Gettin’ Down with Rebecca Black

Interview Gettin’ Down with Rebecca Black

From going viral as a teenager to finding her footing in the ever-growing hyperpop community a decade later, Rebecca Black is back and ready to introduce herself all over again.

Way back in early 2011, it seemed like no week could get to its end without at least one person signalling the weekend with the instantly iconic chorus: “Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday”.

The viral hit currently sits at a cool 153 million views on YouTube, and saw the then unknown 13-year-old Rebecca Black propelled into the starlight and subsequently torn apart for it.

But arising like a pop phoenix from the ashes in a leather catsuit, 10 years on, Rebecca Black is back, having given her 2011 hit the brilliantly bizarre pop remix she’s always wanted to, and dropped a load of hyperpop leaning bangers alongside it.

Cementing her position amongst the pop risers, she’s now ready to introduce us to the new era she’s embarking upon, armed with a glistening brand new project, ‘Rebecca Black Was Here’.

Ready to do things her own way this time around, we caught up with her to find out what she’s got planned.

From 2011 to now, you’ve had quite a journey. Looking back on that time, what’s it been like?
I’ve really just tried to keep moving in the way that my gut tells me to. A gut feeling was something I really didn’t have for a long time after ‘Friday’ or something that I really ignored after my experiences as a teenager. I feel so much more secure in myself now that I’ve been able to harness that more and just feel like I am finally in control in my life in a way that feels right and that we all should be. I’ve come to peace with a lot of things that I’ve learned about myself and about life through my experience.

It really felt like the release of your remix of ‘Friday’ was you kind of getting back your power around that song…
I really just wanted to create something that I felt so excited about! It was really nice to see over the years that people had started changing the way they talked about that song and I really wanted to do something insane with it. I wanted to challenge myself and push boundaries of what people maybe would’ve expected me to do if I’d have done a remix. It was just something I wanted to own for myself and do from my perspective now and how I would do it if I had all the control.

How do you feel towards the track now?
I think, mainly, I just see myself as a kid and why I did it, which was because I had this passion for something and I was trying to figure it out and make sense of it and I had this opportunity to do this song and this video which at the time was this cool thing that should have been a nothing moment! I see a girl who was trying to have fun - no pun intended - and I was trying my best and always kept growing. Now seeing the way the conversation has changed around ‘Friday’, I don’t feel too bad about it y’know? I’ve grown so much from 13 to 23 and a lot of that had to do with what I learned and that experience so I’m OK. It’s OK!

“I don’t ever want to be ‘the next’ anything. I want to find my own path.”

‘Rebecca Black Was Here’ really feels like an introduction into your world. How did you come about crafting that?
I really wanted to create as much of a world around this project as I could and especially knowing how many people had been re-introduced to my world through the last year, I wanted people to feel like they had something to be as invested in as I was. I get really excited about visuals and anything that feels new and hasn’t been done that way before. I’ve been able to work with people on this project who have had that same mindset, especially people like Weston [Allen] who’s directed the music videos and worked with me on a lot of the creative elements of this. He’s the most unafraid to push a boundary and also be a bit self-aware. I never want to take anything too seriously because it’s fun to take a risk and look back in a few years and be like, "That was fun at the time!" It felt challenging and fresh.

With the music as well, I just tried to bring in my references and not be afraid with what I brought to the table in terms of starting an idea or a direction to go in, and I was able to work with people who were really stoked by that and up for the job. It was just so fun to create something and I felt like a lot of times I’d leave the room and be like “I don’t think I’ve heard anything like this before” and I love that! I don’t ever want to be “the next” anything. I want to find my own path.

Where did the inspiration come from for the project?
My life! This project is a lot about queer love and relationships and an experience that I had. I really wrote everything as it was happening and as I was feeling it and I just tried to do the best I could. A lot of things came straight from a journal entry into a song. I wanted to be as honest about it as I could when it comes to queer relationships and experiences, there’s still so much to be said and so many perspectives to be shared.

What are you hoping that people take away from it?
It’s obviously something I can’t really control nor do I want to. Part of the reason this project is called 'Rebecca Black Was Here' is because I really felt like these songs as a whole made a stamp on the type of artist and music that I’ve always wanted to make and create. This is really the beginning of that for me. I’m excited for everything that will come afterwards, but this project feels like a turning point so I hope that people can walk away from this project relating to the music and feeling connected to it but maybe also understanding a certain part of myself and where I’m at now and what I’m here to do.

“I’d love to bridge that gap [between mainstream and left-leaning pop] in some way.”

Obviously pop, and especially hyperpop, is having a huge moment right now. Where do you see yourself within the current pop landscape?
I don’t really know! I’m curious to see where people put me with the project. That’s one of the most exciting things to me because this project lives in the space where some songs are maybe more in one direction than the others, but it can all exist in one place.

I’d love to see more traditional pop artists maybe go a little bit more left sometimes and keep experimenting. I thought that Dua Lipa did such a good job with that on ‘Future Nostalgia’ and I love that album so much. I would also love to see more of these incredible left-leaning artists in the mainstream. Not necessarily making more mainstream music, but they deserve a bigger platform and some of the music that is a little bit more eccentric I think can be liked by a large group of people. I’d love to bridge that gap in some way.

How is it being part of the growing hyperpop community?
It’s cool. I really love the community because the way that people interact with each other feels genuinely like a family. In music, I think it’s easy to feel a little bit isolated and be constantly comparing yourself to other artists, and this community is so kind and so here to build each other up and that to me is how you make something really happen and be meaningful. I think it speaks a lot for the people who are a part of it and the audience who are a part of it.

It's been 10 years since you first started; where do you hope to be after the next decade?
Ah! I don’t know! I’d love to be here and I’d love to see what the industry landscape looks like at that point and how things just keep combining and melding and different communities and worlds start connecting. I’d love to still be here and loving what I do. We will see! We will see what the hell happens in the next 10 years. I’m not very good at predicting…

'Rebecca Black Was Here' is out now.

See Rebecca Black live at the following dates:

JANUARY 2022
13 - Washington, DC @ Union Stage+
14 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom+
15 - Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground+
18 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall+
20 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop - Popscene+
22 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour+

+Supporting artist Alice Longyu Gao


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