
at a time or a place that it's difficult.
But as performers, if we're
going to put ourselves out there, I think we
need to be available
around the clock. Of course, people also
need to respect everyone's
privacy. People are pretty great about that.
think you are so cute. Are you the only
you. No. I have an older sister. She's five
years older than I am, and
she's pregnant! So I'm going to be an uncle!
going to be touring anytime soon?
don't know yet, actually. Everything we're
doing is planning itself
out. "You Win Again" is my next single. It's
in stores and online now.
That's determining everything I'm going to
do in the future months!
How old are you?
Raize: I'm 24.
your favorite food?
There's a bunch! I love lasagna.
Are you a
good dancer? And you are very fine.
you very much! :)
two questions. What is the name of your CD?
And what is your favorite
song on it?
name of the CD is "NYC." My favorite song on
it is "You Win Again."
That's one of my favorites. And "It Was
do you do when you have a sore throat and
you have to do a concert?
Depending on the sore throat, you may not do
the concert. You try your
best, but if you can't perform to a level
that is a performance that
the audience will appreciate, it's your
responsibility not to do it.
There's a space where you only go out when
you give a performance that
the audience deserves. For "Lion King," I've
had to take a few
performances off in three years, but there
are three understudies.
Do you play
voice! :) I would love to play the piano,
but I don't.
Do you get
a lot of mail?
at the theater. I think we get splashes of
it. A lot of mail goes to
different places in the city. When it comes
to the theater, I get a lot.
Like music by other artists?
Raize: I love
anything current and contemporary. Macy Gray
... Destiny's Child, which
surprised me … and … gosh! They all sort of
float away when you get
enjoy signing autographs and talking to your
Definitely! :) No matter what, it all comes
down to your communication
with people who are watching you and giving
their time to see you. When
I come out of the theater, it doesn't matter
if I'm tired. My
responsibility is to give time and energy to
people who have done the
same to me. The people are very interesting,
and I stay out there as
long as I have to. And a lot of kids, they
make me smile.
your middle name?
Raize: Ha! I
don't have one!
there any role on Broadway that you'd like
That's a good question. I thought for a
while that I wanted to do "Miss
Saigon," and I always thought it would be
interesting to be the
"Phantom," but I'm not old enough yet. Check
back in a few years. I
think originating a role on Broadway is the
most exciting process, and
if I could get that chance again, I would
you have a role model, would you tell us who
Raize: Wow! I
don't think I have an individual role model,
but like most of us, we
take inspiration and advice from a bunch of
different people whom we
respect and admire. And that's not always
from a celebrity figure.
Sometimes, it's friends or family. It would
be way too hard to narrow
it down to one person, but I am indebted to
a lot of people I've worked
starting singing lessons. Do you have any
advice for me?
sure you enjoy what you're hearing.
Professional coaches now recommend
that you have more than one teacher. If you
have just one voice
teacher, it is very advantageous to see
someone else now and then. Like
a doctor -- you get two opinions. And good
Do you go on tour around the world?
yet. I've gone to London several times, but
I haven't yet done a world
tour. But I absolutely cannot wait, because
I love to travel! We're
waiting now to see which markets are going
to be big for me. I think
Japan, and, definitely, Europe.
What do you
think about seeing yourself on TV?
funny for somebody who has worked in theater
a lot. To do television or
film, your work is frozen and you can't
change it. It's much different
doing a live performance than watching
yourself on TV. Disney Channel
did such an awesome job cutting together the
conference. All of us who
did it had a party and watched the concert,
and we all had a great time!
did you ever once think about appearing on
Absolutely! Disney is one of the best
companies for entertainment that
exists. They have such high-quality work.
It's a lot of fun to work for
them, because they have their ducks in a
row. I would love to be on
Disney Channel again!
You have the
finest body! Do you work out a
Yes! Thank you very much. I definitely have
to, because in the costume
I wear in "Lion King," the upper half of my
body is naked. I can't
afford NOT to go to the gym. Thank you very
there was one thing you could change about
yourself, what would it be?
gosh ... whew! I really don't know! I think
if you start to ask
yourself that question, you're going to come
up with too many answers!
you walk out of buildings, do crowds of
people ask for your autograph?
At different shows, there are different
numbers of people. If it's a
night show, we'll get a big group. Sundays,
cold and rainy, you don't
get such a big group.
girl would you date?
