A performer who carries equal weight in the twin arenas of pop recording and film and television acting, Drake Bell first staked out a career as an actor, signing for his premiere small-screen commercial at age five, in the early '90s. Bell commenced A-list film roles by 1996, when he made a memorable impression as a sports figure's son who bitterly curses agent Tom Cruise in Cameron Crowe's drama Jerry Maguire. Following small guest turns on such blockbuster series as The Drew Carey Show (1997) and Seinfeld (1998), Bell joined the cast of the Nickelodeon variety series The Amanda Show (1999-2002), as a regular member of the program's resident sketch comedy ensemble. In 2002, the show took its final bow, but Bell and co-star Josh Peck received their own spin-off sitcom, also on Nickelodeon: Drake & Josh (2004).
Meanwhile, Bell began to pursue musical interests, and established himself as a pop-rock star, thanks in no small part to the tutelage of the Who's Roger Daltrey, whom he met on the set of the 2001 telemovie Chasing Destiny, and who reportedly gave Drake his first music lessons. As a performer, Drake bore self-professed (and unmissable) stylistic ties to the Beatles, as well as echoes of the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley. Bell's recording career in fact neatly dovetailed with the debut of Drake & Josh on two levels: he both recorded the theme song and played a slightly exaggerated version of his guitarist self on the program. The up-and-comer self-produced his first album, Telegraph, in 2005, and its success prompted Universal Records to sign him for a sophomore release, the 2006 It's Only Time.
Alongside these efforts, Bell's acting efforts continued unabated, and he geared up for big-screen leads in the 2008 comedies College and Superhero -- the latter an Airplane!-style farce skewering the clichés of superhero movies.