November 7, 2006

Vanessa Hudgens Goes Solo

The High School Musical star releases her first solo album and tours with the Cheetah Girls

By Madison N. Chapman

Fans know Vanessa Anne Hudgens as super-smart Gabriella from the movie High School Musical. Now she's going solo with her new album V, which was released September 26. The 17-year-old star is currently touring with the Cheetah Girls and gearing up for the filming of High School Musical 2 in February. Vanessa spoke with TFK about her new album and her goals for the future.

TFK: How would you describe your new album, V?
Hudgens: Well, I named it V because it stands for Vanessa, but it also stands for variety because my album, in a way, is a mix. My single (Come Back to Me) is like pop and R&B, but on my CD there is also pop rock and dance electronic and some ballads. So, it's like a fun mixture of everything.

TFK: Do you have a favorite song?
Hudgens: Gosh, you know, I love so many of them! It was so hard for me to try to pick a single because there is probably like six songs that I really, really like.

TFK: What singers do you admire most?
Hudgens: I grew up idolizing Celine Dion; I do to this day. I look up to her like no other.

TFK: How did you celebrate the release of your album?
Hudgens: Well, I didn't really celebrate it, now that I think of it. Man, I should have had a party or something! I was on Good Morning America the day it came out, so, I mean that was a good celebration I guess.

TFK: Do you like singing or acting better?
Hudgens: I love both! I mean, I grew up doing musical theater, so I really started off doing the two together. But, I really started doing my acting more than my singing and recently it has been all about the music. So, I don't know. I really love both.

TFK: Are you planning to release another album?
Hudgens: Yes! I haven't started working on it yet, but it's in the works!

TFK: What do you like the most about touring with the Cheetah Girls?
Hudgens: I think it's just really fun to be on tour. The whole driving on the tour bus thing is really fun because me and my dancers are all friends and I'm with people who are really cool. Just being on the tour bus is like a school field trip. When you're on the school bus and you're heading there and everybody is just having a blast, singing songs and everything. And that's what we do on the bus.

TFK: Can you tell us about the plot of High School Musical 2?
Hudgens: I still haven't read the script yet, but all that I know is that school's out, summer vacation takes place at Ryan and Sharpay's country club and I think I'm a lifeguard in it.

TFK: What would you like to see Gabriella do in the movie?
Hudgens: Well, there are a few things. I think it would be fun for her to come out of her shell a little bit and have some fun! Maybe get in trouble! See the good girls like Taylor and Gabriella get in trouble because we're such the goodie-girls and I think it would be interesting to see how they could handle it. And I know all the fans want to see me and Troy kiss, so it will happen!

TFK: If you could play any character in any movie, who would you want to play?
Hudgens: I would want to do West Side Story. It's an old musical and my idol, Natalie Wood, played Maria and that's my dream role.

TFK: What word describes you best?
Hudgens: Gosh, I don't know! It depends what day! [laughing] I don't know; I'm a whole bunch of things. Probably, 'genuine' because I'm the person who doesn't beat around the bush. I just tell it like it is.

TFK: What are your goals for the near future?
Hudgens: Just to keep doing what I'm doing now! After this tour, I think I'm probably going on a European press tour for my album and then we're shooting High School Musical 2 and then my second album and I don't know! There's a lot lined up. We'll just see what happens first.

TFK: What advice would you give to kids who are interested in acting and singing?
Hudgens: I'd say, just do all the school plays that you can, like theater and musicals. That's really where I think all of us have gotten our start from. And, you know, it's good experience! If you really want to do it, just go for it 110%... it's a hard business and there is a lot of rejection involved. But if you really want to do it, I'd say don't let anyone stop you!

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