When Victoria Justice’s new album arrives, don’t expect a deep, dark side to emerge.
“We all have dark times and darker days,” she says. “And I want my albums to explore all sides and moods…but this is going to reflect different places in my life. It’s going to feel fun and happy.”
Now touring with Big Time Rush, the 20-year-old star of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” and “Zoey 101” is looking to reveal a more mature side with her music.
“When I was writing and singing music for the show, I was younger and the music wasn’t necessarily me. Now that I’m writing my own album, it’s very me. It’s more mature.”
A song will touch on a guy she was upset with, she says, but it won’t push Justice into Taylor Swift’s category. “She’s cornered the market on those songs.”
What might come through: Justice’s incredible work ethic. Acting since she was 10, she had hectic hours on the Nickelodeon projects.
“Sometimes I worked 16 hours a day and then I was in the studio on the weekend. I never had a day off when I was filming ‘Victorious.’ One year I only had six days off. I was busier than the average person in the entertainment industry.”
A complaint? Not in the least. “Moments of what we do are very glamorous and fun and there are perks to being in this business. But it’s also a lot of hard work.”
Because she hasn’t known another life, Justice took the hours in stride. “I’ve naturally been a hard worker and I just really enjoy what I do. I don’t think, ‘Oh, god, when am I going to get off the job?’ I just wanted to make it a great day, a great scene.”
To make sure work doesn’t overwhelm, Justice spends free time with her family and friends, “finding that balance.
“There are days when I’m not feeling my best and I don’t really want to talk to people and then I realize someone could be meeting me for the first time…and I want to make it a cool time, a pleasurable time for them. It’s part of my job. And I enjoy meeting the fans.”
Born in Hollywood, Fla., Justice started acting in a “Gilmore Girls” episode, segued into Disney Channel shows, then landed a featured role in “Zoey 101.” There, she got the chance to sing and the door was open for a music career.
One opportunity, however, doesn’t negate another, she says. “I will continue to do both – acting and sing. I’m just taking my time. I’m reading scripts for my next project and I want to be really careful.”
Adult roles aren’t necessarily the goal. “I want to do things that are creatively satisfying for me. I want to play a character that’s really interesting – something I can sink my teeth into. But I’m also not looking to shock.”
Music, she figures, is where she can bridge those age gaps.
“It’s a tough time if you don’t have a platform to break in. Shows like ‘X Factor’ or “American Idol’ can help because record labels want people with a fan base. Music isn’t selling the same way.”
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, she says, proved it’s possible to move from teen stardom to Grammy winner. In those days, “they had crazy, insane record sales. And it’s changed. It’s definitely different.”
Testing the waters on tour with Big Time Rush, Justice says she’ll sample some of the new music, do a few covers and do “all the songs from ‘Victorious’ that the fans are going to want to hear.”
“Touring is exhausting,” she says. “You’re away from family and friends. But at the end of the day it’s an amazing opportunity for me.
“I like the idea of being on the bus with everyone, going to different states I’ve never been able to see.
“And when I get up on stage and feel the energy? It’s crazy. It’s amazing. It’s overwhelming.”
In short, it’s just what Justice seeks.