Vanessa Anne Hudgens, the star who portrays Gabriella Montez on the runaway hit "High School Musical," has signed an exclusive recording deal with Hollywood Records. Her debut CD "V" is being released September 26. Said Buena Vista Music Group Chairman Bob Cavallo, "We are delighted to have Vanessa at Hollywood. Not only is she talented, she is tireless in her work ethic and has a vision for her career. People will be very impressed when they hear her voice and see her perform." Certainly, Vanessa is no stranger to performing. She made her feature film debut in Catherine Hardwick's "Thirteen" starring Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood. Most recently she co-starred in the action-adventure film "Thunderbirds" and is a recurring guest star on the Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." Vanessa began her acting career in musical theater when she was 8 years old. She has played leading and supporting roles in "Evita," "Carousel," "The Wizard of Oz," "The King and I," "The Music Man," "Cinderella," and "Damn Yankees," among others.
Vanessa Hudgens is not "indescribable," as the MC who opens V
proclaims in a hopped-up, hyped-out voice. On the contrary, the smoky-eyed High School Musical
star commands a multitude of adjectives--she's adorable, talented, ambitious, and as this debut makes clearer than a set of invisible braces, young. With one foot in the grown-up, club-going world and the other in a powder-pink bedroom with a Barbie under the bed, Hudgens kicks out a crop of hooky and highly accessible tracks here. First single "Come Back to Me" dabbles in a sophisticated breed of disco, "Let's Dance" lets rip a whispery torrent of R-rated come-ons, and "Let Go," bolstered by its girls-night-out lyric, loses its inhibitions beneath an R&B-lite beat. Elsewhere, on tracks no less compelling, Hudgens explores her inner Hilary Duff: "Drive" pops the hood on her pop-anthem side ("As long as I'm alive, I'm gonna drive"), and "Afraid" wrestles with a sense of vulnerability all wrapped up in teen hormones ("Why am I so afraid/I can't see what's come over me"). Split personality or no, Hudgens makes a strong case through her Anna Nalick-reminiscent vocals alone that she's someone worth watching--a lot of emotion pours through her still-developing pipes and, as anybody who saw High School Musical
knows, the girl can twirl. -Tammy La Gorce