In addition to acting, Bell has a career in music starting in the early 2000s, at the time of his appearances on The Amanda Show, with a band named Drake 24/7. He also co-wrote and performed the theme song to Drake & Josh, entitled "Found a Way." In 2005 he independently released his debut album, Telegraph, released under Bell's own name. His second album, It's Only Time, was released in 2006 after signing with Universal Motown Records and debuted at #81 on the Billboard 200, selling over 23,000 copies its first week of release. It's Only Time has sold 178,000 copies in the United States as of 2012. His first video album, Drake Bell In Concert, was released in 2008. It debuted at #81 on the Top 100 Mexican Albums Chart. Bell released an EP in 2011 called A Reminder independently. In 2014, Bell released his third album, Ready Steady Go! under indie label Surfdog Records. Ready Steady Go! debuted at #182 on the Billboard 200, and sold 2,000 copies in its first week of release.
Bell was born on June 27, 1986 in Newport Beach, California. His parents are Robin Dodson, a professional billiards player, and Joe Bell. He has three older brothers, including Robert and Travis, and one older sister, Kellie.
Bell started acting at the age of five, encouraged by his father. He stated "I was five, and my dad kind of said, 'Hey, you wanna be an actor?' and I said, 'Sure,' that kind of thing, you know? I was kind of put into it by my dad but, you know, good. I really love it, and I still do it." Bell's first televised commercial was for Whirlpool Appliances. "I had to sit under a tree and eat a Popsicle," Bell later stated, "I thought, 'I could get used to this.'" His first television show appearance was on a 1994 episode of Home Improvement. He appeared in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, and had a small role in the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger" in 1998. In 1999, he acted in a commercial for Pokémon Red and Blue and in the movie Dragon World: The Legend Continues. In 2000, he was nominated for a Young Artist Award for his role as Cage Redding in the made-for-television film The Jack Bull. He began to play guitar at the age of twelve. He received his first official guitar lessons from Roger Daltrey when he starred with him in the 2001 film Chasing Destiny. From 1999 until the show was cancelled in 2002, Bell was a featured performer on The Amanda Show. He also made a guest appearance on the series The Nightmare Room.
In 2003, Bell was cast as Drake Parker alongside real life best friend and former Amanda Show costar Josh Peck on the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh. During this time period, he made a guest appearance as himself on Nickelodeon's Zoey 101 and won the first of three consecutive "Blimp Awards" at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in the "Favorite TV Actor" category. His song, "Found a Way" (featured as the theme song for Drake & Josh) is also included on the show's soundtrack, which was released on February 22, 2005. In 2005, Bell co-starred alongside fellow Drake & Josh actress Miranda Cosgrove with Dennis Quaid in Yours, Mine and Ours. Telegraph, Bell's debut album, was released independently on August 23, 2005. The album includes 12 tracks. All the tracks were single-handedly written by Bell with the exception of "Highway to Nowhere". Being an independent release, the album ran out of print, and was re-released on August 7, 2007. Bell's song "Highway to Nowhere" was performed on an episode of Zoey 101. "Highway to Nowhere" is included on the Drake & Josh soundtrack and Bell's album Telegraph. Bell's song "Down We Fall" was played on an episode of Drake & Josh titled "Number 1 Fan". In 2005, Bell performed with Hawk Nelson in a video for the Hawk Nelson song called "Bring 'Em Out," which was featured in the movie Yours, Mine and Ours. The studio version was included on Hawk Nelson's EP Bring 'Em Out and on the special edition of Hawk Nelson Is My Friend.
In 2006, Bell signed with Universal Motown. Bell's second album, It's Only Time, was released on December 5, 2006. Bell wrote all of the songs. However, they were all co-written with C.J. Abraham, Michael Corcoran, or both. It reached Number 81 on Billboard's Top 200. It also charted on the Billboard Rock Charts at number 21. The album was more successful in Mexico, reaching number 4 in the Mexico Top 100. It is his first album to chart on the Billboard 200, and his highest-selling album with more than 178,000 copies sold in the United States as of 2012. He released the lead single, "I Know", on October 17, 2006. The video for "I Know" was released in October 2006. The single topped the Mexican music charts. "I Know" also appeared on the 2010 compilation album, Pure Love Songs Vol. 2. His song from It's Only Time, "Makes Me Happy", peaked at number 3 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles Chart, which is an extension of the Hot 100. The song also made an appearance on the Pop 100 at number 67 and on the Hot Digital Songs chart at number 45. Because of the song's popularity, on October 16, 2007, the Radio Disney single edit version of his song "Makes Me Happy", was released on iTunes. He also featured on the theme song for the show iCarly, "Leave It All to Me," with his Drake & Josh co Miranda Cosgrove. The music video for the song was released on Cosgrove's Vevo YouTube channel on September 28, 2010. The song took the lowest position on the Hot 100, peaking at number 100. It also peaked on the Pop 100 at number 83. He performed some Christmas songs in the Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh movie, including "Jingle Bells" and "Christmas Promise". A DVD entitled Drake Bell In Concert was released on December 16, 2008. The video was unable to crack the 2008 or 2009 Top 100 in the U.S., but did chart on the Top 100 Mexican album charts, peaking at number 81. The DVD contains footage of him and his band live on stage while they toured in Mexico, filmed during five sold out fall nights. It also features 2 new songs and five covers, all of which are exclusive to the DVD. In the spring, Bell had a starring role in the comedy spoof film Superhero Movie. Bell recorded a theme song featuring his co-star Sara Paxton for the film called "Superhero! Song", which was released on April 8, 2008. In August 2008, he co-starred in the comedy College, which was shot on location in New Orleans. Bell also starred in Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh alongside Josh Peck, which began production in July 2008, and premiered on December 5, 2008. In 2009, his songs "Unbelievable" and "Modern Times", which was featured on a commercial for Twalkin, were released exclusively on MySpace. Bell was also cast in a pilot for a then upcoming CBS comedy series, Fish Tank, stating Bell's involvement is what put the series into production in the first place. The series however, was never picked up. Bell also had a third album, set to be released in 2009, however, the album was apparently shelved and never released.
