Rebecca Anne Flint (born 5 June 1995), better known by her stage name Beckii Cruel, is a British pop dancer and singer. She reached popularity in Japan after her YouTube videos of her dancing to dance pop songs were posted around the Internet. She is the 17th most subscribed user (3rd most in the Musician category) in Japan on YouTube (as of 25 August 2010). Her YouTube account has reached 16 million upload views and over 63,000 subscribers.
1995-2009: Early life and beginnings:
Flint was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, the daughter of a police inspector and a former dance instructor. She moved with her family at the age of 2 to Ramsey on the Isle of Man, where she attends Ramsey Grammar School. She became interested in anime and manga at the age of 11, when she first started reading Fruits Basket. On 22 July 2007, she began a YouTube channel under the name "xBextahx" (from a nickname she had when she was younger). Some of her very early uploads included vlogs she did with her older brother on their mother's MacBook. On 19 January 2008, she started posting videos of herself dancing to Japanese pop and anime songs, with some of her own choreography. On 15 April 2009, she posted a video of herself dancing to Danjo, a popular Japanese Internet meme. Danjo is Japanese for boy and girl. Her YouTube video was uploaded to the Japanese video streaming website Nico Nico Douga, where she instantly attracted fans.
According to Japanese media, Flint was named "the next Leah Dizon." Her looks and interest in cosplay made her popular among Japanese fans for being a moe idol. Despite this, during a press conference, she informed the media that she was well-aware that her age and her image would attract unwanted attention from the Internet, as her father had warned her.
Flint was approached with half a dozen marketing campaigns before being signed onto a talent ageny, Life Is So Cruel, Ltd., in August 2009. Emerging under the stage name "Beckii Cruel" she flew to Japan, where she was able to perform with Taro in Akihabara. Although Cruel had experience in dancing, having taken ballet for most of her life, she was required to undergo vocal training. She began seeking advice from David Holland, and, according to her father, "works with him at least once a week".
2009-2010: This is Beckii Cruel!, Tsubasa wo Kudasai and Beckii: Schoolgirl Superstar at 14:
In October 2009, Cruel visited Japan with a group called the Cruel Angels, with 18-year-old French college student, known by her stage name Sarah Cruel, from Lyon, and a 17-year-old student from Portsmouth known by her stage name as Gemma Cruel. She was signed onto Tokuma Japan Communications, the same label as hit technopop group Perfume.
On 4 November 2009, Cruel herself released two songs on two different albums, titled "No, Upper Matsuri" (の、アッパー祭, No, Appā Matsuri) and "No, Ballad Matsuri" (の、バラード祭, No, Barādo Matsuri) as part of the "No, Matsuri" (の、祭り) CD series which features other singers popular from the Japanese Nico Nico Douga Video community. On 7 November, she started her second YouTube channel under the name "xBextahx2", her channel for vlogs, tutorials and practice shots. On 9 December, she released her first idol DVD, titled This is Beckii Cruel!. It debuted at number 8 on Japan's DVD charts.
She released her first single featuring the Cruel Angels, "Tsubasa o Kudasai" (翼をください, "Please Give Me Wings"), on 10 February 2010, a cover of a 1970s song by Japanese pop rock band Akai Tori. On 14 February 2010, she appeared at live events at Lazona Kawasaki Plaza and in Shibuya, Tokyo to promote the new single. The single reached #84 on Oricon's single charts, and charted for two weeks in the top 200.
On 12 August 2010, BBC Three premiered a documentary about her, entitled Beckii: Schoolgirl Superstar at 14. This documentary brought her to a mainstream UK audience.
As of September 2010, Cruel is no longer affiliated with the Cruel Angels, and is no longer a member of the Cruel Angels Project, citing a dispute with her management as the reason for her departure from the project.
2010-2011: whatacruelday and Beckii Cruel de Eigomimi:
On 31 October 2010, Cruel opened another YouTube project with her friend, Amy Day, titled "whatacruelday", and the pair posts weekly videos on themes and perform challenges. On 24 December, Cruel released two language learning books through ASCII Media Works entitled "Beckii Cruel de Eigomimi". There is a business English version and a casual conversation version. They debuted in the top-fifteen of the English language learning section in the Japanese book stores.
In May 2011, Cruel launched her personal website http://beckii.co.uk.
As of July 2011, Cruel is no longer represented by Life Is So Cruel, Ltd., having sought termination of her contract, and neither has any further links with the company, nor with the Cruel Angels Project.
She has also worked with Tom Nichols, who has previously worked with Kylie Minogue, and various other artists. She recorded the song "You Can't Kiss Me" hoping she will be approached by a British recording contract. A CD single for the song was released in Autumn 2011. This was her first song targeted towards the British market.
As of 22 December 2011, "You Can't Kiss Me" had reached Number 1 in the Music Week Upfront Club Chart, and number 15 in the Commercial Club Chart. (Source: Music Week Magazine)
Beckii began managing a girl group in 2012. Their debut mini album is slated for release later in the year.
In early 2012, Cruel started working on a full length album. It is due to be released on 15 December 2012. "U Can't Kiss Me" is expected to be on the album, although nothing official has been set.
In late 2012, Beckii recorded vocals for the debut album from British Gaijin Rock band Area 11, including the single 'Shi no Barado'.
In August 2013, Beckii released her documentary 'Independent Idol' and new single 'Future Fantasy'. The documentary follows a 17 year old Beckii recording her first song in Japanese in three years.