It all started with a simple question: What if “Bridgerton” was a musical?
For the musicians – and now, bona fide TikTok stars – Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, that would mean not only creating the world’s first fully conceptualized TikTok musical, but also a Grammy nomination in the process. Listen to just one of their epic tracks and you’ll understand why.
ICYMI, “Bridgerton” took Netflix by storm when it debuted last year. Shonda Rhimes’ period romance full of dramatic family dynamics has quickly become the most-watched show in the platform’s history.
Barlow and Bear – as they are known professionally – have also taken TikTok by storm. Their debut ballad, “Ocean’s Away,” featuring Emily on piano and Abigail on vocals, racked up 880 million views, catapulting the concept. Now, “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” can be streamed on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube, among many other channels.
@abigailbarlowww I’m pitchy but having too much fun writing this ✨ #IsThisAvailable #fyp ♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow
The album has a classic sound with a pop twist that many modern Broadway shows try to achieve, and fail (so says the recovering musical theater major, no offense to “Dear Evan Hanson”), and it arguably gives the entire “Bridgerton” story a bit deeper than its Netflix predecessor.
Tracks include “Burn For You”, a duet between Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, the show’s ingenue and main man, respectively. The tune is aptly titled for its steaminess and is a perfect embodiment of the couple’s hot and cold romance.
@abigailbarlowww WE WERE THE LAST TO BE ANNOUNCED OH MY GOD LET’S GO TO THE GRAMMYS @emilythebear #bridgertonmusical ♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow
Fast forward to November 25, when Bear and Barlow learn that their online passion project has received a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. Their tearful, amazed reaction is every bit as heartwarming and entertaining as the songs that earned them a nod.
TikTok introduced us to musicians like Lil Nas X and Loren Gray, but this is the very first album in the world that was conceptualized, created, and performed entirely on TikTok. The creative process between musician and consumer was interactive from start to finish, which helped the duo cultivate a loyal and enthusiastic following of over 200 million viewers.
Music artists are constantly trying to bridge the gap between their work and their audience (Amanda Palmer is ditching her label and starting her own Patreon page, for example). I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspires a new wave of albums that feel like a collaboration between creators and fans.
TikTok Bridgerton Music Compilation
This is truly a case for tracking your creative bliss. Barlow told The Independent: “We didn’t do it to make money, we didn’t do it to get famous. We just did it because we love writing and we love Bridgerton.” You never know what magic will happen when you act on your inspiration.
Barlow and Bear posed the question “What musical should we do next?” So it might only be a matter of time before we have another TikTok masterpiece. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers for a rock opera version of HBO’s “Succession.”
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