During a recent chat, former boy band sensation Jesse McCartney broke down the path to teen stardom: “If you have a cute kid who can sing, you have a cottage industry.”
That about nails it. There are a number of performers who fit McCartney’s description, including Miranda Cosgrove, Bridgit Mendler and Victoria Justice.
The latter is the latest teen dream to emerge from the Nickelodeon factory. The pretty star of the cute Nick sitcom “Victorious” — who opens the Kansas State Fair’s Grandstand lineup with a concert Friday night — should be able to relate to the character she portrays.
Justice, 19, portrays an aspiring singer enrolled at a renowned Hollywood arts school. That’s Justice’s story after leaving Florida at age 10 for Los Angeles. She auditioned and made the cut for Los Angeles’ Performing Arts Magnet school.
Justice, who is touring behind “Victorious Vol. 2,” which dropped in June, was part of Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101” during her early teen years.
“I’m busy, but I’ve always been pretty busy,” Justice said. “It’s something that I enjoy.”
Justice said she doesn’t believe she was deprived of a childhood, which was heavily scheduled.
“I don’t think I missed out,” she said. “I worked quite a bit. I modeled and did commercials, but I led a normal life. I went to public school. I think that’s a big reason why I’m grounded. I’ve had fun doing regular things, and I’ve put a lot into music and acting. It’s a good balance.”
The fruits of Justice’s work ethic are evident. Her pop-rock tunes are innocuous and agreeable. She can clearly belt out a tune, and she’s not a bad writer. “Best Friend’s Brother,” in which she has a co-writing credit, is one of the best songs from the 2011 album “Victorious: Music From The Hit TV Show.”
“I think I’m growing as an artist,” Justice said. “What I’m trying to do is make progress with everything I do. I think I’m getting there. My music is eclectic. It isn’t kiddie music. I love doing music. I love acting. I love doing it all. I’m just thrilled that I have the opportunity to do so much. I want to get better as a songwriter. I just sit down and try to draw from my own experiences. It’s great when I perform and people get up and dance, or, if I do a ballad, they connect with that. It’s only going to get more interesting for me. But I’m happy with where I am now.”