Published on June 12th, 2019

Drake B

For fans, there is nothing like watching a childhood comedy icon grow and mature alongside them in real time. From co-writing his show’s theme song to studio releases of his own, Drake Bell is one of those lifelong companions.

Starring in the wildly successful Nickelodeon series, “Drake & Josh,” his acting credentials are broad and extensive. However, it’s apparent that writing and preforming music are Bell’s passions most tended to. He has evolved not only with the times, but even more so through his own personal growth and journey, as evidenced throughout his catalog. Bell’s first two albums, “Telegraph” (2005) and “It’s Only Time” (2006), were pop-fueled and fast-paced. In 2014 he put out a heart-pumping rockabilly album, “Ready Steady Go!” with Brian Setzer of Stray Cats fame producing. At 32, Bell is following the route of many veteran singer-songwriters with an all-acoustic tour. 

Bell has long been considered a heartthrob, but never so much as with the release of his newest sexually charged, reggaeton-inspired single, “Fuego Lento.” The video is simple, steamy and sultry. Bell, who speaks minimal Spanish, nevertheless decided to write part of a verse in the language of the loyal fanbase that brought him to No. 1 on Mexico’s pop charts.

“I’ve never sung in Spanish,” he told Billboard magazine last fall. “Every time I go down [to Latin America], if I’m just like ‘Buenos [sic] Noches,’ the crowd goes insane. I was like, ‘I have to sing in Spanish for the fans down there. It’s been too long — they’ve been so loyal to me, and I haven’t given them anything in their language.’ ”

Lately Bell is releasing music in the shorter EP format, creating at his own pace, where and when he chooses, without “an A&R person telling me what to do,” he told Billboard, all of which might explain his varied and somewhat episodic body of work.

From surviving and thriving as a child actor to nailing a Blues Brothers homage with co-star Josh Peck, to taking his artistry into his own hands, Bell reminds us that our past can influence our future without dictating it.

Drake Bell performs 8pm June 21 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach. drakebell.com  ~ Freddie Zandt

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