An Interview With YouTube Star and Singer-Songwriter REBECCA BLACK!
You may remember Rebecca Black and her viral video on YouTube for the song, “Friday” back in 2011. Well the 22-year-old is back now with new music! Black newest singles, “Self Sabotage and “Closer” are out now! This double release recently dropped and they show a new grown and sexy sound. Taking full creative control over her music, from writing to co-producing, both singles show Rebecca’s impressive vocal range and remind listeners of just how far she has come as an artist.
In 2019, Rebecca released “Anyway”, “Sweetheart”, and “Satellite”, which was co-written and produced by Billie Eilish’s brother and producer, Finneas O’Connell.
Check out her music here: Spotify and Apple Music
Her YouTube channel, where you can find her popular series, “Blacking Out With Rebecca Black“, amasses over 1.4 million subscribers and she pairs her social authority with a passion for the LGBTQ+ community and anti-bullying activism.
Most recently, Rebecca made yet another bold stamp on pop culture with a candid nine-year anniversary post reflecting on her song, “Friday”. Gaining an outpouring of viral support and sparking a much-needed conversation about the effects of internet culture and mental health.
Connect With Rebecca Black Online Here: WEBSITE
Learn more about Rebecca Black in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So how are you keeping busy and musical these days during this crazy COVID-19 pandemic? How are you staying connected to your fans?
Thanks for having me! You know it’s obviously been an adjustment for every single one of us, and I think it’s fair to say that we all now have a baseline to connect with each other after this experience. I have also been trying to take this time to refine the balance between productivity, and my mental health. It’s an opportunity to stay quiet and create things that don’t necessarily have to provide you with some form of result, which is incredibly freeing. I’m hoping I can help my audience get through this by just being there for them, even if it just means providing some sort of entertainment to get through the day. I feel like I have a bit of a responsibility to do that for them, and I want to do it as well – it helps me just as much.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? What do you think motivates you day in and day out? How has that changed over the years?
When I was younger I don’t think there was ever even a question. I just knew that I was going to be a performer. The questioning came much later when everyone else’s opinions came into the mix. It was probably within the last 3 or 4 years that I began to regain that feeling of confidence after finishing songs I felt could truly only be mine and no one else’s – in a positive way. I’m most motivated by the thought of my 6-year-old self who had all of these big dreams and aspirations, the thought of how she’d feel seeing me now keeps me pushing through the most difficult moments and makes it worth the battle. I know before anything else, she’d be proud I’ve never given up on her.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the kind of music that you make? If not, why is that?
My musical influences have come more from my generation rather than my hometown. I am 100% a child of the internet and I have clutched to that in different ways across my life. When I was living in the OC there were a lot of times I felt extremely lonely and isolated as a teenager and it was things like Tumblr that helped me feel connected to a certain group that made me feel like I belonged. It’s also been a huge tool for me to find the niches in music that I appreciate – the number of blogs and playlists I have scoured over the years to find artists I have felt inspired by that weren’t top 40 only keeps growing. There are so many incredible artists out there showing their individuality, it has, in turn, inspired me to show my unique self and create music I am really proud of.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Was your family and friends supportive of this career choice? If you weren’t a musician today, could you see yourself doing anything else?
Music has always been a part of my life. I was 3 years old when I started dance lessons, which turned into song and dance performance groups, vocal lessons, musical theatre, and so on from there ! My mom has particularly always been very supportive – I think she loved to see me have such a direct passion as she did herself – but her’s being veterinary work. It did scare her a bit to see me pursue it as a career because it’s an unpredictable industry, but she has never stopped supporting my work. I am so lucky to say, same goes for the rest of my family as well.
I’m not sure if there’s anything else I could see myself doing outside of music. I’d probably be working in a theatre or teaching music, if there’s one thing that my heart melts for besides music, is working with kids. I work a lot with an organization called Best Buddies for individuals with IDD to have a community to be themselves and connect with others, and we recently did a ZOOM session together where we wrote a short song. It was so fulfilling, and truly all of my passions combined into one!
