Rebecca Black Q&A: EW talks to the 'Friday' viral video star about getting compliments from Gaga, donating her song profits to Japan, and using her dad as a 'bodyguard'

In the two weeks since since it began its viral rise to Internet infamy, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” music video has amassed a staggering 42 million views on YouTube and shows no sign of slowing down.

That’s an absurdly high number of hits for any singer, but it’s jaw-dropping when you consider that Black is an unsigned 13-year-old from Orange County who only made the video for fun with her friends (and a little help from a vanity production company).

With her song in the iTunes Top 40 and a guest spot on The Tonight Show under her belt, we caught up with Rebecca (after she got finished school for the day, naturally) and talked to her about what she’s doing with all this money, how her dad scares off gawkers in public, and how she felt to hear Lady Gaga call her a “genius.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: On Leno you said that you are donating most of your YouTube and iTunes proceeds to earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan. That’s really cool. What made you decide to do that? I don’t think anyone would hold it against a 13-year-old for keeping the money from her first hit record.
REBECCA BLACK: I felt really bad about [the disaster in Japan]. I’ve always wanted to do something about all natural disasters, and I realized now is my big opportunity where I can really help.

Speaking of money, what kind of a percentage split do you have with Ark Music [the company that wrote song and produced the video]?
I own the song. I have full rights to the song, so they really don’t get anything. I’m pretty sure it’s a 100 to 0 situation. The only thing we paid for was to buy full rights.

That’s amazing. Good move. Do you have a lot of kids your age recognizing you in public?
Yeah. It’s weird. To me I’m just a regular person going to the mall with friends, and now I’m in Forever 21 and I see this random group of girls staring at me and taking pictures. But now I usually have my dad, who is a really tall and intimidating person with me, so he’s kind of my bodyguard. They stay away from me when I’m with him. But I have had people come up and ask for pictures, stuff like that.

Are they polite?
Oh, yeah.

Did you hear what Lady Gaga said about you?
I haven’t.

When your video was explained to her along with all the Internet fame and occasional haters, she said, “I say Rebecca Black is a genius and anyone telling her she’s cheesy is full of it.”
That’s so cool! I feel so star-struck, even though I haven’t met her. It’s so surreal, it’s so crazy. I was just listening to “Born this Way.” I really love all of her songs, I have almost every song of hers on my iPod and I think she’s really a lyrical genius. Her songs are just so upbeat and fun and catchy.

When you’re singing about partying in “Friday,” I assume you mean something different than what partying means to, say, Ke$ha. So what does partying entail for you as a 13-year-old?
Just really being with friends and having fun. Dancing — that’s really what I do at parties. I dance and I hang out with friends. That’s my partying.

Where can you usually be found on a Friday night?
At a friend’s house or… yeah. At a friend’s house or at the mall. That’s about it.

Gaga aside, who are your other favorite singers or bands?
Well, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna — those are my favorites, definitely. Justin Bieber I find an inspiration overall: I love his music, he’s adorable and I love that he’s so young and so big. And Rihanna, how she came out of the Chris Brown thing so strong, that is amazing to me.

In five years, which celebrity would you ideally want to be like?
I would love to be like Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez. They were catapulted into stardom when they were so young—like I was—and they still haven’t gone down the wrong path and I hope neither or them will. I find that really inspiring.

And now they’re dating.
Yeah. [Giggles]

So you are recording new material now. Is that with Ark Music?
No. We’re being pretty open, we’re getting a bunch of song lyrics and ideas from a bunch of different writers, but this isn’t with Ark. We’re really just taking things minute by minute.

Any songwriters we might recognize?
That’s not a question you should ask me—my parents just throw song ideas at me, and I’ve been listening to a billion different songs.

What type of songs can we expect?
Dance anthem-like stuff, very teen-like pop songs, stuff like that.

Your video is one of those that people watch over and over. Are there any YouTube clips you watch repeatedly?
I don’t really use YouTube that much. I am a very Internet-oriented person, but I’m more of a Twitter freak—I’m always on Twitter. Or chatting with friends.

Read more on EW.com:

Lady Gaga reveals she’s directing her next video, talks Rebecca Black at Google Q&A
Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’: The Internet’s latest obsession

Rebecca Black on Leno: Watch her perform here

Rebecca Black on ‘GMA’

Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    Rebecca Black > Radiohead

    • t.t

      loooooooooooooooooool duh!

      • Leslie

        She’s amazing and TallMatch was amazing

    • Cygnus

      Up next: nose job to fix that grating nasal voice. Maybe fix her hears too to deal with the tone-deafness.

      • Ben

        Sorry you can’t fix ugly

      • Alex

        If you’re going to mock the girl, at least proofread.

      • Dave

        Uhhh she’s thirteen, give her a break.

      • Cygnus

        Up next: nude photos on her phone scandal – she goes to juvie for child porn creation

    • tessa

      That’s definitely a joke right?!

    • Chris

      Yeah, she’s the Bob Dylan of our generation.

    • Poppy

      LOL: I don’t know you you are, but please stop using Radiohead as an example. I know, you’re joking but quit it.

    • Flooba Bambers

      My friends and I heard that Rebecca is coming to a mall near our town. We so excited! Today is Sunday and she is coming the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow is Monday and Tuesday comes afterwards!! Fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun! Partying, partying. Yeah!!

      • The Shaved Biebers

        I want to ride with you to the mall. But which seat will I take?? Oh, and I don’t want to forget about my cereal and my bowl.

  • Tara

    Um I’m fairly sure the only reason I’d buy “Friday” would be to make fun of it. Rebecca Black sounds like a nice girl, but honestly, she can’t sing and that song is terrible.

    • @Tara

      At least your $$ would go to a good cause, even with meanness behind it.

