Last time we talked, ‘High School Musical 3’ was just coming out, and now it’s about to hit stores on DVD. How was that whole experience for you?
It was amazing! All of us didn’t know what to expect. I mean, we didn’t expect anything from the first one — we thought it would be great fun, but didn’t think it would become a phenomenon. So with each one, I would go in with the same feeling: that doing them was so much fun, that I love this cast and who knows what it will do? I just wanted to have a great time. But knowing the fans like it makes it so very rewarding.
And now you’re working on another album?
This has really been a long time coming. I’ve been working on the second album for a year, and it’s something completely different from the first album. Doing the first album is a lot of learning about yourself — I had to get to know what I like, even though I knew I wanted to do something pop and R&B. I loved it, but with this one I wanted to really focus. I went for more of a rock sound. I’m 23 now, so I’m growing up, and I wanted something more mature and edgier. I’m starting to show a side of myself that people don’t know. People know me as characters, they think of me as being blonde, so now they’re seeing another part of me.
What music are you listening to these days?
Eric Hutchinson, Katy Perry, Pink, Rihanna … my taste is all over the place. I also listen to Queen and Billy Joel!
Do they inspire you when you’re working in the studio?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve been a big fan of Pink ever since she started. I love Katy’s sense of humor and her pop/rock feel. Pat Benatar is also an inspiration — I love her music. I’m inspired by all these women when I’m going into the studio, but almost anything inspires me.
You’re working on a new reality show, and also producing a show for the Disney Channel. What can you tell me about those?
The Disney channel show is in the beginning stages, and it’s about my life when I was working at the mall. This whole side of entertainment — producing — is really amazing and so new to me. I have my own office at the Freemantle building. I have a partner that I work with, and we come up with tons of ideas. I’m always there pitching, whether it’s MTV or the CW. But at the moment I’m not pitching anything with me in it.
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