While some of the daytime artists at Red, White and Boom will be virtual unknowns to a lot of fans, Lucy Hale is in millions of homes every week keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
As Aria Montgomery, she is part of the foursome at the center of the ABC Family television drama Pretty Little Liars. But her character's operatic name and ever-present earbuds could be seen as a hint that there has always been a musical ambition close to the surface of Hale's career.
"I always grew up loving music," Hale says on break from filming the show. "Instead of going to the mall, I was the girl who always wanted to go home and play with my karaoke machine. So I knew at a pretty young age that I wanted to be a performer."
Hale, 25, was first seen by national audiences in 2003's American Juniors, an American Idol spin-off that ran for one summer. She finished in the Top 5, but then her career turned toward acting, with stops at many of the top tween series of the past decade including Wizards of Waverly Place and Drake & Josh. As the decade turned, her work got more adult, including the TV dramas Private Practice and CSI: Miami and the movie Scream 4.
But it was Pretty Little Liars that has made her a star. Questions about it follow her wherever she goes, she says.
The show's 100th episode airs Tuesday, packing a lot of drama and revealing a few secrets, something Hale says she has to keep when she's out on the road with her music.
"I get asked about the show everywhere, which is cool," Hale says. "I am very grateful for that show, and it has allowed me to do so many things."
She started work on her country music debut, Road Between, two years ago, and has been balancing acting and music ever since.
"I always knew when I released an album that it had to be the perfect spot in life for me," Hale says. "I got signed at 23, and it felt right. It felt like I had a strong perspective, and it felt like I had things to say.
"I've experienced what every other young woman has, like heartbreak and love, and there's a couple of songs on the album that have strong messages," Hale says. "We took a couple years to come up with a collection of songs that really showcase Lucy."
One of those songs was Nervous Girls, which Hale says, "is sort of a universal song that says, it doesn't matter where you live, or what you do for a living or what you look like, or how old you are, it says that everyone deals with inner demons. We all have struggles and battles, and at the end of the day, we're all kind of the same, we're all nervous girls.
"It's a message you don't hear that often, or you don't hear girls singing about, that as a young female, we always have to have it all together, and it's rare to hear someone be vulnerable in that way."
One of the adjustments for Hale is being herself, not Aria or one of the other characters she's played, when she is standing in front of a live audience.
"When I'm on the show, I'm not talking about my story, I'm bringing another story to life, and hiding behind wardrobe and hair and makeup," Hale says. "With music, there's nothing to hide behind. To put yourself out there in that way is absolutely terrifying.
"But it's very gratifying for me. I'm constantly growing as an artist, and it's nice to get back to the music. I missed it a lot more than I had realized."
Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: copiousnotes.bloginky.com.