With a concert tour underway and debut album scheduled for August release, it's Donnie's time to shine on the upcoming season of Making the Band 4. During my exclusive interview with the newly single showstopper, he opened up about on-the-road relationships, Diddy's other side, and what you can expect to see on the show next season.
How has your life changed in the last year?
Oh my God. I mean, I’ve basically been doing this for a while. I used to sing in groups and we got so close to making it so many times. But we never made it to the point where this kinda thing was happening -- like, going on a tour, being on the road and everything. To me, it’s just crazy because it all happened overnight. Even though I was doing the music thing for so long, getting popular happened so quickly. You really just gotta sit back sometimes and be like, 'What is going on right now?' It doesn’t feel real.
No matter how much work you put into this, like even if you’ve been singing since you were a little kid, you still have to be ready to work when you get to that moment where you get the record deal... that’s when the work really begins.
So many people would want to be in your position right now, but there must be things they don’t know, like about how tough it can be on the road, right?
It can be tough getting used to being away from home a lot. If you’re in a relationship with somebody, if you have a girlfriend back home or even just close friends, you gotta get used to not seeing them for a while.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Right now I’m single. I mean, I did. But it didn’t work out because things got crazy.
Do you still get nervous before you perform?
Ah, no, not anymore. I used to get nervous, and then after a while, it went away… but of course the first time we had to perform for Diddy all the jitters came back. It was the chance of a lifetime, and I knew if I messed up, it could ruin my dream. So I got nervous then, but pulled through and now he has us so prepared. At this point, it’s not even like we could be nervous because we’re so well-rehearsed.
What’s your relationship with Diddy like now?
We’re closer now. He took me out clubbing once we finished the single (“Take You There”), which he raps on. He’s so cool – I saw a whole different side of him. He was telling me stuff about before he was in the music business, which was crazy, so I saw a side of him that was not Puff Daddy, but Sean Combs – who he was before who he is now. He’s like everybody else, but he’s just been very successful at what he does. He’s very inspirational for me. Hopefully my career goes in that direction.
Are you getting along with the other bands?
For the most part. We sometimes still have our fights, but that’s just because we’re always together. To me, this is basically like a college or sleepaway camp – actually, more of a boot camp. It’s like we’re dorming together. So we’re getting close like brothers and sisters. Of course we’re gonna have our fights, but once we get through them, we’re even closer. We’re all cool.
How long is this tour going to last?
Two-and-a-half weeks all together. But the MTB4 camera crews have been following us around for a while. We did some TRL appearances, we’re doing these rehearsals, and I’m still in the studio making the album, so they’ve been following all that. The tour will probably come up on the show during the second half of the upcoming season. They’re gonna be following us around the whole summer, which will lead up to my album release.
So this season will be a lot more focused on you then?
Yeah. I know a lot of people were wondering where I was all the time last season, like 'I see Danity Kane and I see Day26, but you get no TV time and all this.' And I’m like, 'Don’t worry, it’s coming.'
Is having more camera time better or worse?
It was worse having less in the moment, like when I was being put to the side and shafted out of studio time because everyone else needed it, but now I basically have my own season to push my own album… I don’t have to share the limelight with anybody, so it worked out better in the long run.
It’s a lot of pressure though.
Yeah, but I can’t wait. [Danity Kane and Day26] both came out with No. 1 albums their weeks, so the set up is already there -- now it’s just on me to really push it. And the album is crazy. It’s so different, so fresh. It’s probably going to be called Just a Rolling Stone and it's set to drop August 19. I'm pushing it on this tour, and then I'll be doing my own tour after the release. We got a lot of stuff going on that could really help make this album No. 1, or maybe even platinum, which to me, is just plain crazy.
You definitely don’t have time for a girlfriend.
The fans are my girlfriend right now.