Raize: Man! I
think it's silly to answer questions like
that. You never know before
you meet them. I would date redheads that
are 6'5" and then a brunette
that is 4'5". I guess, really, it's just a
matter of walking through
your day. When you're blown away by
something, you're blown away!
your favorite movie?
don't have a favorite movie either. It's so
hard to do the favorite
lists, because I don't typically have one
favorite. I love movies so
much. I really liked "Mission Impossible 2."
I really didn't like "The
Patriot" that much, and I'm going to see
Disney's "The Kid" tomorrow
When is your
next tour date going to be?
don't have a date for it yet. The dates
happen so fast in the industry.
I almost went on tour with Cher at the
beginning of this year. We were
still talking about it just two weeks before
I would have been there.
So there's not a lot of advance notice.
We'll keep you posted through
the Web site.
the make-up and costume process like for
"The Lion King?"
makeup is 45 minutes, and it's full face.
And I have to wear a big red
Z on my chest and back, so it's a lot of
body paint, and you can still
see it after I take it off. The costume for
me is pretty simple. It's
an African beaded corset and a mask that
goes on my head. The other
characters on the show have to wear very
heavy and very complicated
Are you shy
when you're on stage?
Sometimes, yeah, actually. That's a really
good question. You have
moods day by day. The moods come out
onstage, as well. No matter what
day it is for you, you have to be onstage in
front of a lot of people
live. The shyness comes when I do stuff
other than "Lion King," but
it's also part of who you are as a
you feel about the concert you had???
Incredibly happy, and very proud of my
entire group -- the dancers! We
had a lot of fun. If you watch the dancers,
you can see that they had a
lot of fun and a lot of energy. They came
with me from New York.
you find your dancers? Are they friends of
Raize: It was
a great experience. The dancers are pros
from New York. I knew two of
them before hand, and the other two, I
didn't. We had auditions. In New
York, you still have to audition your
friends as well. You need a group
that looks good together. I'm friends with
two of them. One of them,
JD, works with me on my career. He did the
Jason!! I was wondering, what ever got you
and lots and lots of auditioning! Like I
said before about Disney
having great quality work, because of that,
they are very conscious and
thorough when they're looking for people who
will be part of their
productions. You have to go through a lot of
auditioning. For Simba,
they had lots of interest from the top
people. They wanted to make sure
they were getting the right person. So I had
to come back and dance and
sing, and dance and sing. They brought me to
LA, and I met with Peter
Schneider and Thomas Schumacher, who,
basically, run the studio now.
Those two guys were my final audition. We
had a great time, and I
actually forgot that I was in an audition.
And a few weeks later, I
found out that I got the part.
the first person you called?
sister. And then I called my dad. I had a
bunch of friends with me. I
was in the exact same theater that I would
later be in a few months
later with "The Lion King." I was in
Minneapolis in the theater doing
the "King and I" tour. A lot of friends were
with me when I found out.
I was screaming, and then I had to go
totally loved you on the "In Concert!!" When
is your album, "NYC"
coming out, or is it already out?
will come out after "You Win Again." "You
Win Again" was just released.
We're waiting for the airplay and attention
to come around. Then we
will release "NYC." The release date for the
album comes pretty
quickly. There's not much notice in this
business. If you have a
favorite radio station, call them and ask
them to play "You Win Again."
It would be awesome.
accomplished so much in the past three
years, including a starring role
in a Broadway show and releasing a solo
album. Do you have any other
goals that you want to accomplish?
Raize: I just
did a movie about four months ago. It was my
first lead role in a film.
It should air on TV in September. I like to
do a lot of different
things, so I don't like to commit my time to
doing just one kind of
thing. I like to do a little of this, and a
little of that. Hopefully,
together, it all makes a career.
What's on your new CD?
Jason Raize: Pop music that has a
bunch of different flavors in
each song. From R&B to alternative. Some
songs are like boy band
pop songs. Some songs are more akin to a
solo -- just one person
singing. It will be an adjustment for some
people going from harmonies
with five people to solos. Basically, it's
things do you do differently when you
perform as a pop star, than when
you perform as Simba in "The Lion King?"
Virtually everything! Except you're using
the same instrument. The
biggest challenge for theater actors is
going into a pop career.
Onstage, you're playing a character. You
need to be connected and give
an honest performance. I love performing as
myself, because you're
using your experience and your thoughts.
It's much more personal.
