Zach Callison is an American actor, singer, songwriter, and voice actor. As a voice-over artist, he is perhaps best known for the titular role in one of the most popular shows on 'Cartoon Network,' 'Steven Universe.' However, he began his career as an actor, with an aspiration to make it big in the music industry, too. Zach’s background in theater and the musical influence he had had while growing up led him to succeed in all of his artistic pursuits. Some of his notable roles as an actor have been in productions such as 'Diary of a Single Mom,' 'Just Add Magic,' 'The Goldbergs,' 'Kingshighway,' and 'Rock Jocks.' His acting prowess soon earned him voice roles. Zach delivered some brilliant voice roles in 'Sofia the First,' 'Uncle Grandpa,' 'Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam,' 'The Wind Rises,' and 'Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell.' Zach also contributed as a singer for the soundtrack of 'Steven Universe.' He released his debut EP in 2018.
Childhood & Early Life
Zach was born on October 23, 1997, in St. Louis, Missouri, US, to Ed and Nanette Callison. He was raised alongside his older brother, Wes, and his older sister, Andrea.
He began taking singing lessons at a local community college at the age of 7 years. Following this, Zach turned toward musical theater. He auditioned for the role of ‘Winthrop’ in 'The Music Man.'
Zach did musical theater actively for a few more years. He was highly inspired by his father’s rock band performances. He then moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and ended up staying there for the next 10 years.
Zach was homeschooled from fourth grade to high school. His motivation to pursue music as a career intensified in 2016, when he had his first studio experience. He finally felt like composing songs and utilizing his piano and singing lessons.
Zach had discovered his singing talent when he was 5 years old. Incidentally, he had gone on a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, with his family. The place they stayed in had an acoustic guitarist who would perform for the children there. This enthralled Zach to the core.
Zach immediately went on the stage and performed the worm song, his traditional family song that has been passed down from his grandfather’s generation. His performance was appreciated. That very night, he told his mother about his aspiration to become a singer.
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Zach began his acting career with a brief role in the 2007 movie 'Ghost Image.' Following this, he appeared on the quiz game show 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?' This was his first TV appearance.
That year, Zach started playing his first recurring character, ‘Ian,’ in the web series 'Diary of a Single Mom.'
At the age of 11 years, Zach was booked for a radio show titled 'Adventures in Odyssey,' which he continued for the next 5 years.
Around the same time, he got several opportunities to do ensemble records with veteran voice actors such as Jim Cummings, Will Ryan, and his all-time favorite Jess Harnell. This was a learning experience for him.
When he was in Los Angeles to pursue acting, his agents sent him for cartoon auditions. His parents then realized that Zach was equally talented to become a voice actor.
His first voice roles were for the characters ‘Arthur Baywosenthal’ in 'Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated' and ‘Arthur’ in 'Sym-Bionic Titan.' He also appeared as ‘Douglas’ in an episode of the final season of the 'Disney Channel' musical comedy 'Hannah Montana.' Zach also voiced the 'DC Comics' superhero 'Billy Batson' in the 2010 animated short 'Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam.'
Zach reprised the role of ‘Billy Batson’ in the 2014 direct-to-video animated superhero film 'Justice League: War' and the 2018 video game 'Lego DC Super-Villains.'
Zach also earned a role in the 2010 feature film 'Kingshighway.' He continued working as an actor and as a voice-over artist in films and on TV. Zach did the English dubbing for the character ‘Nao’ in the Japanese superhero film 'Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial.' Zach provided additional voices in the 2011 video game 'Kinect: Disneyland Adventures.'
He also dubbed for the younger version of the real-life-inspired (animated form) character ‘Jiro Horikoshi’ in the 2013 Japanese animated historical drama film 'The Wind Rises.' Zach played the supporting role of ‘Dylan’ in the 2012 movie 'Rock Jocks,' for which he was nominated for the ‘Young Artist Award’ for the ‘Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor.’
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In 2012, Zach was nominated for the 'Young Artist Award' for his guest appearance in the 'Disney XD' movie 'I'm in the Band.' From 2013 to 2018, he voiced the character ‘Prince James,’ in the 'Disney Junior' animated drama 'Sofia the First.' The role earned him his first 'Young Artist' award.
That year, he began playing (voice-over) the titular character in the 'Cartoon Network' series 'Steven Universe.' Zach later voiced the character in the show’s video game versions, 'Attack the Light' (2015) and 'Save the Light' (2017). He recently appeared in the TV movie version of the series, which released in September 2019. He was nominated for the ‘Behind the Voice Actor Award’ for his performance in the series ‘Steven Universe’ in 2014.
Zach provided voice for the character ‘King Tut’ in the 2014 computer-animated science-fiction comedy 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman.' His next recurring character (11 episodes) was that of ‘Brian Corbett’ in the 'ABC' period sitcom 'The Goldbergs.'
From 2017 to 2019 (13 episodes), Zach played the antagonist ‘Chuck Hankins’ in the second season of the 'Amazon' live-action drama 'Just Add Magic.'
In January 2018, Zach released his debut single, 'War!,' from his first EP, 'A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak,' which was launched on August 3, 2018. His EP was primarily a concept album that spoke about the emotional highs and lows of the protagonist battling a terrible break-up with a mysterious woman named ‘Juanita.’
Family & Personal Life
Zach’s father, Ed Callison, is a musician.
Zach was a huge fan of rock music until he was 10. His love for rock grew further as his father introduced him to ‘The Beatles,' 'Zeppelin,' 'Styx,' 'Maroon 5,' 'Linkin Park,' and 'Incubus.'
The single ‘War!’ was inspired by a heartbreak that Zach had suffered back in high school. His high-school sweetheart, too, was a singer and was quite popular in school. She had rejected Zach and had even made fun of him later.
Zach was deeply affected by this. He then composed the song in a fit of rage and in an attempt to avenge the insult. Interestingly, the girl had been working on the same record for several years.
Zach is a representative member of the 'Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.' In January 2019, he announced a career break, as he was dealing with a mental illness.
Zach is fluent in Italian and can play the piano. His all-time favorite band is 'Muse.' Zach is a staunch 'Cardinals' fan.
‘Juanita,’ the name he screams in the song 'War!,' is not the name of the girl he broke up with in high school.