"Camp Rock" sets the stage for newcomer Demi Lovato

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Not long ago, 15-year-old Demi Lovato was sitting in a conference room on Disney’s Burbank, California, studio lot with a dozen high-powered executives from across the conglomerate’s divisions.

She had submitted an audition tape, and the assembled bosses wanted to talk to her about auditioning for a few upcoming TV pilots. Disney Channel Worldwide president of entertainment Gary Marsh asked on a whim: “I know you sing -- would you mind sharing something with us?”

“They kind of put me on the spot,” Lovato recalls. “I don’t mind it. When people put me on the spot, it’s kind of like, ‘Hey, I’m not going to get nervous. I’m just going to do what I do.’ So I did what I did.”

What she did was belt out a spot-on rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man.” And, with that, she had the lead in the Disney Channel’s summer movie “Camp Rock.”

“Our jaws just dropped,” Hollywood Records senior vice president and general manager Bob Cavallo says. Lovato signed a record deal, and her first album will be released in November.

Lovato’s sweet show of vocal prowess as Cinderella-with-a-guitar in “Camp Rock” also led to another professional milestone: Now she’s teaming up with her co-stars in the movie, the pop-rock trio the Jonas Brothers, on the music side of her career. Not only will she open for the siblings on their Burnin’ Up tour this summer, but Lovato enlisted them in crafting the pop sound for her upcoming album as co-producers and co-writers.

“I’m more of a writer whose stuff wouldn’t make it on a Disney album,” she says, laughing. “It’s too dark. My mom’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, go to therapy.’ So I came to (the Jonas Brothers) like, ‘Ummmm ... I need help writing catchy stuff just because, well, my target audience isn’t metal music.”’