Chances are you know singer Rebecca Black from her 2011 hit "Friday." The song was instantly everywhere that March, and everyone had an opinion on it. But, whatever your feelings on Friday are (mine being that I unashamedly love the song, because it's super fun), it's time to throw those thoughts out. Rebecca Black has new music coming out, and it's not anything like what you might expect. The now 18-year-old singer talked to Bustle about her upcoming single "Alive," and why no one should judge her for her past — not that she's ashamed of where she got her start. (And, she shouldn't be! How many of you have a song with over 83 million YouTube hits?)
"'Friday' was never meant to be this like career launching move for me," Black admits. "That was something that the opportunity arose to record that song, and I was a 13-year-old at the time, so I took it as just an opportunity to have my own song."
In fact, "Friday" was never intended for the public, but rather was meant a fun video to share with family and friends. That all changed when the company behind the song, ARK Music Factory, uploaded it to YouTube. So, when "Friday" exploded, Black decided to use her overnight fame as a chance to launch the career she'd always dreamed of. "I’ve used it as a platform and have sort of found myself and my own musical identity throughout that whole time," she tells Bustle.
So, what's changed for the singer in the last four-and-a-half years? Well, she's grown up, to start. "I know a lot more about what I want, and how I want to do that as an artist," she says of her career now. While many people know Black for her pop style, she's branching out in her new single (and eventual album).
"It’s not really bubblegummy," she says of the "Alive" song. "It’s pop still, it’s just not as dancey the way “Friday” was ... that like dance, electronic like pop sound. I love that, it’s just not 'me' per say."
Black has taken the last four years to really discover who she is as an artist. For someone whose career started when she was 13, she's taken a really slow level-headed approach to putting out new music. In fact, she's only released a handful of songs since "Friday," and nothing in the last two years. That's what makes "Alive" such a big deal. Apart from its stepping outside the pop world a bit, it's a song from a totally new Rebecca Black.
I would be mortified if something I did when I was 13 was all people recognized me for, but Black isn't like that. After dealing with thousands of bullying comments at such a young age, she's built a thick skin and a keen ability to laugh at herself. In 2013 she released the music video "Saturday" which hilariously parodied "Friday" and reminded us all that she was in on the joke, too.
Since the entire thing in itself was so crazy unintentional and accidental, it was sort of like, “I guess we’ll just take it and run with it.” ["Friday" is] clearly not, you know, any sort of riveting, brilliantly written song. So, I sort of have fun with it. I don’t take myself too seriously ever.
So, she definitely doesn't regret "Friday," but she is also eager to show people what else she can do. As a Rebecca Black fan from the beginning, I can attest to the fact that "Friday" isn't necessarily the best representation of her talent. In her other songs, which weren't autotuned to Level 10, it's easy to hear that Black is a really good singer. Knowing that, and the fact that she's grown up a lot, I think "Alive" is going to surprise everyone, from her fans to her doubters.
Black took a crazy situation and worked it to her advantage at a really young age. She recognized that it was her moment to meet industry people, build a following, and get to work in the studio. While she doesn't have a release date set for "Alive" just yet, she's ready surprise the public with it when it drops "really soon" — especially after having worked on it for the past year.
"It’s definitely a lot more authentic to myself and different from anything I’ve released," she reveals. "So, all I can really say is I’m just so excited for everyone to hear."
And, I think the world is ready to get to hear the new grown up side of Rebecca Black, too.
Image: Julianne Kaye