In addition to acting, Bell has a career in music. Bell formed his band in 2003, at the time 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. 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. The second single from the album, "Bull", became a hit in Mexico peaking at number 8.
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, Joey (born 1972), Robert (born 1974) and Travis (born 1980), and one older sister, Kellie (born 1969).
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. Bell formed his band, at the time named Drake 24/7, in 2003.
In 2004, Bell was cast as Drake Parker alongside real life best friend and former Amanda Show costar Josh Peck on the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh, a spinoff of The Amanda Show. 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 written by Bell, but was also co-written with Michael Corcoran or other co-writers. 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, as with Telegraph, 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. "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, in October 2008. 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.
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 and fractured vertebrae 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-sq-ft 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.
On December 21, 2015, he was arrested for suspicion of DUI in Glendale, California. He was released on $20,000 bail.
Bell is a cousin of former Tampa Bay Rays closer Heath Bell.