Call Answered: Ross Golan: "The Wrong Man" at MCC
I have been hearing about The Wrong Man for almost a year now. I loved how “The Wrong Man” started out as a song and has evolved into a full fledged musical. It’s a real honor to get to interview the writer/lyricist/composer of the show, Ross Golan.
In addition to The Wrong Man, Ross is a multiplatinum songwriter for such artist as Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Lady Antebellum, Michael Bublé, Selena Gomez, Keith Urban, Ariana Grande, One Direction, Idina Menzel, Nelly, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Gavin DeGraw, Colbie Caillat, James Blunt, and many others.
If this wasn’t enough, Ross also hosts the two million-downloaded podcast And The Writer Is, where he interviews venerable songwriters discussing their journey in the music industry.
The Wrong Man is written by Ross with direction by Hamilton’s Tony Award winning director, Thomas Kail. Set in Reno, Nevada and tells the story of “Duran,” a man just scraping by who is framed for a murder he didn’t commit. Told through poetic lyrics and haunting melodies, the wrong man meets the wrong woman in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Wrong Man plays at MCC Theater Space (511 West 52nd Street). Opening night is set for October 7. Click here for tickets!
Purchase/listen toThe Wrong Man album here: http://smarturl.it/TheWrongMan
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter? There was a band at my high school who didn't want me to be the lead singer because I wasn't good enough to play guitar. Writing songs is what happens when you're too lazy to practice scales.
2. This summer you released the concept album for The Wrong Man, which is currently making it's premiere as a full length musical at MCC. It took 14 years for this show to fully develop into what it is now. It started out as one song, about a man named Duran, accused of a crime that he didn’t commit. How did you first come to write this song? I like murder ballads. I like songs that are closer to movies than music. I wanted to write a murder ballad for the wrongly convicted.
3. Can you take us through the process of how this went from a one song story to a full length album/animated film/musical? “The Wrong Man” song was a friend favorite. I was just trying to entertain the people around me. Patience and a decade later, the protagonist really came to life. I could write a dissertation on this, so I'll just say that when people open doors, I walk through them. Usually, I say yes to unique opportunities and try to make sure my collaborators have a great experience. One thing has led to the next and here we are!
4. What was the hardest part about evolving this show to its current format? Each character has their own perspective and their own arch. The album is very different from the show!
5. With opening night, just around the corner, have you had a chance to take a step back and think about where you were 14 years ago to where you are now? If so, what goes through your mind? Every time I see Joshua Henry sing, I'm reminded of where “Duran” came from and how far he's gone.
6. What do you feel audiences need to know about The Wrong Man before coming to see it? Just enjoy! Leave your life at the door and I'll see you on the other side.
7. Hamilton's Tony Award winning director Tommy Kail, is directing the NY premiere at MCC. What is about Tommy's artistic vision that lined up with your vision for The Wrong Man? Tommy and I have been on the same page 100%. That's true with the rest of the creatives. We are all trying to tell this story in a new and inspiring way. I love that guy.
8. Since the show is about a man who is accused of crime he didn't commit. Have you ever been accused of something that you didn't do? If so, what were you accused of? Not yet.
9. In addition to The Wrong Man, you are a multi-platinum songwriter who has written songs for such artists as Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Nicky Minaj, Lady Antebellum, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Gavin DeGraw, and One Direction. Who was the first person you wrote a song for? My first cut was for myself in 2004. I feel like that guy is my favorite artist to write for because we're on the same page :)
10. Who do you still want to write for that you haven't already? Paul McCartney.
11. If songwriting and musical theatre were not enough to keep you busy, you also host a podcast called "And The Writer Is," where you interview the writers behind pop music's biggest songs. What is the biggest thing you've learned from one of your guests about songwriting that you didn't know previously? Writers sell air for a living. What kind of lunatic sells MUSIC. I love songwriters. They're weird and entrepreneurial. Some of the smartest thinkers I've ever met.
12. What is something you'd like to reveal about yourself right now, that you have not talked about in another interview? Imposter Syndrome is real.
13. Lastly, since you conduct interviews as well, what is one question I did not ask you that you wish I did? (please provide the answer to said question) OOOOh, I like this one. BUT, I'm saving this for my interview of And The Writer Is when I finally get to be a guest!
More on Ross:
Ross Golan is a multi-platinum songwriter, artist, podcast host, and advocate. He studied music at the University of Southern California and has since released songs with artists including Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Lady Antebellum, Michael Bublé, Selena Gomez, Keith Urban, Ariana Grande, Flo Rida, One Direction, Idina Menzel, Nelly, Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Cee Lo Green, 5 Seconds of Summer, Snoop Dogg, Gavin DeGraw, Colbie Caillat, Andy Grammer, James Blunt, Big Sean, Travis Barker, Lukas Graham and Skylar Grey amongst many others.
He was awarded the 2016 BMI Songwriter Of The Year award. His podcast, “And The Writer Is… with Ross Golan,” has approximately two million downloads and has become the preeminent songwriting podcast. Each episode is a conversation between Ross and a venerable songwriter discussing their journey in the music industry. As an advocate, he coauthored the proposal to get songwriters added to the Album of the Year award at The Grammys®. He has also been a leading voice in passing the Music Modernization Act alongside NSAI, SONA, NMPA, and RIAA.