From TikTok stardom to singer-songwriter, Nessa Barrett has been making a name for herself in the music industry. On Oct. 14, Barrett released “young forever,” her debut album which has a variety of songs about her personal struggles. Barrett is known to release dark pop music with messages about depression, her eating disorder and dealing with loss, and this album is no different. Here is how Barrett rose to fame in the music industry and how her music is changing the world of pop music.
Nessa Barrett rose to fame through TikTok in the early days of the app in 2019. At the time, Barrett was widely known for her recreations of TikTok trends and for being friends with fellow TikTokers who were in other entertainment houses. While Barrett never joined one of these houses, she was known to be friends with TikTokers from the Hype House and the Sway House, which her ex-boyfriend, Josh Richards, was a part of. When the couple became official, they blew up on TikTok and other social media platforms, becoming a well-liked couple even through their multiple breakups. Ultimately, TikTok gave Barrett and other influencers a platform for stardom, allowing them to excel in other professional fields such as music.
The Start of Her Singing Career
In 2020, after gaining a following on TikTok and other social media platforms, Barrett released her first single “Pain”. While other influencers on TikTok began releasing music as well such as Dixie D’Amelio and Chase Hudson, Barrett set herself apart from the rest with her soft voice and more advanced and darker lyrics.
Barrett gained more recognition in the music industry when she released her song “la di die” which featured jxden, or Jaden Hossler, in 2021. The song “la di die”, a pop-rock song, is about life in California and the difficulties that come with fame. A music video was made for the single and it now has over 53 million views on YouTube. Soon after the song’s release, they performed the song live on Ellen, with Travis Barker playing the drums. However, along with the song came a lot of drama when Barrett and Hossler began dating. There was speculation that Hossler cheated on his previous girlfriend with Barrett, causing a huge scandal in the influencer community.
Later that year, Barrett released her first EP titled “pretty poison”. The EP has a wide range of songs, from “i hope ur miserable until ur dead” to “i wanna die”, each song highlighting Barrett’s dark persona. For several of Barrett’s songs off her EP, she further expressed haunting visuals through music videos such as her trapped in a room on fire and in a morgue getting her makeup done.
Barrett’s Struggles with Mental Health
In February of 2022, Barrett released her song “dying on the inside” which chronicled her struggles with her eating disorder. In lyrics like “Swallowing my pride so I won’t eat anything”, Barrett expresses her struggle to eat, which many teens and young adults face today, especially with social media.
Later that year, on June 9, Cooper Noriega, a former influencer and Barrett’s best friend, passed away. Noriega’s death came as a shock, and friends and fans alike mourned his loss, particularly Barrett. Since Noriega’s passing, Barrett has been open about her struggles, sharing in a TikTok that over the summer she was admitted into a psych ward.
On June 24, 2022, Barrett released “die first”, a single off her “young forever” album. She dedicated this song to her mom as well as Noriega. “die first” expresses how Barrett doesn’t want to live without them, with lyrics like “But if one of us dies/ I hope I die first”. Later though, Barrett ended up dedicating the entire album to Noriega, to who she had shown the album before he passed away.
In “young forever”, Barrett sticks to her strengths of haunting background music along with her soft vocals and mature lyrics. A song that highlights this is “tired of california”, which has a chorus of young kids singing in the background, emphasizing Barrett’s message that California traps people.
Throughout her singing career, Barrett has portrayed these darker themes of mental health and loss, which many artists don’t typically sing about. While many pop artists will write endless songs about love, Barrett is able to channel her personal struggles into her music, touching on much more difficult subjects and fostering deeper connections with her fans.
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