Generally I really feel like I’m lacking a pop cultural chip as a result of I by no means had the Disney Channel rising up. One time, a few years in the past, I used to be interviewing for a fairly high-profile job at a significant pop-music web site. I wished that job so badly that for the edit take a look at I 100% researched and faked a lifetime’s value of information about Demi Lovato, who I had by no means seen on Camp Rock or Sonny With A Likelihood, similar to I had by no means seen Miley Cyrus on Hannah Montana or Selena Gomez on Wizards Of Waverly Place. (I ended up getting the job, so my 24-hour crash course paid off in the long run.) That is all to say that I nonetheless have a word of being out of my depth any time I am going to debate a Disney or former Disney star crossing over into the mainstream dialog, merely as a result of contextual historical past I grew up not having.
On that word, let’s discuss Dove Cameron! In case you’re like me and you’re hopelessly out of the loop round all issues Disney Channel, then the 26-year-old Cameron could also be a more moderen title in your radar. In the mean time, Cameron is blowing up through a music known as “Boyfriend,” which simply hit #1 on Billboard’s Rising Artists chart. “Boyfriend” can be hovering at #34 on the Scorching 100 after peaking final week at #31. It has practically 7 million streams within the US and 1,500 downloads in its first monitoring week, in keeping with Billboard and Luminate. Taking a look at Spotify, “Boyfriend” has greater than 180 million streams, and it equally went viral on TikTok, the place it was utilized in over 580,000 movies within the weeks after launch.
“Boyfriend” is a notable achievement on a number of ranges: It’s an overtly queer pop music by an overtly queer pop artist, who tells a same-sex love curiosity that she “may very well be a greater boyfriend” than her present man through smoky, Billie Eilish-like vocals. “Considering I’m gonna steal you from him,” the refrain continues. “I may very well be such a gentleman/ Plus all my garments would match.” The music’s noir music video options Cameron seducing and making out with a fantastic girl in a membership and a cellphone sales space, and it’s not pandering, male-gazey, or queer-baity. Every thing about it feels very genuine (whereas concurrently transporting you to a fantasy dimension), and that’s in all probability the vibe followers are selecting up.
“Boyfriend,” in each respect, is a pivot from Disney content material within the conventional sense. Traditionally, Disney stars are signed to the Disney-owned Hollywood Data and launch chaste, teen-pop information earlier than finally making the leap to extra grownup pop stardom. A transparent diversion, although, is Olivia Rodrigo, who signed with Interscope Data and Geffen Data in 2020 and skipped straight previous teeny-bopping on debut album Bitter. By the identical token, Cameron signed with Columbia’s Disruptor Data label in 2018.
A lot main as much as Cameron’s Columbia signing was fairly Disney-core: Starting in 2012, Cameron — who’s from Bainbridge Island, Washington — was solid within the Disney Channel comedy Bits And Items, which was later renamed Liv And Maddie. The present’s plot form of hybridizes Hannah Montana and The Father or mother Lure, with Cameron portraying equivalent twins the place one is a profitable Hollywood actress and the opposite is just not. The present ran for 4 seasons beginning in 2013.
That very same 12 months, Cameron launched a canopy of Think about Dragons’ “On High Of The World,” which turned her first entry on the Billboard Child Digital Songs chart, peaking at #17. Later in 2013, she launched a music known as “Higher In Stereo” through Walt Disney Data, and it in the end turned her first #1 hit on the Billboard Child chart. One other #1 children’ single, “Rely Me In,” adopted in 2014.
What’s attention-grabbing about this time is that whereas Cameron was churning via the Disney machine, in 2015 she appeared in her first non-Disney position — a teen action-comedy known as Barely Deadly, which additionally starred Hailee Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba, and Sophie Turner. (Aspect word: Who knew A24 produced teen motion pictures?? That’s form of superb?) It’s a sample that may proceed for years, Cameron preserving one foot within the Disney world and the opposite within the broader Hollywood panorama.
In the course of her run on Liv And Maddie, Cameron scored a lead position in a significant Disney Channel movie franchise known as Descendants (to not be confused with the 2011 George Clooney film). She additionally contributed songs to its soundtracks, which have constantly charted within the prime 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, together with a #1 debut for the primary installment in 2015. “Rotten To The Core” and “If Solely” from that first Descendants soundtrack peaked at #38 and #94 respectively on the Scorching 100. Cameron additionally did a canopy of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle” for a associated brief known as Depraved World in 2016. Descendants — in regards to the teenage children of well-known Disney villains like Maleficent and Cruella de Vil — was so profitable that it spawned sequels in 2017 and 2019 plus a CGI animated short-form collection.
On the mid-2010s top of her Disney period, Cameron fashioned a band along with her then-boyfriend Ryan McCartan known as the Woman And The Dreamcatcher, however they solely launched one EP, 2016’s Negatives, earlier than splitting up.
Apart from Disney stuff, Cameron has popped up in every single place, showing on NBC’s Hairspray Stay! (2016), a Hollywood Bowl manufacturing of Mama Mia! in 2017, the Netflix movie Dumplin’ (2017), and even performed Cher Horowitz in a stage adaptation of Clueless. In a Disney-adjacent transfer, Cameron had a recurring position within the fifth season of Brokers Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and voiced Gwen Stacy within the animated Final Spider-Man Vs. The Sinister 6. She’s additionally voiced an Indignant Hen and appeared in — oh, let’s see — Shameless, The Mentalist, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Apple TV’s Schmigadoon!, and can play Bubbles within the forthcoming Powerpuff Women TV reboot.
With so many display credit, it was straightforward to lose monitor of the smattering of songs Cameron has been releasing since her two-song EP Bloodshot / Waste in 2019. However all of the sudden, with the discharge of “Boyfriend,” she’s developed a foothold within the pop mainstream to go together with her well-established appearing profession.
One thing Cameron stated in a latest interview resonates with me, and I feel presents a peek into why she’s been profitable, not less than with “Boyfriend.” “…I wasn’t creating [‘Boyfriend’] for anyone else. It was me and my producer pal Evan, very intimate, footwear had been off, . And so after I was like, ‘plus all my garments would match’ we had been simply attempting all these cheeky little strains and issues that I stated offhanded conversationally. I feel the rationale they sound so comedic and nearly like a bit of wink is as a result of that’s the form of dialog you have got with your mates, proper? They had been by no means actually meant to be heard by anybody, which is why it’s actually modified my inventive course of. The issues that you simply write simply to please your self are going to be what ended up resonating with a bigger group of individuals, which is the other to how most individuals, myself included, create.”
Possibly this sounds too easy, however I do assume writing for your self, versus preserving an viewers in thoughts, can act as a particular sauce. On the very least, it implies that you’re confident, which actually helps when trust-falling into the overall chaos that’s pop stardom. Between her writing philosophy and the snappy, seductive “Boyfriend,” I feel Cameron’s on to one thing.