We met Disney star and singer Bridgit Mendler in her dressing room before her recent concert at The Paramount in Huntington.
We like your song "Hurricane." What is your favorite song that you've written?
My favorite song that I've written is probably "Hurricane." I really like that song as well. Got to rap on it, which that's pretty special for me. First and only time so far.
Which do you enjoy more, singing or acting?
I really do like them both. I'd say for me it's probably good if I like focus on one thing at a time, so right now I'm working on my music and then probably in the future I'll work on my acting. So right now I'm just sort of super-passionate about the music, but then in the future I'll probably be like really excited to do some acting.
If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
Do you guys know Outkast? They did the song "Hey Ya" back in the day. There's a rapper actually on there, Andre 3000, and I think he's pretty sick.
What's the best gift you ever received?
Probably my guitar when I was 16 for my birthday. I just started writing all these songs immediately.
Why did you choose to work with the charity Save the Children?
I chose to work with Save the Children because I really care about kids, obviously. I also care about education and specifically in the U.S. I think kids need to be assured a good education. So Save the Children, that's one of their big focuses. And so I was attracted to work with them.
Have you ever messed up on the stage, and what did you do about it?
I mess up on stage all the time. In my head I'm like freaking out and I'm just trying to get back on track because that's the thing. If you mess up for like a second, no one notices, but if you mess up for like 30 seconds, everyone notices. Usually if I mess up like a song lyric, I just try to get back on to the next song lyric or just try and find a song lyric, something to just improv. It's stressful, but at the same time it reminds you that it's live and anything can happen.
Where do you get your inspiration for a song?
I get my inspiration for songs from interesting stories. I think I really like just a good story. For me, that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be my own. I think it's really special if it is my story, but I enjoy telling stories about friends or family members or just even something I just made up.
What gives you the greatest joy?
That's a lovely question. What gives me the greatest joy is probably knowing I've made a positive impact on somebody's life in a real way. I think that's really special, and people allow another person in. Like for me, I think that's such a great honor, and I see that with fans when they allow me to impact their life through music or whatever. With friends, I think having close best friends is a really special thing, and family is so special. I think people bring a lot of joy.
Are you going to appear on any TV shows or movies coming up?
Right now I'm working on album No. 2, so I'm not doing a whole lot of acting, but I will at some point in the future, at which point I will definitely keep you guys posted.
Do you have a message to young people who want to break into the business of singing or acting?
I would probably say, you know you got to have a lot of passion for it, you got to work really hard and you got to not be afraid of things going bad for a little bit, have your family there to support you and at the same time with all that stressful stuff, like just have fun because if you have fun doing what you do, that's what people like seeing. People love seeing a performer that is just enjoying themselves on stage. So I think that's a very important part of it.
How does it feel being recognized in public?
It's really cool. When that first happened to me, it was after the Jonas TV show and I thought that was awesome, like they know me as Penny and it's not even my real name. I think sometimes when I'm looking really grungy, like when I just hopped off the airplane or just woke up or something I'm like oh dang, they're going to see me like this. But you know what, it's my real face, so it's probably cool. Like if I got to see Beyoncé after she just rolled out of bed, I would probably think that was pretty cool.
Who's your favorite co-star in "Good Luck Charlie"?
I was actually just texting them an hour ago, so they're all fresh on my mind, so I can choose my favorite. I would hate to choose a favorite. I love them all for different reasons. If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be Mia [Talerico], who plays Charlie, because we've gotten to see her grow up and everything and I think that's really special.
Can you relate to Teddy in "Good Luck Charlie"?
Yeah, I totally can. I think she really tries to do what's right and I appreciate that about her. She cares about people and she can be high-strung sometimes and so can I, but I think she means well.
Do you or do you not like your character on "Good Luck Charlie," and if not, who would you be?
I do like my character in "Good Luck Charlie." If I wasn't Teddy, I would probably want to be Gabe because he gets to play some pranks. He's a funny guy.
If you could cover any song, what would it be?
Any song? One of my all-time favorites is "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan, which OK, yes, it's kind of like an old man song. So an old man singing it versus me singing it would probably be a very different style. So I think that would be cool to apply my own flair to it.