Where isn’t Jordan Fisher? Since the start of 2016, the former Teen Beach Movie star has earned glowing reviews for his stage-stealing performance in Fox’s Grease: Live, joined the Broadway cast of Hamilton and prepared a solo music career (his single “All About Us” hit No. 26 on the Pop Songs charts last year).
Now, the 23-year-old triple threat is adding another achievement to his resumé: a slot on Season 25 of Dancing With The Stars, premiering Sept 18 on ABC.
“I’ve had a handful of friends that have been on this journey before, and they’ve all said the same thing — that it’s just the most wonderful, fulfilling experience,” Fisher tells Billboard of joining the celebrity dance competition. “[They say that] you make such great friends, and they last for forever, and if [the offer] ever comes to you, you have to say yes.”
That “yes” has been a long time coming. Fisher says the series initially reached out to him about competing several seasons ago, but scheduling conflicts got in the way. “I just hoped that [the series] would come back around, and it finally did,” Fisher adds.
A spot on the show seems like a natural next step for Fisher, who has been a performer since joining his local children’s theater company in Birmingham, Alabama in elementary school. After catching a big break as a guest star on iCarly, Fisher went on to land roles in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Teen Wolf, before snagging is breakout part as Doody in Grease: Live. Since then, Fisher has taken on the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in Hamilton and popped up on the Moana soundtrack, where he contributed a version of “You’re Welcome” with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Fisher says he’s fully aware that he’s being billed as a favorite on Dancing With The Stars this season, but maintains that he has just as much to learn as the other competitors, which include Frankie Muniz, Nick and Vanessa Lachey, Derek Fisher and Pretty Little Liars‘ Sasha Pieterse.
“I grew up in theater, I grew up dancing a lot, but I have zero ballroom experience. So I think that a lot of people have a skewed representation of what I’m coming in to the competition with,” says Fisher, who will perform alongside professional dancer Lindsay Arnold. “Yes, I am comfortable with my body, and I can dance, but this is nothing like I’ve ever done before… I’m learning basics and starting from the ground, just like everybody else.”
Fisher also admits that he’s already had a fanboy moment or two at rehearsals: he was “really excited” to meet competitor Derek Fisher, as well as Drew Scott of The Property Brothers. “I love HGTV, so he and I clicked pretty quickly,” Fisher adds.
But the competition is just one element in Fisher’s jam-packed schedule, which includes releasing new single “Mess” on Oct. 6. And Fisher says the track, co-written by Mike Sabath, is a taste of his yet-untitled debut studio album, which will aim to give listeners a “real story” to turn to amid the often confusing realms of politics and government — fake news included.
“I think that where we are right now in our world is that we, as a society, can’t really trust a lot of what we hear, between politics and government and mainstream media and articles that we read online and see in the news,” Fisher says. “[By contrast] you can turn on top 40 radio and hear real stuff — people’s stories being told. We need music that makes complete sense to us, and that’s how ‘Mess’ came about.”
For now, Fisher is still working on the second draft of his debut album (“I’m a perfectionist”), with a firm release date to come. In the meantime, he’s racking up advice on how to score the Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball from former contestants — like last year’s winner, NFL running back Rashad Jennings. But Fisher says that most agree on one piece of advice.
“It’s just to not take yourself too seriously, and to have fun with every moment of it,” Fisher says. “Root for each other. The competition really is just with yourself, and if you try and get better every week, then you’re going to have a blast and you’re going to make wonderful friends.”