Barlow & Bear carry musical theater into the TikTok era : NPR

Stella McDaniel


AILSA CHANG, HOST:

These days we are celebrating 1st-time Grammy winners. This just one entails a TikTok fairy tale of sorts, which begins with a posh afternoon in London’s West Conclusion final November.

ABIGAIL BARLOW: We literally had just bought completed generating TikToks with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

EMILY BEAR: And I was like, that was surreal in its individual proper, of course.

CHANG: That is composer Emily Bear and singer Abigail Barlow of the musical duo Barlow & Bear. These 20-somethings experienced grabbed the interest of Webber and the full musical theater planet with their album “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.” It was a musical inspired by the Netflix period of time drama “Bridgerton.”

(SOUNDBITE OF Track, “Melt away FOR YOU”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) This is what you connect with a honeymoon – pacing all over our separate rooms, jogging from our elaborate ruse. We’re doomed.

CHANG: On a lark, they had submitted the album for Grammy thing to consider. And the evening when nominations ended up coming out, they caught around at Webber’s theater for substantial tea.

BEAR: And, like, all the biscuits and minor cakes and things all over.

BARLOW: Which you weren’t consuming.

BEAR: I was so nervous, I could not take in.

BARLOW: Yeah. She was so anxious she could not try to eat, and I was worry-taking in, so…

CHANG: So as the musical theater group was announced, Barlow & Bear went are living on TikTok.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Unidentified Person: Stephen Schwartz, “Snapshots” – and lastly, “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.”

BEAR: And then we started off bawling.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARLOW: (Crying) Why was it the past just one?

CHANG: Barlow & Bear ended up the only girls nominated in the greatest musical theater album category this year, and they ended up up from some Broadway greats like Stephen Schwartz and, yes, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Their album – you know, it truly is also distinctive mainly because they composed numerous of the music stay on social media, with admirers offering a managing commentary for the duration of the several hours-lengthy stay classes.

(SOUNDBITE OF Track, “Girl WHISTLEDOWN”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) Practically nothing but a whisper is a shout. It is a excitement about the town. Very little like a scandal…

CHANG: We preferred to see how the magic takes place IRL, so we met Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear at their shared studio in Bear’s apartment in Central Los Angeles.

BEAR: What important is it in?

BARLOW: (Singing) Colored in environmentally friendly, gilded in gold.

(LAUGHTER)

CHANG: I really feel like I am dwelling in a musical proper now.

(LAUGHTER)

BARLOW: Our lifestyle is a musical these days (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF Music, “IF I Ended up A Gentleman”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) I guess I have to be a girl, smiling and waving, continuously obeying. I guess…

CHANG: Alright. So “Bridgerton,” this Netflix exhibit – it arrives out all around Christmas of 2020. Individuals – they just, like, get addicted to this display.

BARLOW: I bought addicted.

BEAR: Instantly.

CHANG: I was likely to request, did you fellas get drawn in immediately?

BARLOW: Certainly.

BEAR: I signify, we are quite literally the target viewers (laughter).

BARLOW: Yeah. I assume all people just bought so into it for the reason that it was a departure from the entire world we were being dwelling in at the instant, which was seriously not about obtaining together. It was pretty lonely, so…

BEAR: Also, like, the earlier 12 months and a 50 percent for Abigail and I, like, just career speaking was tough.

CHANG: What do you necessarily mean?

BARLOW: I received ghosted by, like, just about every single big record label that was interested in me, and it was just no immediately after no. I consider we were just barely having by ahead of we had this thought for “Bridgerton.”

(SOUNDBITE OF Song, “IF I Were A Guy”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: I did not know any of your maids ended up married.

She’s not married.

She’s not married?

CHANG: So then at one particular position, Abigail – I am going to quick-forward to January of previous yr, right? Just a few months after the show comes out, you article this video clip on TikTok inquiring the concern…

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARLOW: Ok, but what if “Bridgerton” was a musical?

(Singing) What a beautiful occasion.

CHANG: Had been you in fact major at that issue?

BARLOW: I really just required to produce a tune. I was actually dealing with writer’s block for, like, 3 or four months before I wrote that music. And when I viewed “Bridgerton,” there was an too much to handle feeling. It was perfect for phase – a great deal of drama, escapism, a character for every person to relate to. And so I kind of – I was 50 %-major. I was like, if individuals like this thought, perhaps it will be a TikTok sequence. Probably I will do it for extra than just one character. But truthfully, it was just a songwriting obstacle to set myself in another person else’s shoes, even if that was a make-believe character.

