Mendler knew it would be best not to get involved and refrained from saying anything that could be used as fodder against her. Her key to surviving the harsh industry is simple - stay true to herself.

"I just be who I am. I don't have the tendency to do anything disobedient, so I don't feel the pressure much. I don't make a conscious effort to project a certain image," she said.

Fans clamour for photo and autograph opportunities and flock to her concerts, drawn by her down-to-earth attitude.

"It's really very flattering although I don't really consider myself (popular). But it shows that people are responding to my work and that is a good thing," said Mendler, who is in the midst of her second North America concert tour for her debut album Hello My Name Is...

Rapper

She rapped in her singles Ready Or Not and Hurricane, earning her comparisons with English singer-songwriter Cher Lloyd.

Mendler said: "I always loved writing songs and I decided that singing would be something that I would be happy to pursue as well."

She joins the ranks of Disney stars like Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and Demi Lovato who also dabble in music on top of acting. She remained tight-lipped when asked to comment on her biggest influence from the Disney stable.

"I think it's wonderful that there are Disney stars who do positive work via other platforms," she said simply, making no specific mention of any Disney idol.

She did, however, reveal that she draws inspiration from English singer Lily Allen, and in the US, from alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, hip hop/soul group Fugees and singer Bob Dylan.

Mendler hopes to collaborate with US singer Bruno Mars - for "his really cool style" - and pop diva Beyonce.

"It's been a dream from young to write a song for Beyonce. It would be amazing. I mean... what can be better than that?"

ashikinr@sph.com.sg


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