Rebecca Black, YouTube Sensation Turned Award-Winning Pop Star, Talks About Growing Fame and Harassment

YouTube turned pop star says she she teased for her song "Friday."

August 9, 2011, 12:42 PM

Aug. 9, 2011— -- Youtube sensation turned teen pop star Rebecca Black knows what it means to have her dreams come true.

Her hit single and break-out music video "Friday" exploded on Youtube and made her an instant star in a matter of days after the song's March release. It hit 167 million views -- that's roughly half of the population of the United States.

"It's hard because everyone wants to say 'Oh my God, I'm this big star now,'" Black said. "But I don't see it that way. I'm still the same 14-year-old girl that loves to hang out with her friends."

Now the teenager has turned her online fame from that one song into real celebrity status. Just this past Sunday, Black took home the MTV Teen Choice Award for Choice Web Star. Her song was featured on an episode of FOX's "Glee" and recently caught the attention of singer Katy Perry, who asked Black to play a lead role in her latest music video, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)."

"My mom got a call from my manager and said, 'Katy wants you to be in her new video,' and I fell over," Black said.

When she arrived on set, Black said Perry gave her a warm welcome.

"She was actually dressed in her alter-ego Kathy, so she was, like, 'Oh my God, It's Rebecca Black," she said.

Watch the full interview on "Primetime Nightline: Celebrity Secrets'" special "Underage and Famous," airing on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 10/9c on ABC.

Although her song "Friday," put her on the map, it originally became popular for a more negative reason. With lyrics such as "Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal/Seein' everything, the time is goin,'" Black's music video launched a national debate about whether it was the worst song ever.

Just 13 years old at the time, Black started her 7th grade school year as a regular girl from Anaheim, Calif., and like many of her friends, she dreamed of being famous.

"I was one of those little girls who practiced signing autographs since I was 5 years old," she said.

Black heard about the Ark Music Factory, a small music video production company in Los Angeles whose producers write songs for teen pop star wannabes. It was Ark who wrote and produced "Friday" for Black, a music video that originally cost her parents $4,000.

"Best $4,000 I ever spent, let me tell you that," Black's mother Georgina Marquez said.

After the video was posted on Youtube, it was picked up by a popular comedy blog. That was when Black said her life changed overnight.

"After seeing it go from 4,000 views to 70,000 views in one night, and then waking up and it was at 200,000 views, that was when I realized this is going to be big," Black said.

As the video zipped around the inter-webs, critics and bloggers immediately ripped it apart. Some of the online comments were vicious and personal, saying things like "you're so fat and you'll never be pretty," "you suck at singing," "I hope you go die," and "I think you should get an eating disorder because that will make you prettier."

Her talent was put into question after her voice was manipulated and auto-tuned in "Friday."

"I don't think I'm the worst singer, but I don't think I'm the best singer," Black said in an interview with ABC News just days after "Friday" took off.

But this past spring, Black said the teasing and harassment became so relentless that she opted for homeschooling.

"When I walk by they'll start singing 'Friday' in a really nasally voice," she said. "Or, you know, they'll be like, 'Oh hey, Rebecca, guess what day it is?'"

Rebecca Black Moves Forward With Her Next Single, 'My Moment'

Now her mother is her teacher, and said she agreed to pull Black out of school because her daughter was being made fun of and so she had more time to focus on her career.

"She certainly did not need that kind of pressure," Marquez said.

But online, Black continued to be a target. In May,'s iReport, an online service where viewers can submit stories and tips to CNN's website, had a story posted claiming the then 13-year-old was pregnant, complete with a fake photo-shopped picture of the pop star holding a sign announcing the pregnancy.

"Waking up to a rumor that you're pregnant is not fun," Black said. "It's just frustrating, because I mean, I'm still, like, excited over my first kiss."

Black responded to the allegation on her Twitter account, saying "I thought it was May 15th...not April Fools Day. I'm absolutely NOT pregnant." The story was eventually taken down from iReport.

But the comments became even more violent and alarming. Her mother said the FBI became involved when her daughter began receiving death threats.

"There's not a stone that's left unturned when it comes to her safety," Marquez said.Despite facing so much scrutiny so young and so fast, the teenager seemed to have a remarkably thick skin.

"I've had a lot of experience with not being likes and all that," she said. "I think if I hadn't had to deal with that in the past then I totally would have handled this differently and I would have gone down in burning flames. But I've learned that you just can't let it get to you."

And now it's Black who has the last laugh -- even pop icon Lady Gaga says she is a fan.

"I say Rebecca Black is a genius, and anyone that says she is cheesy is full of s---," she said during the Musicians@Google event this past March.

Now Black says she can't go anywhere without fans flocking around her, and she now has her own entourage: a publicist, a manager, a stylist, a make-up artist and sometimes a bodyguard. A growing fan base also means a growing bank account. Black said she didn't know how much money she has made, but she admitted it was enough to pay for her college tuition.

Working to keep her fame alive, Black just released her new single, "My Moment." Her new music video was an elaborate production -- with nearly 100 people working on set.

WATCH: Behind the scenes of the making of "My Moment"

"My Moment" already has nearly 22 million views on YouTube -- but with double the "dislikes" from viewers. Either way it's more fame and more money for Black, who says her latest song is much more personal.

"The first line is, 'Weren't you the one who said that I would be nothing,' which is basically saying that to everyone out there that has said that," she said. "The next line is, 'And now I'm about to prove you wrong,' because I am. I will be able to prove all of these people wrong. I am worth something and I will be big."

Watch the full interview on "Primetime Nightline: Celebrity Secrets'" special "Underage and Famous," airing on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 10/9c on ABC.

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