Nearly 12 years ago to the day, Rebecca Black released her first song “Friday.” While the viral track made her a novelty act on the Internet, with her debut album Let Her Burn, she’s letting the world know that she’s here to stay. Across her first LP, Black blends elements of electronica, alternative, and rock music while forging her own space in pop. In an interview with Remezcla, she opened up about the journey to her debut album, her Mexican roots, and what’s next.
Black was only a teenager when she received criticism across the Internet for “Friday.” However, she never let that negativity deter her from her dreams of being a singer, and she continued to release music independently. For the 10th anniversary of “Friday” in 2021, Black released a cyberpop remix of the song with 3OH!3, Big Freedia, and Dorian Electra. “Being a 13-year-old and going through everything I went through with ‘Friday,’ I could only just learn how to take care of myself for the first time,” she says. “I think as a child, no one really knows how to move through those things. It was a lot of hard work, and I think that finally got me to who I am now and what I’m able to create now.”
Black is Mexican-American on her maternal side. Her mom was born in Mexico City, where Black would often visit family. While growing up in Irvine, CA, she had a bicultural upbringing that wasn’t really talked about beyond their home. “It’s kind of a complicated experience, at least it was for me, and I know for a lot of other Latinx people in my generation, to grow up in a place where for a long time that wasn’t really as celebrated as it is now,” she says. “But I’m really proud to be changing the tide for myself on that now. More than ever in my life, [this] is the time where I’m really trying to communicate about that, connect with my mom, and connect with that side of myself even more.”
Black’s Latine experience growing up includes a strange time when she was tricked into endorsing then-presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico. In Sept. of last year, she talked more in-depth on TikTok about the unfortunate incident that happened shortly after her “Friday” fame. “It was a really weird turn of events that put me in Mexico in a way that I would’ve never intended as a 14-year-old and had no business being in,” she recalls. “It’s definitely something that I look back on and I’m really disappointed in some of the people who took advantage of my unknowingness and even my mom’s unknowingness. It makes for a really crazy story now.”
“It’s kind of a complicated experience, at least it was for me, and I know for a lot of other Latinx people in my generation, to grow up in a place where for a long time that wasn’t really as celebrated as it is now. But I’m really proud to be changing the tide for myself on that now.”
In the past few years, Black has positioned herself as an alternative pop star to watch out for. In a lead-up to Let Her Burn, she dropped singles that show off her genre-bending prowess. In the alluring banger “Crumbs,” she sings about a romance that’s left her hungry for more. There are heavier tracks like “Destroy Me” and “Misery Loves Company,” where Black dances among the darkness.
“It’s definitely about taking everything, all of the negativity and everything that I’ve been through, and burning it all to the ground,” Black says about her album. “But also letting the version and person who I am now burn brightly. Both of those things simultaneously were important themes of the album and themes of where I’m at now in my life.”
The album also includes vulnerable moments where she lets her guard down. Black is openly queer, and in the heartfelt track “Sick To My Stomach,” she sings about the difficulty of moving on from a breakup. Notably, she uses female pronouns in the song when describing her ex-lover. “My biggest focus, at least at this point, is being an artist and a source of comfort and understanding to my audience,” she says. “And being that that’s something that me and a lot of my audience share is being a part of the queer community. Having music out like that, I know is something that we can never have too much of.”
Black is currently on tour in Europe. She will be bringing the live experience of her album to the U.S. in May.
“My biggest mission at the moment is to be considered amongst the rest of pop artists as a really legitimate and viable artist,” she says. “To be just a better version of what I was. I’m not just here for a comeback story. I’m here to do this for real and to continue to hopefully create worlds that are even bigger than this one in the future.”
Check out Let Her Burn below.