By Bill Lamb
Jordan Pruitt came to the Disney family as a teen singer-songwriter who began writing songs at age 9. "Outside Looking In," released when Jordan was 15, was included on the soundtrack for the Disney Channel movie Read It and Weep. It also later appeared on Jordan Pruitt's debut album No Ordinary Girl. The song has the sound of acoustic singer-songwriter pop. "Outside Looking In" peaked at #77 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Corbin Bleu broke into the upper reaches of Disney Channel stardom through his role in the wildly successful High School Musical film series. He used the platform to launch a career as a pop musician. "Push It To the Limit" was included on the soundtrack to the Disney Channel film Jump In! which starred Corbin Bleu. It is an upbeat, inspirational, R&B influenced anthem. With a top 5 opening on the digital sales chart, "Push It To the Limit" reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Vanessa Hudgens emerged as a teen star after her starring role in High School Musical. Disney moved quickly to capitalize on the film's success by launching Vanessa Hudgens as a pop artist. "Come Back To Me" is built around a sample from the band Player's #1 hit "Baby Come Back" from the 70s. Rock Mafia co-wrote and produced the song. "Come Back To Me" was a successful pop hit in Europe but ultimately stalled at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Jonas Brothers were at the peak of their commercial prowess when they released "Burnin' Up" as the lead single from their album A Little Bit Longer. The group toned down the energy just a bit for a slicker, more radio friendly sound. The result was a single that debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and ultimately sold over two million digital copies.
Hilary Duff needed a new single for her compilation album Most Wanted in 2005. She headed to the studio with the production team Dead Executives headed by her boyfriend Joel Madden and his brother Benji Madden, both from the band Good Charlotte. The result was a rousing teen pop anthem. "Wake Up" entered the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 and become one of Hilary Duff's three biggest pop hits.
Demi Lovato emerged as a Disney Channel star through her role in the film Camp Rock. Her first solo album was a gold certified #2 hit Don't Forget. For her second album Demi Lovato chose to collaborate with a wide range of pop music fans. "Here We Go Again," the title song, is muscular pop-rock put together with the production team SuperSpy. It follows in the vein of Kelly Clarkson's uptempo hits. "Here We Go Again" reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Jesse McCartney was already an accomplished TV actor for his role in the soap opera All My Children before he started making appearances on the Disney Channel. He signed a recording contract with Hollywood Records and spent two years crafting the Beautiful Soul album. The lead single, also titled "Beautiful Soul," has been included on a range of Disney soundtracks. Peaking at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song also became a hit across adult pop and adult contemporary radio formats.
Selena Gomez and her band the scene are possibly the most consistently commercially successful of all Disney pop artists. They have released three consecutive top 10 gold certified albums. Those have generated four top 30 pop hit singles. "Love You Like a Love Song" is one of the most durable of the group's hits having spent five months on the charts. It is also the group's fourth #1 dance hit.
The sister duo Aly & AJ delivered a true teen electropop classic here. Antonina Armato and Tim James, founders of Rock Mafia, co-wrote and co-produced "Potential Breakup Song." It was released as the lead single from the duo's second album Insomniatic. Peaking inside the top 20 at pop radio, "Potential Breakup Song" was certified platinum for sales and became one of the most commercially successful of all Disney pop hits. Aly & AJ changed their act's name to 78violet in 2009 and are expecting to release their follow up to Insomniatic in 2012.
After a wildly successful triple platinum Hannah Montana soundtrack album, it was unclear whether 14 year old Miley Cyrus would be embraced as a pop artist in her own right under her own name. Hollywood Records released a two disc collection to introduce Miley Cyrus the recording artist. The first disc was another Hannah Montana soundtrack and the second was music released under her own name. "See You Again," a Rock Mafia confection, was released as the single to introduce Miley Cyrus to pop radio. With its peppy, retro 80's dance-pop fell, "See You Again" powered its way into the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and everyone soon knew the name Miley Cyrus.