On “Call It Whatever,” her Hollywood Records debut, Bella Thorne could have gone in a hundred directions. Ultimately she chose one. “I just wanted it to be a fun album,” says Bella. “Every song is different, but I wanted it to be fun for my ‘Bellarinas.’” The “Bellarinas” – her fans, who number in the millions worldwide – first fell for the 16-year-old redhead during her three-year run starring in the Disney Channel series, “Shake It Up.” Now, Bella moves on, with several upcoming film roles and a new album sure to shake up pop music.
Produced by top songwriter-producers such as Alex Cantrell and Bobby Brakens, “Call It Whatever” runs the table on themes and styles, from 80′s retro to EDM. As Bella explains, “Every song says something about what I’ve gone through or what teens go through. Love can be a tricky situation.”
Tying it together are Bella’s vocals, which make every song her own. “Call It Whatever” kicks off with the title track, a pop anthem about a hard-to-label romance. Bella flips the script on “Paperweight,” a meditation on love gone bad. “Even when you have many friends,” she says, “there are times everyone feels lonely.”
Tracks like “One More Night” and “Drop the Beat” show off Bella’s feel for dance music, something her fans enjoyed every week on “Shake It Up.” Meanwhile, “Boomerang,” with its Duran Duran vibe, reveals Bella’s lifelong passion for 80s pop.
On the funky “Down Like That,” Bella teams up with R&B singer Jacob Lattimore, though she returns to pop form on “Boyfriend Material,” “Bad Case of You” and “Break Into My Heart.” With its island groove, “Daydream” paints a picture of a backyard field of dreams, while “Jersey” proves to be the album’s biggest surprise. Co-written by Bella, the song is a moody, hip hip-flavored take on love, in all its glory.
The multi-talented teen grew up in Pembroke Pines, FL, the youngest of four children. She started acting at an early age, landing her first screen role at age 6. After moving to Southern California, she worked steadily as a child actress in both film and television, with appearances in “The O.C.,” “Big Love” and “Entourage” among her credits.
Everything changed in 2010 when Bella landed a starring role in the Disney Channel original series “Shake It Up.” Her three seasons as up-and-coming dancer CeCe Jones rocketed her to fame, with the show among the highest rated on the Disney Channel. Bella won a Young Artist and Imagen Award for her work.
After wrapping the show, Bella kept close ties to her Disney family, having signed with Hollywood Records and co-starring in the upcoming Walt Disney Studios film “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day” (November 2014).
For her big screen debut, Bella co-stars in “Blended,” opposite Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Her other upcoming 2014 films include “Home Invasion” and “Big Sky” opposite Kyra Sedgwick. Meanwhile, Bella’s social media following continues to mushroom, with more than 5.3 million followers on Twitter, 8.7 million likes on Facebook, and 2.8 million on Instagram.
Thorne was bullied at school, which led to her current stint as the Global Ambassador for StompOutBullying as well as an Honorary Board Member for The Dyslexia Foundation, both causes that she considers near and dear to her heart. As an animal lover Bella lends her name to the Humane Society and is a voice in favor of adopting animals over buying. Thorne will be honored by the Thirst Project Foundation with the Pioneering Spirit Award for her work to raise awareness two years in a row for their Dirty Little Secret Campaign, and donated funds to help build numerous wells in third world countries this past year. Later this year, Bella publishes her first novel in a three part series, the partly autobiographical “Autumn Falls” (Random House). AUTUMN FALLS is the first book in Bella’s new series that’s filled with personal elements from her own life and has everything readers will love and relate to: a real girl trying to find her own inner strength and be the best she can be, with a hint of magic and mystery!
Like her novel’s heroine, Bella, too, has dyslexia, a reading disorder she managed to conquer through sheer will. Today the 16-year-old reads at college level. “Dyslexia is very difficult,” she says. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for acting because I was forced to read in order to do something I love.”
Though “Shake It Up” is behind her, Bella says the impact the show had on her will last a lifetime. “It was a lot of work,” she recalls. “Most take a day off when they get sick. That’s not what we did. But it made me a stronger person.”
The future beckons, and it includes a turn on the world music stage thanks to “Call It Whatever. Bella knows she is ready. “I love what I do,” she says. “A lot of people don’t realize how lucky they are, but I do.
Call it whatever, but when it comes to Bella Thorne, no conventional labels will stick. “My fans see that I’m growing up,” she says. “I’m learning, and I’m living my life. Now I really take my life into my own hands.”