A version of this feature appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my interview with her tourmate Kendall Schmidt of Big Time Rush, click here.
Victoria Justice looks to the next phase of her multifaceted career
Coming off her run on the Nickelodeon TV series “Victorious,” the singer/actress is working on her first solo album and touring this summer with fellow Nick stars Big Time Rush.
School’s out for Victoria Justice, and for the singer/actress, “Summer Break” means touring with fellow Nickelodeon stars Big Time Rush.
“It’s definitely a really exciting, important time of my life. I try not to take any moment for granted. You know, I’m definitely gonna be taking lots of pictures on tour and tweeting,” Justice said in a recent phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “I’m super-grateful for the position that I’m in right now, and I’m grateful that I get to do what I love. I feel incredibly lucky.”
On Sunday, the “Summer Break Tour” is bringing Justice and Big Time Rush to Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena.
For many of her fans, Justice has grown up with them right before their eyes. The Hollywood, Fla., native started her acting career a decade ago and within a couple of years landed a supporting role on the Nickelodeon series “Zoey 101.” She moved up to Nick leading lady status with “Victorious,” playing an aspiring singer navigating life at a Hollywood performing arts high school.
“This tour to me is like my final hurrah for ‘Victorious,’ and I just want to thank all the fans for being there for me and for the show. But at the same time, it’s like we’re introducing them to and letting them hear my new music. Hopefully, they’ll come along on this journey with me,” Justice said.
“I’m 20 years old now and I’m like in creative control of this part of my life, which is very exciting. It’s a bit of like a reintroduction of myself because I kind of am in this transitional phase.”
The cable network surprised and dismay many viewers when it announced last summer that the musical sitcom would not be renewed for a fourth season. In March, “Victorious” won the Favorite TV Show prize at the fan-voted Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards anyway.
“And I cried. I cry every time. I cried this year, I cried the last year. It’s just always gonna happen,” Justice said laughing.
“The fans are incredible and they kept the show going and they were just so supportive. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to give them like a big finale, but it’s also kind of nice at the same time to go out on top and to leave people wanting more.”
Justice isn’t leaving devotees who have grown to adore her big voice and bubbly songs wanting for new music. Following two successful “Victorious” soundtracks —singles from the show have sold more than 3 million total tracks and the infectious song “Freak the Freak Out” has been certified gold — she is working on her first solo album, which she hopes to release late this year or early next year.
“I’ve waited a long time now to release my own music. I’ve been writing music since I was 16 for my album … so it’s really exciting that the time has finally come.”
She is performing two of her new songs — “Gold,” her debut single, and “Shake,” which she wrote — on the new tour.
“They’re both like really upbeat, fun songs… that you can groove and get down to. ‘Shake’ is kind of all about dancing and letting go and being spontaneous. It’s a really, really fun song with a really cool message,” she said. “‘Gold’ is a little bit sassier but it’s still like a really great upbeat summer song, like something that you’d wanna blast in your car with the top down driving along the Pacific Coast Highway.”
Although she is focusing this summer on her music career, Justice said she wants to continue acting as well. She has been passionate about pursuing a dual career since she moved to L.A. when she was 11 years old and enrolled in a performing arts academy.
“I love writing music; it’s just a great outlet and it’s something that’s very creative and fun for me. And I love performing. At the same time I also love playing different characters and being on set and learning from different actors and directors,” said Justice, who last year appeared on the big screen with a lead role in the Nickelodeon Movies comedy “Fun Size” and a supporting part in the indie film “The First Time.”
She is spending her summer with kindred spirits in Big Time Rush, a boy band whose four singers also star in a Nickelodeon series about four friends who move to L.A. to start a boy band.
“She is the consummate professional and she’s so nice all the time,” said Kendall Schmidt, one-fourth of the popular quartet. “You know, sometimes you get stressed. I’ve never seen her show stress, and I’ve never seen her show anything but just kindness. So she’s great to be around.”
“Summer Break Tour”
Featuring: Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice.
Special guests: Olivia Somerlyn and Jackson Guthy.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno.
Information: (800) 745-3000 or www.chesapeakearena.com.