Zac Efron is forever beloved for portraying Troy Bolton in the High School Musical movies. You can't even imagine anyone else playing that role. And while you've most likely memorized all the words and choreography (really, who can't bust out every move to "We're All in This Together" by now?!) to the songs from the three movies in the series, you might've noticed that Zac's voice sounds a bit different in the first film. Well, that's because it wasn't really him singing in the movie. I know, he truly gave it his all and we believed it was Zac singing those magical lyrics to us, but alas, it wasn't. It was actor Drew Seeley.
It wasn't until High School Musical 2 that we got to hear what the actor's singing voice is really like all on his lonesome and again in HSM 3: Senior Year. Plus, he sang in another musical movie he filmed, Hairspray, where he played the role of Link. And he sounds great in all of these songs so that leads us to wonder...
Why didn't Zac sing in High School Musical?
We dug all the way back to 2007 to uncover the truth and Zac actually gave an interview to the Orlando Sentinel where he spoke about why it was important for him to fully sing all of the songs in HSM 2.
"That was a very huge point for me. I had to put my foot down and fight to get my voice on these tracks," Zac said. "In the first movie, after everything was recorded, my voice was not on them. I was not really given an explanation. It just kind of happened that way. Unfortunately, it put me in an awkward position. It's not something I expected to be addressed. Then High School Musical blew up. I'm very fortunate that Drew has gotten proper credit and also that I've gotten the opportunity to come back and try it again with my own voice. He's very talented. I consider myself a regular kid that can carry a tune."
OK, so let's back it up a bit. There have been plenty of rumors over the years as to why it wasn't Zac singing on the songs, but Drew. There was a theory that the songs were already recorded before Zac got signed on to the movie and there wasn't enough time for him to record them and Drew actually co-wrote "Get'cha Head In the Game," so he had been involved with the project early on. But this doesn't seem likely, since Zac said he met Vanessa Hudgens, the Gabriella to his Troy, while in the auditions and they were paired together to read a scene, which led to the duo being cast. And Vanessa did sing the songs, so that doesn't work timeline wise. There's another theory that Zac's voice just wasn't strong enough at the time and wasn't the right fit, so his vocals were blended with Drew's who had already recorded the songs. Well, Zac seemed pretty blind-sighted as to why his vocals weren't used. A mystery indeed.
Was Zac upset he didn't sing on the first High School Musical soundtrack?
As you can imagine, it was a but tough for Zac to be the main star of a hit musical movie and not even have his own voice on the tracks, although he always made sure he praised Drew since Drew slayed it. Zac just felt a bit awkward.
"I didn't even sing on the first album. It wasn't my voice in the movie. Even though I wanted to do it,' Zac said to Rolling Stone in 2007. "So what do you do when the entire cast is supposed to accept an award at the Billboard Awards and your voice is only on the album in a select few lines? I felt extremely guilty."
Why didn't Zac go on the High School Musical tour?
High School Musical: The Concert was an unforgettable experience for sure, and the OG cast all hit the road together out on tour performing all the songs from the movie. But Zac wasn't there. He was working on Hairspray at the time, and while it's been speculated that was the true reason why he wasn't out on the road, he told Rolling Stone he just couldn't bare the music anymore.
"If I had to hear the High School Musical songs anymore, I probably would have jumped off something very tall," he joked. Umm okay Zac, we get it. You were over the songs. Gotcha. And who took his spot as Troy out on the tour? You probably guessed by now but yes, Drew took his place. Here he is singing "Breaking Free" with V:
Crazy to see him singing in the voice we all heard in the movie! But nothing tops Zac and Vanessa's on-screen chemistry and they were dating IRL at the time too. And while we all know that Zac is Troy, we can't ignore all Drew contributed, which he pointed out on Twitter when he was commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the first film.
Both Zac AND Drew helped to create the Troy Bolton we all know and love, so something to keep in mind. Zac got the solos he deserved in the other movies anyway. "Bet On It" and "Scream" are iconic. #NeverForget
This post was originally published on Sept. 20, 2017, and has since been updated.