Concert," you looked like you had so much
fun. Had you ever been jet
before! I didn't do too well! The jet skis
that Disney Channel had for
me were amazing. It went so fast! If you see
the special, it wasn't
really that funny. The water was really
cold, but I had a wet suit, so
I couldn't feel a thing! We were lucky,
because there weren't that many
people out there on the water. If you watch
the special, you see me
fall off three times! But they edited it,
and I really only fell off
once, and they showed it three times!
you were designated as a Goodwill Ambassador
to the UN? How did you
receive this honor?
Jason Raize: I did a lot of
communication with the UN. I was
always very interested in the United Nations
as a concept -- the fact
that there is a group that unites most of
the world, and we have one
place where all of these countries can get
together and discuss issues.
Our generation takes that for granted. Past
generations realize that
this is not normal, and that countries
didn't always get together and
communicate like this. As a generation, I
wanted to make sure that we
didn't miss the boat. I wanted to speak with
some of the people at the
UN and make sure that they were trying to
communicate with my
generation. They wanted to meet with me and
talk about ways to
communicate in a more productive way.
Do you ever
feel overwhelmed with all of this
the popularity, no. I feel sometimes
overwhelmed with the day. When you
wake up in the morning and you just want to
get out of bed and have
breakfast and chill out, but you see a list
of things in your fax, or
in your notebook, of all the things you need
to do that day. And you
get tired looking at that list and want to
take a vacation, sometimes.
Sometimes I unplug the phone and go to the
park with my friends, but
that's not often!
you were little, what did you think you were
going to be?
Jason Raize: I had no idea,
whatsoever! My dad is a lawyer and a
college professor. My mother worked with
computers. But what I'm doing
-- it feels right to pursue this. I didn't
know what I wanted to go to
college for. I wasn't very good at math or
your favorite Broadway play, ever?
"Jesus Christ Superstar." Not the one that's
on Broadway right now,
you like Broadway?
Raize: Yes, I
love it! Do I want to do it forever?
No. I never got bored with
"Lion King." There was something magical
about that. I have fun every
time I go out there to do the show. That's
unique, though, and I don't
see myself wanting to go from show to show
Jason, what other jobs did you have?
Raize: I had
survival jobs when I was younger -- waiting
tables, and night manager
for a restaurant in Los Angeles. That was
pretty much it. Oh, sorry!
Going to school here in New York, I worked
at a big toy store, and it
was so much fun! Sometimes, when you're
tired, when you have a day like
we talked about, it's fun to go places like
your most memorable moment while appearing
in "Disney's Sizzling Summer
Raize: When I
first saw the previews that Disney Channel
was putting on … because I
admire a lot of people who were on that. It
was a lot of fun to be a
part of that, with so many fantastic artists
do you hope for in the future? Do you want
to continue singing?
Definitely, continue singing. I don't think
I will ever give up
singing. I have goals that lie on the
business side of the industry, as
well. I want to learn a lot about the
production side of music and
film. That goes along with my desire to do a
lot of different things. I
don't think I'll ever give up singing, but I
will reach out into other
areas -- some of which I don't even know
you like to dance? If you do, can you tell
didn't have training in dancing. It was so
cool that I was given a
chance to do productions even without that
training. Dancing is very
amazing to me. It's very physical, and I
like sports. Even the
choreographer of "Lion King" gave me a lot
of chances. They wanted
somebody who could do the physical dances
and movements of Simba and
who could also sing the vocal range. Garth
gave me a chance to come
into the production when they did have
choices of people who were more
experienced dancers. They tricked me into
coming to an audition that
was for dancers only. The dancers in our
production are from Alvin
Ailey and Harlem Dance. I had to go audition
with them. They're really
good, and I was the only one in the room
without 15 years of dance
experience. They wanted to see if I would
chicken out and leave, or if
they could work with me. There was one part
with lots of jumps, and I
like to jump. So I did that, and Garth liked
what he saw.
I love to
sing, but I get really shy when it comes to
people watching me perform.
What should I do?
more and more people who are close to you
watch you. One person, then
two, then three, etc. Just have small groups
watch you, and ask them
for support. You'll be surprised how quickly
you'll become comfortable.
everyone for hanging out for the hour.
Thanks for everyone at Disney,
too. Definitely come to the theater and
watch the show! And watch the
concert on Disney Channel. It airs again on
Taste the Tears? That's because it's time to
say thank you and goodbye
to the sweet, wonderful, and drop-dead
gorgeous Jason Raize!