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THE WEEK AHEAD

Duff adds pop music to her credits

September 15, 2003|Geoff Boucher

Hilary Duff has proven herself to be a tween machine in television, film, books and even clothes, and now pop music can be officially added to the list.

The sprightly Duff starts this week with the No. 1 album in the country with her debut disc "Metamorphosis," and while that top spot will be fleeting (John Mayer looks like a sure bet to claim it with his new album when the next tally is released Wednesday), there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Duff will be an ubiquitous voice and face in coming months.

That is especially true because the "tween" audience (as 9- to 14-year-old consumers are labeled) is especially potent in pop music and needing superstars of their own, since Britney and Justin are far too old and the Wiggles are, like, so kindergarten.

If you have an adolescent daughter or you yourself are too young to drive, then you surely know Duff from her role as the brassy but wholesome Lizzie McGuire, the middle-school student who dealt with boys, peer pressure and hall monitors on the popular Disney Channel television series that spun off this summer into the successful film called, logically, "The Lizzie McGuire Movie."

With the series now over, Duff already has two non-Lizzie films lined up. But her most intense energies at the moment are toward her newly minted pop star career, which has already put her on a short list with the likes of Ricky Nelson and Janet Jackson as a child sitcom star turned into chart-topping recording act.

Despite a hit video on MTV and some television soundstage performances, however, Duff has little in the way of real concert experience.

That will change in November with a limited tour of 1,000-seat venues. She will also tour radio stations, hitting the promotion circuit in parts of Europe and Asia, performing on awards shows and even at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.

The first big national opportunity to prove herself will be on the WB Network, which on Sept. 24 will air the youngster's taped concert performances from Hawaii in "Hilary Duff's Birthday Special."

Yes, amid all the hoopla and big plans, this veteran performer is turning all of 16 this month.

-- Geoff Boucher

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