Lucy Hale's Hearty Debut: 'Pretty Little Liars' Star Storms Hot 100

Sasha Eisenman
Lucy Hale

Hale tells Billboard that she wants "to prove people wrong" with her upcoming debut album.

With the launch of debut single "You Sound Good to Me" on Jan. 7, "Pretty Little Liars" actress Lucy Hale finally jump-started the music career she began pursuing a decade ago. The country-pop offering debuts at No. 88 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 21 on Hot Country Songs, and sold 42,000 downloads in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the Hot Shot Debut on both charts, and the best opening for a solo female artist on Hot Country Songs since Danielle Bradbery's "The Heart of Dixie" bowed at No. 16 last August. Meanwhile, its official music video has earned 1.3 million YouTube views since debuting concurrently with the song last week.

Hale's starring role on the ABC Family hit helped ensure a high-profile launch for "You Sound Good to Me." After all, most artists can't promote their debut single to 3.3 million Twitter followers or perform the song on "Good Morning America" and "Live With Kelly & Michael" during its first week of release. However, the 24-year-old is primed to sustain that buzz as she approaches the release of her debut album, due in the spring on Hollywood Records.

"You hear the story, 'Another actress does music,'" Hale says. "But that pumps me up and just makes me want to prove people wrong."

The Memphis native grew up listening to country radio and Britney Spears before becoming a finalist on "American Juniors," a pint-sized spinoff of "American Idol," in 2003. Hale moved to Los Angeles at the age of 15 to pursue a music career, but acting opportunities kept popping up, on short-lived TV series like the CW's "Privileged" and NBC's "Bionic Woman" re-boot. In 2010, Hale was cast as high schooler Aria Montgomery in "Pretty Little Liars," now in its fourth season.

Pop Shop Podcast: Lucy Hale Interview
In this week's episode, Lucy Hale discusses her upcoming album and future "Pretty Little Liars" plans. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes HERE.

In June 2012, Hale signed to Disney Music Group's Hollywood Records—a label best-known for pop vocalists like Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. "We're not complete strangers to the country music market," Hollywood head of global marketing Robbie Snow says. Snow points out that Hale's release is being handled by DMG Nashville, a new country-focused imprint within DMG. Furthermore, Hollywood has partnered with the Nashville-based Bigger Picture Group for Hale's country radio promotion, while the album's marketing will be handled by Hollywood in Los Angeles.

"You Sound Good to Me," helmed by veteran country producer Mark Bright, will head to country radio on Feb. 3, but the song premiere has already boosted Hale's social engagement. In the week following the song's release, Hale added 93,000 Facebook fans and 38,000 Twitter followers, and was mentioned on Twitter more than 140,000 times—a 287% leap over the previous week, according to Next Big Sound. And before the music video premiered on Vevo and CMT, a preview aired during the Jan. 7 season premiere of "Pretty Little Liars."

Katy B Moves Beyond The Bass

Hale will spend another month focusing on promoting the single, then head back to taping "Pretty Little Liars," gear up for the album release and eye touring opportunities for the fall. She happily notes that her schedule will be hectic, and although she will have to put her long-awaited music career on the back-burner during stretches of filming, the singer wants to assure the show's fans that she's not leaving anytime soon.

"I'll ride out that show until it's done, just because that's allowed me to do this right here," Hale says. "I don't think I'll ever quit acting, but in my heart, I feel like I'm a musician. I want to continue to make music for the rest of my life."



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