(Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com)
Lucy Hale’s debut album Road Between is released today. You might be thinking, “Lucy Hale? Isn’t she the actress from Pretty Little Liars?” She is indeed, but you just can’t call yourself a young TV actress these days without releasing an album at some point. It’s a rule.
Of course it’s easy to poke fun at the tendency for young Hollywood stars to dip their toes into acting and music and fashion and beekeeping and every other career they can think of. But Lucy’s country style actually has a really nice sound. It’s nothing like the days of Lindsay Lohan’s “Rumors” (shudder). Lucy can actually sing, and she was in the top 5 on a competition show called American Juniors when she was younger.
But that doesn’t mean she’s the first young starlet to use her TV fame to venture into a singing career. Plenty of ladies have done it before her, and I’ve got nine big examples right here. Some of them were more successful at the transition than others, so I’ve ranked them accordingly. I left off actresses who sang regularly on their series, so there’s nobody from Glee and sadly no Miley Cyrus. (She will be missed.)
1. Selena Gomez
Remember when Selena Gomez was the fresh-faced girl on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place? Then she started a career putting pop songs into your head and not letting them leave. And dating Justin Bieber. Things are a bit strange with her lately, so who knows how much longer she’ll be putting those songs into our heads. Either way, there’s no denying she’s had a successful go at it.
2. Demi Lovato
Just like her friend Selena, Demi started on the Disney Channel, but her show was Sonny With a Chance. There was a while there where I thought she and Selena Gomez were the same person, but once her music career got going and she developed a style all her own, I could tell the difference. Here’s hoping she sticks around a while.
3. Ariana Grande
What’s interesting about Ariana is that I first learned who she was through her singing, even though she’d already starred on the Nickelodeon shows Victorious and Sam & Cat before releasing her debut album. She’s got such a mature sound that she didn’t even need those roles to get people to notice her. Even though she admits she only went into acting to get into music.
4. Ashlee Simpson
Remember when Ashlee Simpson had a small part on 7th Heaven and everyone was like, “Hey, that’s Jessica Simpson’s little sister”? And then remember when she suddenly put out an album and everyone was still like, “Hey, that’s Jessica Simpson’s little sister”? Despite that SNL lip-syncing incident and the fact that she hasn’t released an album since 2008, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have her CDs around somewhere.
5. Hilary Duff
Hilary and Ashlee are similar to me in that they got big around the same time, have been pretty dormant for years, and yet still have a few songs we’ll never forget. Hilary started on Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire and moved into releasing songs like “So Yesterday” and “What Dreams Are Made Of,” the latter of which I still sing whenever I see a photo of Ryan Gosling.
6. Aly Michalka
Aly got her start on Disney Channel’s Phil of the Future, and she’s continued her career as an actress while also releasing music with her sister AJ. If you’re not positively obsessed with “Potential Breakup Song,” who even are you? The only problem is that’s the only song of theirs I can name.
7. Leighton Meester
Yeah, remember when Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester put out a pop song with Robin Thicke? That happened. Then she starred in Country Strong and started showing off her folskier side. She has yet to release a full album, though. What are you waiting for, Leighton?
8. Taylor Momsen
Leighton’s co-star Taylor Momsen also broke into the music world. She has a rock band called “Pretty Reckless,” whose music I’m not very familiar with, mostly because I’m terrified of Taylor Momsen. But I think she prefers it that way, so no biggie.
9. Ashley Benson
Okay, so Ashley Benson hasn’t actually released an album, although she has singing experience and has been featured on a few songs. This is mostly a warning to Lucy not to be influenced by her Pretty Little Liars co-star to start making lip-dub videos with James Franco. Just don’t do it, Lucy.