    • SaraS

      I’m a teacher and a lot of my students love it. (Genuinely love it.) Of course, a lot of them hate it too.. but they’re still singing “Friday, Friday..” When Justin Bieber started out, everyone felt the same: cheesy song, cheesy dance moves, etc.

      • BruceMpls

        Gotta feel sorry for all those grade- and mid-school teachers because we all know what tomorrow is….Friday, Friday.

  • Jackal

    You know she really seems like a nice kid – it is incredible the amount of negative response to her is and to what end? A 13 year old girl sings a mundane catchy ditty and it generates such negativity – I agree the video and song are laughable but give the kid credit, she’s accomplished more than most of us will ever do.

    • whatevs

      The reason none of us will accomplish it is because we have better things to do with $2,000.

      • @ MT…

        Oh yeah? Like what? Car payment, McDonald’s, trip to Vegas? Pretty sure this was a GREAT investment.

      • whatevs

        Um… to live. Regardless of how good the investment ended up being, it’s still dumb to make your own video to a stupid song.

      • Jackal

        @whatevs
        see and you just made my point – you took your precious time “to live” to make a negative comment about a thirteen year old…

        And so her family spent $2000 on making a video – I’ve spent that on dvds, video games, junk food, cars and countless other things at the end of the day really doesn’t add up to much of anything – so is everyone else who has done the same thing a loser?

        and if it is “to live” – haven’t many of us aspired to be an athlete, actor or rock star? Part of “living” while a teenager is to act out on those fantasies

    • Steve

      Accomplished more than us? LOL….The only thing she accomplished is being a laughing stock for the rest of her life. Everywhere she goes people will laugh at her because of her awful singing and music video.

      • Alex

        Laughing stock for the rest of her life is a bit extreme. She’s 13. No one will likely remember this in a year.

      • April

        @Alex…let’s hope so. I heard this song for 30 seconds and just couldn’t take it. That Friday, Friday noise is irritating as hell.

  • Ray

    “Friday” is this generation’s “Let it Be”

    • Matt

      Hmm, more “I am the Walrus”

      • cfkane

        No. It’s this generation’s “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Ha.”

    • Michael

      What a joke! For that to be compared to Let It Be, would make us want to believe Hell will freeze Over. That song is awful.

      • Devonte

        - some of your best work to date Kacy. That B&W one in the top right is absolutly sitnnung. This girl should be a model she is gorgeous! Would love to see some of the other shots from this set. Amazing work as always Kacy

  • Sue1

    She sounds like a sweet, grounded kid. She may not make it big, but I think she’ll make it out of this unscathed.

    • Ed

      Yeah, I kinda love this girl after seeing her on Leno. Can’t wait to hear a sample from Friday on the next Girl Talk CD!

  • Lena120

    She seems like a nice girl but I don’t think we’re doing her any favors by patting her on the back for this travesty. I think it sends the wrong message about REAL music and what you need to produce to be a success. I feel like people are enabling her.

    • Amanda

      Couldn’t agree more. It’s like having a Kardashian as a role model- telling girls “if you let someone fake your talent for you, or use you for exposure, it means you made it.” God forbid they have goals to get advanced degrees and contribute to society.

  • crispy

    There is no way in Hades that Ark Media, the songwriter and composer, is not making bank off this song given the record industry’s vast and complicated royalties rules. And if they aren’t, I smell a lawsuit coming. Also, these people are going to turn into the Salahi’s real fast.

    • Andre

      Agreed. Songwriters don’t typically lose their cut. I can see Ark not getting anything, though – they would’ve been paid up-front for the production and the studio musicians would’ve been paid. Making money off the sale is likely the songwriter first, then Black.

  • Sarah

    She seems to be handling the situation well. Good luck to her.

  • Kim

    Gotta have her bowl, gotta have cereal.

    • Daeesha

      haha . well, sorta. Yes, it was on a budget mine . prolabby not yours . sorry. I tried to do it spending almost nothing and as you can see it didn’t get me very far! The truth of the matter is . decoration costs money. There’s no way around that. If it were cheap and easy, everyone would live in gorgeous homes. It’s time consuming and expensive bottom line. It was a budget for me Target, Ikea, HomeGoods but even there, it adds up. Turned out FAB though!!!

  • Cat

    I like Rebecca but if she really wants to be a singer I’d suggest voice lessons.

  • LikeTotally

    We we we so excited. We so excited!

  • Q,H,

    It’s a harmless flash-in-the-pan. Let her have her moment.

  • madhatter

    I’ve decided that I’ll only comment on two things.
    1. Having not heard what Lady GaGa had said I was pleasantly surprised to see them spring a compliment on Rebecca Black rather than another criticism.
    2. Justin Beiber has been famous for a year or two. Lohan was famous for several years before sliding down the wrong path. I’d wait to see what happens rather than say he’s an example for not going down the wrong path.

  • WideJuly

    Of course she’s donating the money, it’s obvious her family is already well off. Who else can blow 2 grand so that their little princess can make a horrible pop song & music video?

    Also how can she consider making more music after her first attempt is being called one of the worst songs ever.

    Lastly Lady Gaga is insane for saying this girl’s a genius. She just gets her kicks off being bizarre and being unconventional. I can’t wait till she’s out of the picture.

  • jimbo

    I bet every single one of you passed the 13-year mark a long, long time ago. Don’t you think it’s kind of pathetic for twenty/thirty/forty-somethings to trot out negative opinions about something they can no longer relate to? It’s kind of like listening to a pubescent kid offering up a detailed analysis of Tom Waits’ music. Or Bob Dylan’s. Or Leonard Cohen’s. You don’t “get” Justin Beiber? You’re not supposed to.

    • LOL

      Jimbo is still trying to decide which seat to take.

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