BEAR: When we were producing the opening range, we watched that opening scene so several moments due to the fact it can be theatrical. It is really so theatrical.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARLOW: (Singing) We are dancing in the exact same home.

We experienced, like, a moment we needed to write about in the demonstrate. So we sort of watched that second, and then we were sort of enjoying about with different ideas.

BEAR: I mean, when we had been creating this, we were being heading stay each individual day on TikTok and Instagram and – wherever they could virtually just see almost everything that we are doing in true time.

CHANG: So, like, are you actually observing the reside movie feed and the opinions coming by way of?

BEAR: Yeah.

BARLOW: Yeah.

BEAR: So it was, like, nearly like we ended up workshopping…

CHANG: Yeah.

BEAR: …Right away.

BARLOW: Yeah.

BEAR: They did not…

CHANG: Yeah, with a sea of strangers.

BEAR: Sure, particularly. Like, they did not keep again when they failed to like something, both.

(LAUGHTER)

BARLOW: Yeah. And, I necessarily mean, I consider a ton of the situations, it can be – we have kind of a melody that we like. And we are type of heading back and forth on the lyrics to just make one thing that sounds proper, that feels fantastic to sing. So, like, I understood we had the (vocalizing). And then we sort of began doing the job on the lyrics with the audience and variety of workshopped a bunch of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARLOW: (Singing) Let’s just escape into the paintings, colored in silk (ph)…

BEAR: Can you do the environmentally friendly and the gold?

BARLOW: (Singing) Colored in green and…

Simply because I realized I had the… (Singing) He’d be the artist, and I’d be the brush.

BEAR: And then we have been like, when anyone stated gilded and – or something – I do not don’t forget just what they explained, but something alongside the lines of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BEAR: Coloured in green and gilded in gold.

BARLOW: Ooh.

BEAR: (Singing) Included in green and gilded in gold.

BARLOW: Coloured in environmentally friendly and gilded in gold. That’s amazing.

BEAR: Yeah, that is cool.

Since we have been considering, wow, these two persons definitely have this sort of pressure correct now. And they want to be with each and every other, but they cannot. And so they could if they escaped into one of these gorgeous paintings and, like, lived in this aspiration entire world that will not exist.

BARLOW: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF Tune, “By yourself Collectively”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) Colored in inexperienced, gilded in gold, when we’re alone alongside one another.

BEAR: You see all this art in the environment, but no one particular truly sort of pulls that curtain again. And a good deal of individuals really don’t know what it suggests to create a tune and what it implies to create a venture or, you know, all of the previously mentioned. And so I come to feel like just showing just about every bit of the approach, together with the ugly bits, was attention-grabbing to folks.

(SOUNDBITE OF Song, “By itself Jointly”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) I want you were mine.

CHANG: I suggest, I am considering maybe there are some musical theater followers of a certain technology that would change their noses up at some musical on TikTok.

BARLOW: Absolutely sure.

CHANG: And, you know, they would say that a ton is truly misplaced for the reason that it’s not on a genuine stage in a theater with precise human viewers customers observing you. What would you say to these critics?

BARLOW: I’d say that musical theater is a pretty classically gatekept artwork type. You know, it can be pretty pricey to go to a Broadway present. It can be, like, 200 bucks a ticket. And so it may not be the same as getting on a stage for guaranteed. But it is definitely exposing a more youthful audience to a different kind of music and a distinct variety of storytelling, and I think which is essential.

(SOUNDBITE OF Song, “BALANCING THE SCALES”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) I wander past the doors and the corridors where they grew.

CHANG: Very well, do you hope to see “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” on an actual stage a person day?

BARLOW: Duh.

(LAUGHTER)

BARLOW: That is the desire. We have acquired so lots of stories to convey to with each other, so, you know, this is not the previous you may see of Barlow & Bear. And it will not be the only thing, if it is on a stage, that we’ll have on a stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF Song, “BALANCING THE SCALES”)

BARLOW AND BEAR: (Singing) Balancing the scales, balancing the scales – I did the best I could…

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