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Cheetah Girls Loving Their Fast-Paced Success

Of the Oakland Press

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Sabrina Bryan doesn’t know what city the Cheetah Girls are in when she calls for an interview.

“I think we’re ... somewhere,” the 17-year-old singer and actress says with a laugh as she phones in from Syracuse, N.Y. “I know we were in (Washington) D.C. yesterday. We’re gonna be in Rochester (N.Y.) tomorrow. ...

“We’re 30-something shows into our tour now, y’know? I’m just going where they point me.”

The Cheetah Girls’ trajectory has been so fast you can understand why Bryan and her group mates — Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams — are a bit offbalance.

The three are part of the Disney movie adaptation of the popular book series about a teen singing group. The fi rst film, which aired in 2003 on the Disney Channel, was a hit and spawned a double-platinum soundtrack that spawned the hits “Cinderella” and “Cheetah Sisters,” as well as “The Cheetah Girls Karaoke” CD in 2004 and “Cheetah-licious Christmas” album spin-off last year.

Things are still spot-on for the Cheetahs thanks to “The Cheetah Girls 2” film and its accompanying soundtrack, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard album chart in August and has sold nearly 600,000 copies so far.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect anything like this,” says Bryan, a California native who also released a fi tness and dance DVD, “Byou — The Hot New Dance Workout,” last year. “We were just doing it as a movie, you know? With Disney’s reputation of bringing up stars and stuff, you do hope for the best; if nothing else, it’s a good building block in your career when you’re a young actress.”

In fact, Bryan notes, Disney didn’t even plan to release a soundtrack from the fi rst Cheetah Girls movie. “But when they did,” she says, “it was like a gold mine, and we really found our fan base wanting more from the Cheetah Girls.

“That’s when we decided to make a real group out of it.”

The trio plan to get even more real in the near future. Even though they’re in the midst of a lengthy tour, the girls are gathering material for their next album, which they hope to release in the spring of 2007.

This time, Bryan says, “We really want to raise the bar. (‘The Cheetah Girls 2’) was a huge leap for us, and we feel like we can go even further.

“We want to create a hybrid of the fan base we have now and older fans. There’s no reason why we can’t put out really good tracks and songs that are cool that an older audience would like but still have the clean lyrics and clean topics to sing about.”

Bryan says the trio are also doing some of their own writing while on tour.

“We’re trying to get (instrumental) tracks from the record company to really start writing some stuff,” she says. “We want to have everything done by the time we get off this tour and go straight into the recording studio.”

The Cheetah members, Bryan says, plan to work with producers and writers from its previous albums but will also explore new collaborators. Timbaland, she says, tops the wish list. “He’s just amazing at creating beats,” she notes.

The trio are also hoping for a third Cheetah Girls fi lm, but Bryan says that while she, Bailon and Williams are proudly wearing their spots, they still hope the “building block” leads to other things in their careers.

“We’re riding the wave and using the doors opened through the Cheetah Girls to do other things,” Bryan explains. “I have a production company. I’m doing some book reading and looking at something I want to make a movie out of. There’s a couple TV shows I would love to get going.

“There’s a lot of things I’d like to do — we’d all like to do. Being on the road and not actually being home and in my office makes it hard to get everything done, but I’m still very happy to be doing this.”

The Cheetah Girls, Vanessa Anne Hudgens perform at 7 p.m. Friday (November 10th) at the Masonic Temple Theatre, 500 Temple Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 471-6611 or call or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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