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part?
My biggest challenge has been working backward in a sense – most musicians and artists get to play out their first few years really working on their craft while my one little stint at 13 turned into such a massive thing. So I think the pressure of trying to prove myself that I’m more than that one song to the world and also to myself has been the hardest part. I’ve come a long way from that pressure and stigma – it’s not entirely gone but it’s definitely less than it was. The best part is being able to create for a living. I love every part of the process — writing, performing, visual aspects, and that I get to share it with a group of people who understands and appreciates it too. I feel lucky.
Can you talk about first starting your popular Youtube series, “Blacking Out With Rebecca Black”? Where did the idea for this come from? Why do you think people enjoy watching this so much?
Every single person has an amazing story to tell – but I think the issue is many of us fear sharing that story because we don’t feel like it’s our right to take the time and space to do so. Maybe its a fear of sounding self-centered or self-righteous. I wanted to give people a place to share these stories in their own words. I try to make it as easy for guests as possible to get rid of all of the fluffiness. It has been really interesting to see how people – specifically creators who aren’t used to being on this side of things -take that moment and feel comfortable in their own experiences. I think my audience appreciates the authenticity and likes to see the side of people they maybe never thought existed.
Let’s talk about your newest singles, “Self Sabotage” and “Closer.” What was the inspiration for these tracks? How do you think they show your growth as a musician?
These songs were written about a recent relationship of mine. I’ve become so aware over the past few years (through therapy) of the ways I get in my own way and damage things that could be good for myself – solely because I tend to get comfortable with the bad. Both of the songs take you through that miserable feeling while coming out in a place that is a bit brighter and hopeful. The meaning of the two lyrically was a massive reason to release them together and it’s nice to see people listening make their own connections to each song separately and as a duo. I hope the songs show growth in the depth of the production, the juxtaposition of the two messages, and how I am trying to push myself to prove what I am capable of. You can only hope that each thing you put out into the world shows some form of growth.
Do you have plans to release a full album anytime soon? Are you currently working on more new material?
One day, yes. But I’m constantly working on new material – especially now, writing songs with my favorite collaborators through voice memos/zoom meetings and just on my own. Again, being able to make things without the pressure of anyone hearing them has been the most helpful thing for me creatively right now.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I try to learn from others – from a technical and musical aspect to the business side. I try to sponge up as much information as I can and then apply it in ways that feel right to me and interpret it in my way – and then keep going repeating the cycle.
How do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career so far? What is it like keeping up with all your different accounts? What is your favorite way to connect with fans?
I think I feel pretty similar to it as most do – I spend way too much time on it, I love it, but I probably let it affect my actions in some pretty unhealthy ways – like by comparison. Social media has also been a huge tool for me in a career sense, and it has provided me community. There are positives and negatives, and I think it is up to us personally to set boundaries. I think we have to trust our instincts when we feel we have had an excess and need a break to focus on what’s in front of us.
Honestly, right now I really, really appreciate the Skype’s I have with my fans through my Patreon. Its an opportunity to have an actual conversation without barriers and learn more about each other in the most intuitive way – rather than a little emoji or waiting on responses or anything like that.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future? Who has been inspiring you and the music that you make?
Right now, Christine and the Queens is a big one for me. There are so many I could name but I am just mesmerized by her and her work. The entire industrial/hyperpop music scene has been a big source of inspiration for me. Females in music who know their control and power and use it wisely always inspire me.
Where would you still love to hear a song of yours played?
Flaming Saddles, a gay club in West Hollywood I have many memories with and emotional ties to that place. 100%
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
All I can hope for is that people find a way to connect with the music. Maybe it helps to ease the pain of loneliness or is what you and your friends rage sing on your way out. We all have those songs that instantly bring out a memory, emotion or a specific time in our lives – and it’s those songs that we hold closest to us.