Drake Bell

While you may recognize him from his roles on both the small screen and big, Drake Bell also wants you to associate him with music.

While you may recognize him from his roles on both the small screen and big, Drake Bell also wants you to associate him with music.

He may have some help from earning his first Billboard chart ink for "It's Only Time," his first major-label release, on Universal Motown. The set bowed at No. 81 on The Billboard 200 and No. 21 on the Rock Albums chart at the end of December.

"I wasn't sure at first how people were going to take it," Bell, 20, tells Billboard.com. "It really didn't matter, either. It was something I needed to do, for me. I'm really proud of what came out."

Bell first started performing when he was five -- as an actor in commercials. He went on to co-star in the Nickelodeon series "Drake & Josh" as a popular guitar-wielding, though sometimes ditzy, high school student. He also leant his talents to movies like "Yours, Mine and Ours," "Jerry Maguire" and as a young Rob Gordon in "High Fidelity."

"I don't really feel like people are going to see a new side of me or anything. A lot of who I am is in the work I do," he says. And he'd be right: his song "Found a Way," the second track on his 2005 self-released album "Telegraph," is the theme song to the Nickelodeon show. "I would say that I'm more than just a teeny-bopper artist ... that my music can appeal to people of all ages."

The young singer/songwriter has had to do a lot of growing up on his own. After getting into a head-on collision in Los Angeles shortly before the New Year in 2005, Bell sustained a number of injuries to his face. The wreck left a deep gash in his chin and broke several bones in his jaw, leaving his mouth wired shut for nearly two months. "It just gave me a new, appreciative perspective on life," he says.

Less than six months later, he entered the studio with friends C.J. Abraham and Michael Corcoran and together they wrote, recorded, mixed and produced "It's Only Time." While his new label was hesitant to release an album that hadn't been touched by any of its appointed producers and musicians, Bell said that it only took one song for Universal executives to be convinced it could stand on its own.

"I think having it any other way would feel false. I felt capable that we could get it done, and we did," he says.

Having finished a slew of radio promotion dates, Bell is now attempting to organize a winter tour. He's still plucking through scripts and opportunities for movie roles, but, for now, "music's going to be my life for a while."


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