The Latest Teen Actresses Turned Singers

Ariana Grande (Image Credit: Dave Hogan/MTV 2013/Getty Images for MTV)
Ariana Grande (Image Credit: Dave Hogan/MTV 2013/Getty Images for MTV)

A lot of the pop singers we know today didn’t always start out that way. Some of these girls tried going down the acting route first. Some started in movies but most of them made their first step into fame through television shows. It seems to have become a pattern for young stars to switch to singing once they’ve become too old to star in anymore “teen” shows. Let’s take a look at just a few of these starlets-turned-singers.

Ariana Grande

Let me start with the most recent newcomer to the pop star life, Ariana Grande. Grande made her acting debut in Broadway’s show 13 in 2008. Unfortunately, that acting opportunity didn’t last for little Ariana because the show didn’t last. Personally, I saw the show and honestly, it wasn’t anything very magnificent to behold. I can’t say I’m too surprised that it got canceled soon after it opened…

By 2010, Grande got her second chance at fame and became a secondary character on the Nickelodeon sitcom entitled Victorious followed by a spin-off show in 2013 called Sam & Cat in which she got to play the same character.

It wasn’t until March that Grande let the world know inside that tiny girl was a tiny “Mariah Carey.” She released a single called “The Way” which hit success of mainstream standards and eventually became one of the Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.Ariana-Grande

Demi Lovato

Next, I think we should focus on a more well-known singer/songwriter who didn’t make her acting debut on Broadway but she did make her first appearance on Barney & Friends. The singer I’m talking about is none other than Demi Lovato.

Lovato may have spent time alongside a giant purple dinosaur but she also started playing piano at the age of 7 and guitar at the age of 10. It was clear that musical talent started to exist in her from the beginning. By early 2008, Lovato still wasn’t getting the attention she deserved. At this point, she played a character named Charlotte on a Disney Channel short series called As the Bell Rings. Thankfully, after that, her luck changed. Lovato auditioned for two roles on the same day in the summer of 2007. One for the lead in Disney Channel’s television film Camp Rock and the lead in Disney’s television series Sonny with a Chance.

The sun was shining bright that day on our young star because she got both parts. The TV film Camp Rock was a musical genre so at least the world was finally getting a glimpse of Lovato’s singing abilities. However, while still acting on Sonny with a Chance, later in the year of 2008, Lovato finally released her debut album Don’t Forget. After that, her fame skyrocketed. Pop music lovers discovered that not only was there a new singer in town but she had one (excuse my French) hell of a powerful voice.

Today, Lovato has found a way to balance both her talents for singing and acting. Currently, she’s guest starring on several episodes of the fifth season of Glee and serves as a judge on the American version of The X Factor. Don’t worry, fans. Lovato is still making new music all the time. This girl sure has her hands full but, clearly, she doesn’t mind.

Demi-Lovato

Selena Gomez

Lovato wasn’t the only past Disney Channel star who made her start on Barney & Friends. Turns out, another current star worked her way into the spotlight that way. I’ll give you a hint. She’s one of Lovato’s best friends and used to be known for her role as a young wizard. No, not Harry Potter. Remember, I’m talking about female actors here.

How about this: Does the name Selena Gomez ring a bell? Well, it should. Gomez had small cameo roles in films like Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005). It was after these small roles did she level up to guest star roles on the Disney Channel shows The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Hannah Montana. After this, Disney Channel offered Gomez a lead in the television series Wizards of Waverly Place.

Since Disney had been having a great deal of luck with turning their female stars into singers, it seemed apparent that the same destiny had been decided for Gomez, too. In 2009, she released her first studio album, Kiss & Tell followed by her second album, A Year Without Rain.

Gomez sounds pretty good on the radio and on her albums, but a lot of her criticisms come from her live performances. Although this young singer writes a lot of feel-good catchy pop tunes and serves as a good role model for young girls, one has to wonder if the music industry made too much of a stretch trying to turn this actress into a songbird. Not sure if her voice is really one strong enough to keep her going in the world of music.

At least, she knows to keep her foot in both doors. Gomez has still been pursuing an acting career from her roles in films like Monte Carlo (2011), The Muppets (2011), Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Spring Breakers (2013).

Selena-Gomez

Miley Cyrus

It seems that we’ve started to make a pattern of discussing former Disney Channel stars who turned to a more vocal life. Of all the “actresses turned singers” that I’ve named, here is the one who seems to have made the biggest claim to fame. This girl I’m talking about went from curly-haired, sweet and southern to a pixie-cut, twerking rebel. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus clearly found a way into the world of entertainment through her father Billy Ray Cyrus, a one-hit wonder country artist. Her first time behind the camera was actually in Big Fish (2003) where she was offered a small role and was credited as Destiny Cyrus (her real name).

I think we can all remember back to the innocent days of her role as Miley Stewart on Disney Channel’s television series Hannah Montana. Although, Cyrus pursued an acting career through films like Bolt (2008), Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), The Last Song (2010), LOL (2012) and So Undercover (2012), it was obvious that through her character “Hannah Montana,” Cyrus had her heart set on becoming a singer. It was then made even more obvious by her debut album Meet Miley Cyrus. Okay, we get it. No more “Hannah Montana” for you. Today, Cyrus has made four successful studio albums not to mention several headlines due to her sudden change in image and performance song styles.

Miley-Cyrus

So, readers, if you’re desperate to become a famous singer/songwriter, the pattern here seems to be that the best way to go about doing so would be through acting first, preferably through something like Nickelodeon or Disney Channel. Seems pretty fool proof to me.

 

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Posted by

Nina Reichenberg, a senior at Syracuse University currently working towards a degree in Computer Art & Animation. Whilst at school, Nina spends most of her time animating, watching films, reading, and hanging out with friends. Outside of SU, she enjoys traveling, singing, dancing, and spending time outside.

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