Popping Up: Drew Seeley

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey, Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

It’s completely arguable that Drew Seeley has already popped up on a number of platforms, but we’re so impressed by this Renaissance Man, we simply had to feature him on Idolator. The Canadian-born pop singer/actor has appeared on stage, screen and the radio over the years, and he’s set to simultaneously star in his first TV show and release his first full-length album.

But many already know Drew as a crucial player in of one of the biggest money-making franchises of all time, Disney’s High School Musical—but he assures us he’s not all about the Benjamins. “Music is either made because someone is passionate and has something to say, or because someone wants to make money,” Drew tells us. “The former is instantly recognizable and what inspires me.”

Find out more about this sweet, humble and totally talented (not to mention Emmy-nominated!) performer after the jump.

HOMETOWN: Drew considers Whitby, Ontario, Canada—right outside Toronto—his hometown, although he went to high school and college in Orlando, FL.

MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Drew’s influences range from Michael Jackson and Jamiroquai to Hall & Oates and even Ella Fitzgerald. “I’m all over the place,” Drew admits. “When I hear a band or artist deliver something in a completely fresh way, it’s exciting and pushes me to work harder.”

MUSICAL BACKGROUND: Drew plays guitar, and his creamy vocals may have been passed down by his parents, who sang in choir. Drew was also a member of a rock band, jazz band and, oh yes, a boy band (called Nu Ground) before finding his personal style and sound.

WHAT HE SOUNDS LIKE: Take Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, mixed ith a little Robin Thicke and Adam Levine. Basically, this boy knows how to use his falsetto.

HIS BIG BREAK: Drew actually provided the vocals for the part of Troy—played on-screen by Zac Efron, as if you needed us to tell you—on the original High School Musical soundtrack and toured as Troy during the North America and Latin America HSM Tour (as Zac was off filming Hairspray at the time). Drew even snagged an Emmy nomination for co-writing the HSM song “Getcha Head in the Game”, which was nominated for an Emmy for Best Original Song and Lyrics.

HIS BIGGER BREAK: Drew starred in the 2008 movie Another Cinderella Story, opposite pop darling Selena Gomez and Glee‘s Jane Lynch, and also co-wrote several tracks on the film’s soundtrack. Check out his smooth dance moves from the flick, while his song “Just That Girl” plays in the background:

WHERE ELSE YOU’VE SEEN HIM: The singer grew a pair of fangs with his HSM buddy Lucas Grabeel for the gothic rock musical web series I Kissed A Vampire. Most recently, Drew played a single dad trying to juggle raising a baby and attending college in the Hallmark Channel movie Freshman Father.

WHERE YOU WILL SEE HIM: Drew will star in the TV show Glory Daze, which was just picked up for eight episodes and will premiere this November on TBS. He’s also preparing his first solo LP, which Drew plans to shop around and release later this year. 

HOW HE CAN RELATE TO A FELLOW CANADIAN POP STAR: “I know how Justin Bieber must feel right now,” Drew tells us, regarding his time spent touring with the High School Musical crew. “We filled stadiums, watched people practically throw themselves in front of our buses, hugged a lot of crying girls… it was nuts. A once in a lifetime experience.”

BROADWAY BABY: Drew recently played Prince Eric in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. It was first role on the Great White Way, but not his first time on stage. “My first job was on stage in Showboat in Toronto when I was 11. So it really felt like I came full circle. I loved every show for those three months of Mermaid.”

LET’S HEAR IT: Listen to Drew’s latest single, “Best At The Time” from Freshman Father. The track is available to download on iTunes.

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/06/01-Best-At-The-Time-for-Sesac.mp3″ text=”Drew Seeley – Best At The Time” dl=”0″]

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SINGING OR ACTING? Drew admits that he’s still learning how to properly balance his two loves. “I love doing both, and try to find ways to contribute music to the acting projects I’m involved with. I’m a master multitasker, but I’m starting to learn that you can’t really do your best work unless you put one-hundred percent focus into what you’re doing at that moment.”

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT TO HEAR ON HIS UPCOMING ALBUM: Get geared up for everything from R&B to pop to rock and funk on Seeley’s upcoming album, but don’t worry about it feeling too tame—Drew says that although being a part of the Disney family has infinitely helped his career, it doesn’t define him as an artist. “If you know a song is going to get airplay on Radio Disney, you’ve got to be very aware of the lyrics,” Drew tells us. “It’s all about just knowing your audience for any particular project… [but] the new album will be my voice with no restrictions. It ain’t High School Musical. I’ve grown up a bit, and I know my fans have, too.”

OUR VERDICT: With shrewd performances behind the scenes, on camera and in the studio, Drew Seeley is the real deal. We definitely see him becoming the next Justin Timberlake—a funny, ambitious performer who excels at everything he goes after.

Check out more of Drew’s tunes over at his MySpace Music profile, then go friend him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.