One year after the ears of the world first heard THAT song, Friday, its teenage singer Rebecca Black has left public school and is working away at a career in music.
It was early February 2011 when the music video for Friday first appeared on video-sharing site YouTube. In it, Black, from Anaheim Hills, California, sings about the weekend, in a song co-written and co-produced by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson of ARK Music Factory.
The rest became internet history. The video for Friday drew more than 16m views in six days, as well as harsh criticism. The Independent in the UK deemed it “the worst song ever” and the majority of feedback on microblogging site Twitter slammed the video and the simplistic lyrics of the song. Internet search giant Yahoo even asked, “Is YouTube sensation Rebecca Black’s Friday the worst song ever?”
Even singer-actress Miley Cyrus expressed displeasure, taking issue with Black’s sudden fame.
“It should be harder to be an artist," Cyrus told The Daily Telegraph. "You shouldn’t just be able to put a song on YouTube and go out on tour."
Interesting comments from Cyrus, seeing as her father is country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who shot to stardom with the song Achy Breaky Heart in 1992.
Today, the video for Friday on YouTube has received 493,986 ‘dislikes’, 119,394 ‘likes’ and 22,931,865 views.
The negative feedback has not gone unnoticed, and Black, in her first interview since the song’s release, told The Daily Beast, “At times, it feels like I’m being cyber bullied.”
Apparently, it wasn’t only bullying over the internet. In 2011, Black left public school in favour of home schooling, in response to verbal bullying at school and to focus more on her music career.
"When I walk by, they’ll start singing Friday in a really nasally voice," Black told Nightline of what she experienced from her peers at public school. "Or, you know, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, hey, Rebecca, guess what day it is?’"
Black reportedly also said her main reason for the move to home schooling was more for career reasons rather than the bullying.
It hasn’t been all bad for Black, though. She has had the opportunity to attend movie premieres and awards shows, most recently the premiere for The Vow on 6 February in Los Angeles, and the the 54th annual Grammy Awards on 12 February, also in Los Angeles. She also hosted YouTube Rewind 2011, a look at what the world watched on YouTube last year.
Today, Black, now 14, is still an aspiring singer and is working under her own indie label, RB Records. Since Friday, she has released two more singles, My Moment and Person of Interest, but neither has come close to the fame of Friday. Billboard estimated Friday reaped iTunes sales of about 43,000 copies, about the equivalent to US$26,700 in royalties.
Watch where it all began here: