How Writing Original Music For High School Musical Was Different This Season For Joshua Bassett As He Breaks Out With Solo Career

The Wildcats are back, and this time High School Musical: The Musical - The Series follows the new generation of East High theatre kids during their summer vacation. In Season 3, which premiered its first episode this past week, there are a lot of fresh and varied elements at play, but one exciting tradition is being kept alive: Joshua Bassett is still writing original music for the series. And when we spoke to the HSMTMTS star, he discussed the process of penning songs for the new episodes.

From the start of their runs on the show, both Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo have written songs for HSMTMTS, such as their duet “Just For A Moment.” They've since continued to use the show as an outlet to refine their talents, as evidenced by Bassett and Rodrigo writing original songs for the Disney+ series during the second season. During our interview with Bassett, the actor shared how his latest original tune came together for Season 3:

I got to write a song in episode one of season three. Tim called me and he was like, ‘Hey, you've got the slot love to have you write it’. So we got on a zoom call and as soon as he got in the zoom call, I heard melody and immediate lyrics and immediately I was like, well, that's gotta be it. So I recorded the idea. And then we got in the studio a couple days later and we wrote it and it was just a super easy, fun time. And it was really cool to like to write for my character and not write for me. So, it was a really fun experience and way different than I think Season 1 and 2.

The song is called “Finally Free” and comes into play when Ricky is driving his car over to summer camp to join his friends. The drive comes on the heels of him breaking things off with his girlfriend, Lily (played by Olivia Rose Keegan), after realizing the pairing was not an ideal one. As Joshua Bassett shared with CinemaBlend, he was asked to write the song for that key moment in the series and was quickly able to carve it. Check out the HSMTMTS music moment below: 

Since getting his start on the show, Joshua Bassett has ventured out into his own solo career and has released a number of self-written singles. This September, the 21-year-old actor/singer will go on a sold out world tour that will start in Toronto, Canada, go through the United States and end in Europe. It seems like Bassett is heading toward releasing his first record and is well on his way to becoming an artist in his own right as he continues to be part of the High School Musical spinoff. 

Meanwhile, Olivia Rodrigo has blown up big time within the past year with her 2021 record SOUR, which earned her Grammy wins, massive streaming numbers and a tour she recently wrapped up. While she's still part of HSMTMTS, Rodrigo will reportedly get a “meaningful sendoff” this season. Joshua Bassett also said this: 

I didn't get to work with any other cast members on music for this show, but I will say without spoiling that other cast members did write music for this season, and it's incredible, and I'm very excited for everyone to see it. But yeah, it's always a treat when I get to write for the show.

It sounds like more of the cast members are stepping up and writing original songs for the series, as Olivia Rodrigo moves way from her post as the lead star. This season will revolve around the East High teens (mainly Sofia Wylie’s Gina, Matt Cornett’s EJ, Julia Lester’s Ashlyn, Dara Renee’s Kourtney and Frankie Rodriguez’s Carlos) as they put on a production of Frozen at summer camp. Still, it's nice that Rodrigo and Bassett are still in the mix and managing to contribute their musical talents to the proceedings.

There's a lot going on in the third season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which features Corbin Bleu playing a version of himself that's a “bit of an ass” and Hannah Montana’s Jason Earles as a camp counselor. New episodes premiere every Wednesday, so be sure you have a Disney+ subscription. Also, be sure to check out the movies and TV shows are headed to Disney+ in August

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.