The Orange County Register finally tracked down 13-year-old Rebecca Black and got the first real interview with the viral superstar of the week.
Problem is, it's long-winded (about 2,400 words), cliche-ridden and too, too nice.
So we're doing everyone a favor by condensing the interview to the most important parts. Like how the "Friday" singer, whose video has been described as ear rape (among other nasty things), goes to middle school in northeast Orange County. Or how she got 13 million hits in a week. Or how her family paid for some of the production costs for the song and video created by the Ark Music Factory. Or how, on the day after "Friday" went viral, she went on a sleepover and "did all the usual 13-year-old girl things, pigging out on fun food, talking about boys."
She took ballet (from the age of 2), tap and jazz classes. She's part of a patriotic singing group called Celebration USA and sang the National Anthem at the Angel Stadium. She was Laurey in a middle-school production of "Oklahoma!" and spent summers at the Best of Broadway summer camp at the Orange County High School of the Arts.
"It was something new, and all of a sudden, I wanted to do singing more," she says. "I'd always been singing in the shower. Now, I would sing everywhere."
2. She keeps a life-sized cutout of Justin Bieber in her bedroom.
"I've always wanted to be like Justin Bieber," she says.
3. Her parents, Dr. Georgina Kelly and Dr. John Black, are both veterinarians.
4. Her family found Ark Music Factory online. "They said I looked a little like Selena Gomez and asked me if I liked Taylor Swift."
5. She was getting her nails done with her mom in December when she first got "Friday" in an e-mail. "I thought it was so cool!"
6. They shot the video for 12 hours at her dad's house. Friends and family were recruited as actors. "I redid that first scene--'7 a.m. I'm waking up in the morning'--I probably had to do 30 times."
7. Friday, March 11, went down a little differently for Rebecca. She didn't just have to eat cereal and pick a seat in her friend's car. Comedian Daniel Tosh, host of a Comedy Central's Tosh.0, had posted her video on his blog.
"I looked at my video, and it had gotten all these comments," Rebecca says. "They were all mean and really nasty--'This man has a beautiful singing voice.' And I was like, 'Mom?'--I was almost on the verge of tears--'look at this.'"
"I really thought, 'Should I have not done this?'" Rebecca says. "'This is my fault, I should have gone with the other song.' I haven't ever gotten that much hate. I thought the world is going to hate me. My self-confidence had dropped down to the ground. I thought I'd get made fun of at school."
8. After all the online haterade, her mom asked her if she wanted to take it off YouTube; she refused.
"I said, 'No, I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of making me take it down.' I said, 'No, this is going to work out. I just want to let it go. Let it do its thing.'"
"I really think that song is so catchy, no one can get it out of their head," she says.
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9. Ark Music Factory is not evil! Apparently Rebecca and family were cautioned against expecting to be famous.
"That's Ark's philosophy," Black says. "They throw [the videos and songs] out there, and see if anyone's interested." Ark also said the family could opt not to pay anything in exchange for giving up all rights to the song.
10. Rebecca is making money off the single, but she is not going on a mall tour. The money will go to her savings, her school theater program and Japanese relief efforts. "I just want to be able to keep doing what I love, which is singing."
"This is my time to show them how strong I am," Rebecca says. "That I'm a lot stronger than them. So say what you want, it's not going to stop me. You're entitled to your opinion. But I believe in myself."