By Pamela Gocobachi
May 02, 2014 at 03:20 PM EDT

The Summer Set

  • Music

Rockers, rappers, country stars, and more took center stage at the first ever iHeart Radio Music Awards on Thursday at L.A’s Shrine Auditorium. EW was on the scene for the event and caught up with the likes of Imagine Dragons, Austin Mahone, Juicy J and more:

Imagine Dragons may be hard at work on the highly anticipated followup to 2012’s Night Visions but the Vegas-bred rockers took a break from the studio to attend this year’s first annual iHeart Radio Awards. As for what fans can expect from the upcoming album, lead singer Dan Reynolds says he hopes it’s a bit more of a mature sound overall.

“We definitely don’t want to make a safe album– to me, that sounds like an awful time, so we’re trying to push ourselves and come up with something that excites us and I think we’re doing some stuff right now that’s pretty exciting.” says Reynolds.

Said singer Austin Mahone of his upcoming EP, The Secret, which he’s been working on for two years,”[It’s] definitely along the same lines as the single I have out now,” says Mahone. “It’s kind of like that upbeat/EDM/backstreet kinda feel so I’m pretty excited to release it. There’s one song on there that I wrote and produced myself.”

Another artist gearing up for a new release is Three 6 Mafia member turned solo artist and friend of Katy Perry Juicy J. The rapper told EW his upcoming album will be “trippy but educational.”

“I’m doing a lot of the production on there myself,” says J, who also enlisted the help of producers Dr. Luke and Mike WiLL Made It for his upcoming album. “There aren’t too many features– it’s just gonna be me talking about the come-up and what I went through growing up in the neighborhood with six people in one apartment to where I am right now.”

2014 also seems to be shaping up to be a big year for Hilary Duff. On top of an upcoming pilot coming this fall to TV Land, the 26-year-old actress is gearing up to release her first album in nearly seven years. Though the untitled album has no firm release date as of yet, when it does drop, fans can expect a little less pop princess and a little more organic from the former Disney Channel starlet.

“It’s got a little bit of an indie earthy vibe to it,” says Duff of her upcoming record. “It’s a little folky but not quite country. I’ve been working with a lot of great people and just writing every day– I have a lot recorded so it’s going to be hard to narrow it down but it’s just you know, talking about where I’ve been for five years.”

Finally, we caught up with The Summer Set frontman Brian Dales who spoke with us about life after winning last year’s iHeart Radio Rising Star competition. “It’s crazy– we’ve been a band for six years but in a lot of ways, last year felt like the first year,” says Dales. “I don’t think I ever imagined when we started this band that we’d be opening for Queen one day at the iHeart RAdio Music festival [but] aside from those things, we’ve just seen a personal growth as a band as far as being able to do our own tours and what not so it’s really been a great experience– I think we’re ready to make a new record already.” As for what’s next for The Summer Set, fans can expect to see the pop rock quintet on the main stage at this year’s Vans Warped Tour.

The Summer Set

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