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TikTok's 'Unofficial Bridgerton Musical' Makes Grammys History
by Kenna McCafferty
04 April 2022
It’s official, TikTok has infiltrated the Grammys, and we’re not talking about James Charles’ contested Grammy appearance. The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical by Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow (otherwise known as Barlow & Bear) took home the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Beating out Cinderella, Les Miserables: The Staged Concert and more, Barlow & Bear triumphed over industry titans, and as the only women nominated in their category thanks to the power of TikTok.
The album was born from the “TikTok musical” trend that took hold in the early days of the pandemic. Though many remember the trend's reimagining of Ratatouille, it took on many forms of fan art, one being an ode to Shonda Rhimes’ hit Netflix show, Bridgerton.
Each song on the album was originally created on TikTok, making it “the first musical of its kind to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album," let alone win!
This also marks Barlow (23) and Bear (20) as the youngest winners of a musical theater Grammy. The two were familiar before Bridgerton, according to the Recording Academy, but the show became their first official collaboration.
Barlow started the sensation, debuting the first song shortly after the show’s viral debut in January 2021. But first, she consulted Bear, a previous piano prodigy featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, who sent the song back fully composed.
We’re gonna make it a thing #bridgertonmusical #fyp
Over the course of 18 months, the two pieced the album together; working and reworking their creative process. Born from the social media craze around Bridgerton, and bolstered by its own virality, the album and subsequent first-of-its-kind success will surly have a ripple effect for aspiring TikTok creatives.
The pair documented the creation process through TikTok and Instagram lives incorporating feedback from viewers whether musical theater nerds or “the everyday person” to make the 15 song album which won the Grammy, which we’re claiming as The Internet’s Grammy.
In her acceptance speech, Barlow shared, “A year ago when I asked the internet, ‘What if ‘Bridgerton’ was a musical?’ I could not have imagined we would be holding a Grammy in our hands. We want to thank everyone on the internet who has watched us create this album from the ground up, we share this with you.”
While we wait for our trophies in the mail, we’re proud to celebrate alongside the two deserving winners.
Photo via Getty/ Mindy Small