Harsh fallout of Rebecca Black’s Friday
SINGER Rebecca Black hit the headlines last month - almost a decade after the infamous viral hit Friday - when she opened up about what happened after she became an internet laughing stock at only 13 years old.
Filled with bizarre lyrics like: "Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal" and coupled with a spectacularly naff video, Friday propelled Black to instant internet infamy. But as she revealed in a searingly honest Instagram post, the fallout lasted throughout her teen years and included depression, isolation from her teen peers and rejection from the music industry she was so desperate to break into.
Speaking to news.com.au ahead of a planned Australian visit in May, co-headlining Bingo Loco with Nikki Webster, Black said she was surprised the post had touched such a nerve.
"I hoped it'd reach a few people who needed to hear it to find a little bit of hope, but the response has been insane," she said.
"It's been really refreshing to see people be self-aware that the things they would have said 9-10 years ago are not the things they'd say now. Some people have even apologised for the things that they said, which is not something I asked for."
Now 22, Black is all but unrecognisable from the chirpy 13-year-old in the Friday video. She said her relationship to the song had softened over the years as she realised that for many people, it's actually a source of joy.
"I don't know if I was really able to accept that at first, because I was so embarrassed - I remember just wanting to run as far away from it as I could. But it's become a marker for those random viral moments that pop out of nowhere. And it's a fun song! The core root of it is just something that's fun and silly."
Crazy, then, that the fallout saw "almost every producer/songwriter" tell Black that they'd never work with her.
Crazier still that she's managed to carve a respectable career as an independent pop singer, in recent years releasing moody electro-pop singles like the dual new tracks Self-Sabotage and Closer, both out today:
"It was really hard," she said of those early wilderness years.
"I definitely worried it would impact the rest of my life. There comes a point when enough people shun you from what you want to do that you think, maybe I shouldn't do this anymore. I have no place here and I'm an idiot for ever thinking I did. I definitely thought those things. But there were people who took chances on me, for whatever reason they saw - supported me, started working with me. I'm grateful for people who stuck it out for me, with no hidden agenda."
Perhaps one YouTube comment on her stellar recent single Anyway best sums it up: "2019, Listening to Rebecca Black unironically. We have come so far."
View this post on Instagram
*swipe ->* 9 years ago today a music video for a song called “friday” was uploaded to the internet. above all things, i just wish i could go back and talk to my 13 year old self who was terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world. to my 15 year old self who felt like she had nobody to talk to about the depression she faced. to my 17 year old self who would get to school only to get food thrown at her and her friends. to my 19 year old self who had almost every producer/songwriter tell me they’d never work with me. hell, to myself a few days ago who felt disgusting when she looked in the mirror! i’m trying to remind myself more and more that every day is a new opportunity to shift your reality and lift your spirit. you are not defined by any one choice or thing. time heals and nothing is finite. it’s a process that’s never too late to begin. and so, here we go! this might be a weird thing to post but the honesty feels good if nothing else. 🤍
Of course, support came from some surprising quarters as she struggled with her new infamy. Just three months after Friday's release, Black showed up in another viral video, with a cameo in the big budget clip for Katy Perry's Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.). It was an unexpected seal of approval from one of the biggest popstars in the world.
"Having someone like Katy who was and still is one of my idols have your back, especially when so many people don't, was everything. It was like having the absolute coolest girl - not even in the school, but in the world - have your back.
"I'll always be so grateful to her - 13-year-old me was so, so stoked about all of that."
Rebecca Black headlines Bingo Loco alongside Nikki Webster and host Alex Dyson in May.
Friday May 22 - The Big Top, Luna Park
Saturday May 23 - Freo. Social, Fremantle
Friday May 29 - Melbourne Pavilion
Saturday May 30 - Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane