Rebecca Black’s DJ set at Coachella weekend can be summarized by asking the singer. “It was such a gay experience,” Black tells 121entertainment.com shortly after her performance on Saturday performance, “which is always so amazing to see, and I don’t think the Do Lab [stage] has really ever had that. Before.”
Black’s performance – which included an aerial acrobat, T-shirt guns, plus a remix of “Friday” – wasn’t her usual style, but it’s another triumph in a heavy-hitting two years for the artist known as the 13-year-old voice behind “Friday,” a viral hit in 2011.” Now with more than a decade of distance from the song, new music, and a new, self-assured perspective, Black’s music is entering its best period yet.
As with many people, the pandemic had a transformative impact on the singer, especially when it came to finding her voice musically. Even though Black has been a hustler her entire life, starting with the jump to YouTube at age 16 and also pursuing a career in music on her own terms, the past two years have been out of this world. She also released her second EP, Rebecca Was Here, along with new hit singles such as “Girlfriend” and a tongue-in-cheek remix of the song that started it all. In January of this year, Black kicked off her first headlining tour.
“I feel like I have finally found my own style, and I feel that that allowed me to create so much more music than I had ever been able to and to come up with so many more ideas,” she says.
Part of this is due, in part, to Black’s decision to share aspects of her personal life with her fans, including her sexuality. In April 2020, Black shared on the Dating Straight podcast that she’s a part of the queer community. “I made a conscious decision to not, like, ‘come out.’ People started asking, and I stopped not responding. It feels like I’m still in the process,” she told the hosts at the time.
“I am fortunate that I was able to come out at a time when people were so accepting,” Black tells Refinery29. “There were a lot of nerves I felt before, and I wanted to do it in the right and respectful way.”
As with many things in her life, including her initial virality, Black says the moment just kind of happened. But to say her announcement met with positive reactions would be an understatement. Since announcing her identity, Black has been called a “gay icon” and even performed at the 32nd GLAAD Awards last April.
“It means so much because I really felt outside of my own sexuality,” Black says. “I’ve spent so much time feeling like an outcast and feeling really misunderstood, so it feels so special that the queer community was there for me, for so many other people everywhere.”
And it’s been reflected in her music. In “Girlfriend,” which Black released in the spring of 2021, just over a year after publicly talking about a breakup on Dating Straight, the singer detailed the all-too-relatable experience and thrill of deciding to get back with an ex. The comment section, unlike the one on the video that made her viral, is surprisingly self-aware. “I was an edgy teen who thought ‘Friday’ was the worst thing that had happened to music, and here I am jamming to the same artist over ten years later,” one listener commented.
Finally, Black is getting her much-deserved dues. “I feel fortunate to have an audience that I feel like I really resonate with and people that I understand and that understand me because that was something I didn’t have for a long time,” she says. “It’s so encouraging to be able, to be honest and write queer songs and have queer people feel understood by them.”
And if her last project allowed the singer to open the gates in terms of talking about — and understanding how to talk about — her sexuality and relationships, she’s also ready to discuss other aspects of her life, specifically her feelings about herself. “[With this new music], I talk a lot about how I felt about myself and how those emotions either are or were or feel like they might be in the future. There’s a little bit more of that than I’ve ever really understood how to say properly.”
So what can we expect next from the “Friday” girl? A whole lot more — every day of the week.