If you have the internet, by now you've likely heard the work of 12-year-old Nicole Westbrook, the former St. Louis-resident whose single "It's Thanksgiving" is ticking steadily toward 10 million views on YouTube. (If not, please catch up with the rest of the class here.)
She's been dubbed the new Rebecca Black, the much maligned teen behind "Friday," another song that went viral a year ago for being the "worst song ever."
But unlike Black, who laid low for months after the song earned her so much unwanted attention, Westbrook decided to own her infamy and hit the media circuit. She's performed on Good Morning America and Access Hollywood, and given several interviews.
We caught up with her by phone in her New York City hotel room just after she wrapped a segment for Anderson Cooper. As soon as we heard her voice, two things became clear right away. First, she is super, duper twelve. And second, man, for a tween, she seems to be in total control of her image. Click through for the conversation.
Jessica Lussenhop: So, is it true you guys moved from St. Louis to L.A. to pursue your career?
Nicole Westbrook: Yes, we moved about four years ago and it was just basically to pursue my career. And my mom just moved her job so it worked out really good.
How long have you wanted to be in show business?
Probably since I was about seven. I don't know what it was, but I just knew I wanted to be in show business and I took a few acting classes. And we just ended up moving out here, which was awesome.
How did you guys meet Patrice Wilson [the producer and songwriter behind "Friday" and "It's Thanksgiving," and head of PMW Live]?
We did that seven months ago. I met Patrice at an audition for a pilot for an upcoming show and he was in the casting. He had called my mom and I a little later that day and wanted to shoot a video with us. We had recorded a song called "Smile" and in the song it had a little section of rap in it. And Patrice had originally wanted to do it, but asked if I wanted to try it and I guess now I'm a rapper!
But it went really good and I also recorded a rap song. And Patrice had this great idea for a Thanksgiving song and wanted me to sing it. So that's just basically how I met Patrice and how I sang the Thanksgiving song.
When did he come up with the idea to have you star in a YouTube video?
He didn't have this idea about the Thanksgiving video until after I'd met with him. I think he wanted to do it at first, but then decided it was better for someone of a younger age to do it and had asked me. And I'm just so grateful that he asked me. It was so much fun. And, oh my gosh, ten million views.
It's doing very, very, very, very well.
Obviously the most famous person he's worked with before is Rebecca Black and her video did really well too. But she also had some trouble -- she had to leave her school and stuff like that. Were you ever worried about any of those things happening to you?