In 2010, he made a cameo appearance as Drake Parker in an iCarly episode entitled "iBloop" and a guest role in I Owe My Life To Corbin Bleu. He starred as Timmy Turner in the live-action TV-movie adaptation of its hit animated series The Fairly Odd Parents, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!, released in 2011 and reprised his role in the 2012 sequel, A Fairly Odd Christmas. On May 18, 2011, a music video for Bell's song "You're Not Thinking" was released on YouTube. Bell's EP, titled A Reminder, was released on June 28, 2011. The lead single of A Reminder, "Terrific", was released on June 14, 2011, with the music video being released on December 9, 2012. The EP was produced by John Fields, who previously worked with Rooney, Jimmy Eat World, Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers, and Bleu. Bell said he decided to release A Reminder because he hasn't put out new music in a few years and "a full album will probably not happen until next year." Bell was also sued by Fields, the producer of the EP, for 9 songs at 9,000 dollars each, totaling up to 81,000. Bell only paid for 5 songs for 45,000, but only 4 songs made it to the EP. In February 2012, Bell appeared in a Shane Dawson YouTube video entitled Kidnapping Drake Bell. Bell was cast as Spider-Man in the animated TV series: Ultimate Spider-Man based on the comic book of the same name. He later reprised the role in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, replacing Josh Keaton who originally recorded his role for the series. He has also voiced the role of Spider-Man in two video games, Marvel Heroes, an MMORPG, and Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. He was also in the 2012 Nickelodeon movie Rags as Shawn and a guest role in Keenan Cahill's story as himself. In 2013, Bell participated in the first season of the ABC reality TV series Splash, a celebrity diving competition, in which he made third place. On November 1, 2013, Bell released the studio version of his unreleased song "Nevermind", on YouTube. He released a holiday single, "Christmas Promise", on December 17, 2013. Throughout 2013 and 2014, Bell had roles in several animated films, such as The Naughty List, Adventure Planet, Birds of Paradise and Under Wraps. Bell starred in the third of the trilogy of The Fairly OddParents Live-action films called A Fairly Odd Summer, reprising his role as Timmy Turner, which was released on August 2, 2014. In 2014, Bell was nominated in the Capital Twitter Awards for Biggest Twitter Feud vs. Justin Bieber. Bell also appeared on Takepart Live, to discuss his bankruptcy and other activities. Bell starred in an animated film entitled Frozen in Time, which was released November 11, 2014.
Bell had his third studio album set to be released in early 2013. Then, he stated it as "a complete concept record. Getting in a time machine and going back to the 40's and 50's." On April 22, 2014, Bell released his third studio album, his first rockabilly album, Ready Steady Go!, under Surfdog Records, with which he signed in 2012. It was produced by Peter Collins and childhood idol, Brian Setzer, frontman of the rockabilly revival band, Stray Cats. He has referred to the album as "getting in the DeLorian, hitting 88 miles per hour, and going back to the future." The album's lead single, "Bitchcraft", was released on January 28, 2014. The single was remixed by French electro swing band Caravan Palace. The album's promotional single, "I Won't Stand In Your Way", a cover of the Stray Cats original song, was released on April 17, 2014. A cover of Cask Mouse's song "Bull", was released as the album's second single on October 8, 2014. The single was listed in the Mexican radio Top 10 for a number of weeks. The album was recorded completely live. It debuted and peaked at number 182 on the Billboard 200 and sold 2,000 copies in its first week of release. Bell took part in the High School Nation Tour in support of Ready Steady Go!, touring High Schools all around the U.S. The tour lasted from September 16, 2014, to October 22, 2014. It began in Los Angeles, California, and ended in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bell also performed at Exa FM's Concerto Exa 2014 in Mexico City, performing to more than 50,000 people.
