Where will you find tomorrow’s stars today? You may not have to look any further than your local shopping mall.
Shopping mall tours aren’t anything new. Many of today’s big names, including Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, played shopping malls early in their respective careers. One-time teen idol Tiffany credits her 1987 mall tour as an important part launching her rise to fame.
When you think of it, shopping malls are perfect venues for introducing artists to tweens. For one thing, the locations are already familiar to kids and their parents alike with the malls presenting friendly and safe environments for youngsters to experience what just may be their first tastes of live music.
One of the major mall tours underway this summer is the Shop Til You Rock outing presented by the Pepsi Refresh Product and featuring acts such as Manika, Action Item and For The Foxes.
But don’t go thinking the performers are barely above the junior high school talent show phase. For example, Action Item is a five-member group that has opened for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez and toured with Allstar Weekend.
Manika isn’t exactly a show-biz newbie, either The only female performer on Shop Til You Rock, the 17-year-old is co-managed by former Michael Jackson manager Frank DiLeo and “Pop Idol U.K.” music coach CeCe Sammy. Manika recently released her debut single, “Just Can’t Let You Go,” which includes a guest appearance from Young Money’s Lil Twist.
14-year-old Aussie popster Cody Simpson is also hitting the mall circuit. Discovered on YouTube by Jay-Z producer Shawn Campbell, Simpson is heading out on a tour of Simon Malls. Presented by Pastry and co-sponsored by Claire’s and anti-bullying movement Defeat The Label, Simpson’s mall journey begins in Lake Grove, NY, at Smith Haven Mall, and will play both coasts as well as stop in Arizona, Illinois and Colorado.
These days the malls are alive with the sound of music. As young hopefuls continue to trod the boards of temporary stages positioned next to food courts, there’s a good chance that many of them will have careers lasting longer than the fashions hawked by the trendier clothiers. Just ask Britney.