By Cori Rosen

It’s the same old story: marginally-talented teen actors that work for youth-oriented franchises like Disney or Nickelodeon attempt to expand their skill set and audience by breaking into the music industry.

Miley Cyrus paved the way for her successors. Hannah Montana was Disney’s most successful project to date; not only did Miley Cyrus make her way into pre-teens hearts through her television show, but she further conquered the biz with her music. Selena Gomez also began to shy away from her acting work on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place by releasing music with her band Selena Gomez & The Scene. To date, Gomez has released three studio albums and her hit “Love You Like a Love Song” is certified double platinum in the U.S.

There’s a pattern of success for these child actors working their way into the music industry, best exemplified by some of Disney’s first breakout stars: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera. Although this generation’s stars like Cyrus and Gomez have catchy hit songs, many artists in their position release music that succumbs to shitty bubble-gum pop and fails to have depth and lyrical value.

But Bridgit Mendler’s debut studio album Hello My Name Is…, released Oct. 22, steers away from Disney’s track record. Although not as well known as some of her fellow Disney peers, Mendler starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie Lemonade Mouth and as the protagonist Teddy Duncan on Good Luck Charlie.

Yet, Mendler defies Disney standards with her music. She exhibits actual potential by not relying on catchy beats but, instead, by emphasizing her soulful voice. After listening to her acoustic version of the album’s single “Ready Or Not” and her track “5:15,” it’s clear she’s not just another Disney-star-turned-music-wannabe; this girl actually has talent. Her raw tone and meaningful lyrics distinguish Mendler from the rest. And did I mention that Mendler co-wrote every track on her new album? This girl has got some serious skills.

Hopefully Mendler won’t be lost among the other Disney part-time actors, part-time shitty musicians, because she’s truly gifted.