He starred with his Drake & Josh co-star Miranda Cosgrove in the animated film A Mouse Tale, which was released directly to DVD on February 10, 2015. Bell stars in the slasher film L.A. Slasher as The Popstar, which was released on June 26, 2015, in a limited theater release. Bell recorded a song for the film's soundtrack, titled "Day & Night". He also stars alongside Bella Thorne and Cameron Dallas in the United States dub of The Frog Kingdom which was released on June 30, 2015 on video on demand and on DVD. He appeared in a documentary about the genre of rockabilly and its culture titled It's a Rockabilly World! Bell later reprised his role as Spider-Man in the 2015 game Disney Infinity 3.0. He is also set to appear in an episode with his Drake & Josh co-star Josh Peck on Peck's new FOX television series, Grandfathered; Bell will guest star as Kirk, a wealthy tech investor. The episode with Bell aired in the Spring of 2016. Bell is set to star as Dan Orange, lead singer of a band called "Orange and the Dead Ends" in a new digital series called Dan is Dead. The premiere date has not yet been revealed. Bell has recorded a song titled "We're Dead" for the series.
On January 4, 2015, Bell revealed a picture of his broken wrist on Twitter saying, "Doctors say I'll never play guitar again, it's over". Even though the injury (which was caused by diving into the shallow end of a pool at his brother's birthday party) at first seemed to threaten Bell's further career as a musician, he has recovered quickly from the injury, and is back to playing guitar.
Bell embarked on a concert tour in Mexico starting on February 5, 2016, which ended on February 7, 2016. The tickets were sold out within minutes of going on sale online. Though Bell started the tour in 2015, the Ready Steady Go! Tour will continue in 2016. The season four premiere of Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD, starring Bell as the title character, aired on February 22, 2016. Bell toured high schools in the US as part of the High School Nation Tour, from March 28, 2016, to April 29, 2016. Bell stars in the 2017 film Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, a sequel to the 2012 film Bad Kids Go to Hell.
Bell released an EP titled Honest, on June 30, 2017.
Since 2009, Bell has supported the Thirst Project, a non-profit organization that addresses the issue of the clean water crisis by raising awareness through education. Bell's contributions include public appeals and concerts to raise funds. Seth Maxwell, founder of the Thirst Project, recruited Bell to be the 'face' of the campaign. Bell has also made contributions to other organizations such as Toys for Tots. On April 18, 2015, Bell performed at the Strawberry Bowl in support of the charity Rockin A Cure, for cystic fibrosis.
On December 29, 2005, Bell was involved in a car accident on Los Angeles's Pacific Coast Highway. While driving with a friend, another vehicle ran a red light, resulting in a head-on collision. His injuries included a fractured neck, a fractured vertebra and several facial lacerations. Along with losing seven teeth, Bell's jaw was broken in three places and had to be wired shut for healing.
In 2007, Bell purchased a 2,640-square-foot house in Los Feliz for $2,050,000. After Bell filed for bankruptcy in California in early 2014, the house was taken in foreclosure. Sources claim Bell was in debt for $581,000.
Bell was arrested for DUI in 2009, and was charged in 2010. On December 21, 2015, Bell was arrested for suspicion of DUI in Glendale, California. He was released on $20,000 bail. Bell was charged with his second DUI in January 2016, and faced up to a maximum of a year in a county jail, due to it being his second offense within 10 years. His license was also suspended and he appeared in court on March 21, 2016. Bell plead not guilty, and a pretrial hearing was scheduled for August 5, 2016. Bell was found guilty in court, and due to a plea deal with the judge, he was sentenced to four days in jail. He only spent one day, due to overcrowding and good behavior.
Bell is a cousin of former San Diego Padres relief pitcher Heath Bell.
Bell has described his music as being heavily influenced by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Brian Setzer. Among the other music acts and artists which have influenced Bell are Oasis, Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley, and Chuck Berry.Telegraph (2005)
It's Only Time (2006)
Ready Steady Go! (2014)
Bell was nominated for a Young Artist Award twice, once in 2000 for his role in The Jack Bull, in which he won, and another time in 2006 for Yours, Mine and Ours. He has won 10 Kids Choice Awards, 3 in the United States and 5 internationally for his role as Drake Parker on Drake & Josh. He also won a Kids Choice Award in 2007 in the United Kingdom for Best Male Singer, winning over Justin Timberlake. He was also nominated for Best TV Actor, but lost to Nat Wolff. Bell has also won a Teen Choice Award in 2008 for his role as the Dragonfly in Superhero Movie. He was also nominated for an award in 2014 in the Capital Twitter Awards for biggest Twitter feud with Justin Bieber.