New York Post


Accidental pop phenom Rebecca Black is back with a new EP — and a message for her haters


DURING Christmas break in 2010, a then13-year-old Rebecca Black recorded a song called “Friday.” Her mother paid $4,000 to a music production company called Ark Music Factory to create the song and video, with Black singing the vocals.

It was a chance for the young teen, who had ambitions of being a singer, to dip her toe in the music business while keeping herself occupied over the holidays.

“I could put it on my résumé, and it was something creative to do, rather than just sit at home and watch my friends do creative things,” Black, now 20, tells The Post.

Written for her by producer-songwriter­s Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson, “Friday” was not very good. But Black, who plays at Brooklyn’s Roulette on Friday, didn’t just get bad reviews from critics.

After the song went viral in spring 2011, the teen found herself on the wrong end of venomous abuse from social-media users who picked on everything from her voice to her body. One com- menter wished that she would get an eating disorder, and Black even received death threats serious enough to warrant an investigat­ion by the police in her native Orange County, Calif., hometown. The bullying got so bad she had to be home-schooled.

“I almost disassocia­ted myself from it, like I was reading about another person,” she says. “I would say, ‘Yeah, I just have thick skin,’ but in reality, I was scared of being broken by [the abuse].”

These days, online abuse is commonplac­e, and even top stars such as Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovato go offline for periods of time to avoid it. It’s an unfortunat­e distinctio­n to have, but Black was one of the first to find out just what Internet anonymity can bring out in some people.

Black played the good sport, but eventually the criticism wore her down.

“When I was 15, I was filming a project where people meet their haters in real life,” she says, referring to a TV production that never aired. “I spent the day with this woman who was twice my age. She took on everything she didn’t like about me — the jumpsuit I was wearing, my hair, my face, everything.

“All I could do was cry. I was so worn down. The woman looked at me and said, ‘I honestly never considered the fact that you were a real person.’”

You couldn’t blame Black if she had ignored the Internet forever and decided to live in a cave. But she continued to release singles (including 2013’s minor hit “Saturday”) while being home-schooled. During her teens, Black also maintained a strong online presence via her YouTube channel, which has more than 1.3 million subscriber­s.

Now, concentrat­ing on her music career, she released her first major body of work, “RE/BL,” a glossy pop EP, in September. Black co-wrote all six songs, and makes sly reference to her past — “If you don’t like me, get in line” — on the opening track, “Heart Full of Scars.”

“That was definitely a little nod to the ‘Friday’ era,” she says.

As for the much-discussed viral song itself, Black is putting her own spin on it during this tour.

“I’ve gone through phases where I never wanted to hear that song ever again,” she says. “But now, we start off the set with a slow, dark, moody rendition. It’s the first time I’ve ever really been able to claim ‘Friday’ as my own.”

 ??  ?? Rebecca Black, now 20, says she received death threats for unleashing the cheesy earworm “Friday” six years ago.
Rebecca Black, now 20, says she received death threats for unleashing the cheesy earworm “Friday” six years ago.
 ??  ?? Black in 2011, the year her much-maligned song went viral.
Black in 2011, the year her much-maligned song went viral.
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