With ‘Victorious’ canceled, Justice seeks new opportunities while finishing new album
7 p.m. Aug. 16
St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340 A1A S., St. Augustine
Victoria Justice’s summer tour comes just as the singer/actress is an artist in transition.
The Nickelodeon television series that propelled her to popularity with the teen/’tween market, “Victorious,” has been canceled after three seasons. At age 20, even Justice knows it’s time to leave the Nickelodeon nest.
“I’m no longer a teenager anymore, so I’m definitely maturing as a person and I’m ready to explore new opportunities,” Justice said. “But my only regret is I wish I had known it was the final episode when we were filming it, because I didn’t get to give a proper goodbye to my character.”
The cancellation of “Victorious” has probably ended a run with Nickelodeon that began when Justice was 12.
Growing up in Hollywood, Fla., she became interested in doing commercials at age 8 after seeing a children’s commercial.
“I’d always loved performing,” Justice said. “My mom, from a very young age, had always introduced me to different types of music, like lots of oldies that she grew up with, and I was always watching different types of movies, like Shirley Temple films and Barbra Streisand films like ‘Funny Girl.’ I just had always been surrounded by the arts. I think it’s just something that piqued my interest, and when I saw a kid in a commercial about, like, my age, I just had this epiphany where I thought ‘Oh, maybe that’s something I can be good at, that I could try.’ ”
Justice’s instincts were correct. Her first audition landed her a commercial for Ovaltine, and her first audition for a modeling job resulted in a job as well.
“I got really lucky in a lot of ways, I guess,” Justice said. “I booked over, like, 30 commercials, a print campaign for Ralph Lauren and the Gap and Guess. So, I don’t know, I just started working really consistently.”
Seeing their daughter’s early success, Justice’s parents moved the family to Los Angeles, where Justice soon appeared on the radar of Nickelodeon. She auditioned for a role on “Zoey 101,” a series starring Jamie Lynn Spears in the title role of Zoey Brooks.
“They were looking for a new girl to play her new roommate,” Justice said. “I was 12 years old when I auditioned, and then I got called back. And Dan Schneider was in the room, who was the creator of the show, I guess he liked my performance and they decided to cast me as Lola on ‘Zoey.’ I did that for three seasons.”
Schneider obviously liked what he saw of Justice, because he immediately began developing “Victorious” as a vehicle for her varied talents.
Casting her as Tori Vega, a student making her way through a top performing arts school, Hollywood Arts High, the show put Justice in a setting where she could both act and sing. She recorded multiple songs for three soundtrack albums of the “Victorious” series, including the show’s theme song, “Make It Shine” and the iTunes hit “Freak the Freak Out.”
Signed to Columbia Records, Justice also began writing and recording for her first solo album, which she said is now nearing completion. A single from that album, “Gold,” has just been released to coincide with the tour with Big Time Rush.
Though Justice said she hopes her music will appeal to older fans, her debut album will still be geared toward the teen/’tween crowd that knows her from “Victorious.”
“My solo music definitely falls under the category of pop, for sure,” she said. “I think it’s just slightly more mature, maybe just a little bit edgier, nothing that’s going to shock anyone by any means.”
Justice said she plans to give fans “a taste” of the songs slated for her solo album this summer during her concert, but much of the show will be devoted to fan favorites from “Victorious” and a cover song or two. She also said fans can expect some visual bells and whistles in her show.
“There are going to be lots of cool lights, and we’re going to have video screens going and lots of other cool stuff,” she said. “I don’t want to give too much away yet. It will spoil the surprise.”