Rebecca Black (born June 21, 1997) is an American pop singer and dancer who gained extensive media attention with the 2011 single "Friday". Her mother paid $4,000 to have the single and an accompanying music video put out as a vanity label through the record label ARK Music Factory. The song was co-written and produced by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson of Ark Music Factory. After the video went viral on YouTube and other social media sites, "Friday" was derided by many music critics and viewers, who dubbed it "the worst song ever." Between its February 10, 2011 upload date and its temporary removal from YouTube on June 16, the music video received around 167 million views, gaining Black international attention as a viral star. Black re-uploaded it to her own channel three months later.
Rebecca Renee Black was born on June 21, 1997, in Irvine, California. She is the daughter of John Jeffery Black and Georgina Marquez Kelly, both veterinarians. Her mother is half Mexican, and her father, originally from Iowa, is of Italian, English, and Polish descent. The couple also had a son, Chase, born August 25, 1999. They divorced in 2003, when Black was in first grade. As of June 2013, her grandmother lives in Illinois, and her aunts and uncles live around the U.S.
Black originally attended private school from kindergarten to 6th grade, and moved to a public school due to an increasing amount of bullying. She joined the school's musical theater program, which she felt being involved in was "meant to be," and that she became part of another family. In April 2011, Black dropped out in favor of homeschooling citing both a need to focus on her career and a desire to avoid taunts from her former classmates. Black was also failing English class due to her busy schedule.
Ark Music Factory and "Friday" (2010-2011):
In late 2010, a classmate of Black and music-video client of ARK Music Factory, a Los Angeles label, told her about the company. Black's mother paid $4,000 for Ark Music to produce the music video while the Blacks retained ownership of both the master and the video. The single, "Friday", written entirely by Ark, was released on YouTube and iTunes. The song's video was uploaded to YouTube on February 10, 2011, and received approximately 1,000 views in the first month. The video went viral on March 11, 2011, acquiring millions of views on YouTube in a matter of days, becoming the most-talked-about topic on social networking site Twitter, and garnering mostly negative media coverage. As of June 14, 2011, the video had received more than 3,190,000 "dislikes" on YouTube and more than 451,000 "likes". As of March 22, 2011, first-week sales of her digital single were estimated to be around 40,000 by Billboard. On March 22, 2011, Black appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, during which she performed the single and discussed the negative reaction to it. The song has peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 and the New Zealand Singles Chart at number 58 and 33, respectively. In the UK, the song debuted at number 61 on the UK Singles Chart. In response to the YouTube video of "Friday", Black began to receive death threats in late February 2011, specifically by phone and email. The threats were investigated by the Anaheim Police Department.
Black teamed up with Funny or Die on April Fool's Day (the site was renamed Friday or Die) for a series of videos, including one that addressed the issue of the underage teens driving a car in her "Friday" video. In March 2011, Ryan Seacrest reportedly helped sign Black to manager Debra Baum's DB Entertainment. She also stated that she is a fan of Justin Bieber, and expressed interest in performing a duet with him.
MTV selected Black to host its first online awards show, the O Music Awards Fan Army Party in April 2011. As an homage to "Friday", Black appears in the music video for Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", in which Black plays alongside Perry as the hostess of a party Perry attends. "Friday" was also performed on the second season of Glee in the episode, "Prom Queen", which originally aired May 10, 2011. When asked about why the song was covered on Glee, show creator Ryan Murphy replied, "The show pays tribute to pop culture and, love it or hate it, that song is pop culture."
In a March 29, 2011 letter from Kelly's lawyer to Ark Music, she alleged that Ark Music failed to fulfill the terms of their November 2010 agreement by not giving her the song and video's master recordings; claimed Black as exclusively signed to the label; and exploited the song without permission by, for example, selling a "Friday" ringtone. While Wilson stated that Kelly "will get the masters and the song. They can have it all" and agreed that Black was not exclusive to Ark, his attorney claimed that Ark owns the copyright for the song and the November agreement is invalid. In June 2011, Ark Music Factory started charging $2.99 to watch the music video on YouTube. Later that month, Friday was removed as a result of the legal dispute and on September 16, 2011, was restored to YouTube, on Black's official channel.
RB Records (2011-present):
After the fallout with Ark Music Factory, Black announced she would start an independent record label named RB Records. Black released a self-produced single titled "My Moment" on July 18 by her own label RB Records, with an accompanying music video, publishing it to her YouTube channel; the video as of November 27 has received, approximately, 590,000 "dislikes" against 340,000 "likes." In the "My Moment" music video, director Morgan Lawley features real life video of Black's life from both before and after her fame. On Friday, September 16, Black re-uploaded "Friday" on YouTube.
Black appeared as herself in the music video of Katy Perry's single "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)". She appears as the host of a party in the house next door to that of "Kathy Beth Terry". At the end of the video Perry attempts to blame the excesses of the party (which had subsequently moved to her own house) on Black, only for her parents (Corey Feldman and Debbie Gibson) to disbelieve her. Later on, Perry (in character as Kathy Beth Terry) and Black hosted a livestream on Tinychat.com after weeks of Black being mentioned on Terry's Twitter. Perry, who performs Friday routinely on stage as part of California Dreams Tour, also brought Black on stage to perform the song as a duet during her show at the Nokia Theater on August 5, 2011.
On October 25, 2011 Black announced she started filming her upcoming music video which she first identified as 'POI' and later identified as "Person of Interest". Black said, "The basis of it is that it's a love song but it's not a love song. It's about almost teenage crushes - when you're not in love yet but you really like a guy - which I'm really excited about because I don't think there are too many out like that. It's very much a dance type song. It will make you get up and dance and sing along in your car." A teaser of the official music video was posted on November 3, 2011. Black released another teaser including a snippet of the song on November 10, 2011 on her YouTube channel. The single and its accompanying music video were released on November 15, 2011. On December 20, 2011, "Friday" was revealed as the No. 1 video of the year by YouTube and Black hosted a short video called "YouTube Rewind". On May 8, 2012, Black released her fourth official single, "Sing It". On November 24, 2012, Black released her new single, "In Your Words".
Black was planning to release her official debut album around October 31, 2012, which she said would include "a bunch of different kinds of stuff." The album is being recorded at a studio belonging to music producer Charlton Pettus. However almost a year later there has been no word of an official release.
Black was featured in an ABC Primetime Nightline: Celebrity Secrets special entitled Underage and Famous: Inside Child Stars' Lives. She was also brought to Australia by Telstra to promote the launch of their 4G service. Zeitgeist, which sorted billions of Google searches to capture the year's 10 fastest-rising global queries, listed Black as "#1 Most Searched - Google". The searches for the teen singer topped even those of pop icons Lady Gaga and Adele. In 2012, Black signed onto the Maker Studios YouTube network. She creates YouTube videos, among these are primarily original songs and video blogs. In her video blogs, she answers questions from fans and gives updates on events in her life.
Black has pledged to donate profits from the sales of her song "Friday" towards her school, El Rancho Charter School, and shortly after the 2011 Japan earthquake, to emergency relief in that country.