If you happen to reminisce about your television-filled childhood, you may find yourself plagued by a truly puzzling question: whatever happened to Drake Bell?
Well, it turns out, he’ll be right here in Berkeley this weekend — not as the actor from “Drake and Josh,” but as a musician exploring a new sound.
Bell will be performing in Pauley Ballroom this Sunday as part of the Relay For Life Music Fest. At the festival, he will get a chance to showcase his recent work, a significant departure from his prior discography.
Since his beloved days on Nickelodeon, Bell has released a number of EPs and albums, the latest of which, an album titled Ready Steady Go!, was released three years ago. Now, he’s getting back into the music game — Bell just recently released a new EP, Honest, with four tracks of a whole different feel from what fans may have been expecting.
“This is a completely new sound for me. I’m putting out music to connect with my Southern California roots. With my new EP Honest, I’m really trying to create something that’s light and fun,” said Bell in an email to The Daily Californian.
Unlike the more rock ‘n’ roll-based sound that we’re accustomed to hearing from Bell, Honest falls much more in the realm of breezy pop music. The EP contains the kinds of carefree summertime tunes that make you want to take a sunny coastal drive with the windows down — perhaps a glimpse into the Newport Beach native’s upbringing.
But even beyond drawing from his hometown environment to create this fun, new sound, Bell’s entire shift from an acting-focused to music-focused career stems from a desire that began in his childhood and continued to grow during his time as an actor.
Although he is probably most famous for playing Josh Peck’s brother in “Drake and Josh,” Bell had always remained connected to his music. Even his character on the “Drake and Josh” show was more or less his music-obsessed alter ego, and Bell actually wrote the show’s iconic theme song, “Found a Way” — a tune so ingrained in the memories of our generation that it may be physically painful not to sing along. It seems that even throughout his most well-known acting role, Bell never really strayed from his passion for music.
“Music has always been my roots and it’s something that I grew up with so going back to music has been harder, but it’s something that’s always been with me,” said Bell.
Essentially, Bell’s newest EP is inspired by and aimed at returning to something — to his passion, to his home. And there’s something quite comforting about this sentiment, that despite straying from his familiar roles as an actor and a rock and roll musician, his new sound will be bringing us back to where he started.
How fitting, then, that Bell will be performing in Pauley Ballroom this Sunday for a crowd of college-aged students and fans that grew up watching him on Nickelodeon — indulging us in our own bit of nostalgia, and maybe, for a moment, we’ll feel that same warm sentiment that comes with returning to our past.
Not only will Bell be playing his new music at this concert, but there will also be 4 other DJs and local singers performing throughout the event. This multi-artist concert is being put on by Colleges Against Cancer, a student-run organization at UC Berkeley whose mission is to help eliminate cancer by fundraising for the American Cancer Society. For this event, they’ve partnered with We Dream Worlds, a nonprofit that connects artists like Bell to various organizations that promote social change.
Bell got involved with Colleges Against Cancer earlier this summer and was very excited to put this show together, since he really believes in the cause.
“Cancer is something that everyone has been connected to in one way or another and I think that We Dream Worlds is really doing something cool here,” said Bell. “I’ve done charity projects at Berkeley before and am really excited to share my new music with you all.”
Supporting cancer research, hearing Drake Bell’s new music along with other artists, seeing one of your childhood influences live and in-person — there are many things that set the Relay For Life Music Fest apart from just any show. From the looks of it, the event is prized to be what Bell himself describes as, “more than just a concert.”
Buy tickets for the Relay For Life Music Fest ft. Drake Bell here: goo.gl/aGQHYj using the discount code CAL2021 for 25 percent off.
Contact Julia Bertolero at [email protected].