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Pop Culture

Medical student becomes TikTok star for her 'awkward black girl anthem'

For Isimeme Udu, aka Hemlocke Springs, creating catchy beats that would take on a life of their own was never part of the Ivy League college plan. But here we are.

hemlocke springs

From med student to TikTok pop star.

Sometimes, life takes us on unexpected detours. One day you follow an impulse and suddenly you have a brand new purpose.

Such was the case for Isimeme Udu (who also goes by Naomi), who not only managed to become an overnight musical success on TikTok, she did it while pursuing a Master of Science degree from Dartmouth College.

Her musical persona, Hemlocke Springs, came from a random-name generator site—a strategy made famous by Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino)—and is reminiscent of pop stars with eccentric vocal stylings and bold fashion choices like Kate Bush and Marina. She jokes that people have ascribed her sound to countless genres and similar artists. If you ask her, it’s all “regular shemgular pop.”

Right now, Udu has more than 235,000 loyal followers on TikTok, something she didn’t exactly anticipate as a full-time medical student. But immediately after releasing the bridge of her then upcoming single “girlfriend,” the video amassed a million views, was used in more than 60,000 subsequent TikToks and even got the attention of Khalid, who can be seen bopping along to the catchy tune. And since the song’s release on Nov 2, it has racked up more than 9 million streams on Spotify.

Listen below, and tell me that’s not an earworm.

@hemlockesprings every time I listen to this song, I wonder was I truly sober..girlfriend comes out this Wednesday, november 2nd! Presave link in bio! Thank you so much evryone! #hemlockesprings#presavemysingle#newindiemusic2022#newindie#newmusic#music#fyp#fyppppppppppppppppppppppp♬ girlfriend - Hemlocke Springs

The song has on more than one occasion been called an “awkward Black girl anthem” by listeners, and Udu herself has become a role model for Black women who want to let their weirdness shine.

It has also been lovingly embraced by people on the autism spectrum, who find ecstatic release in the ultra funky beat.

@rainbowlight77711 @hemlockesprings ♬ original sound - Hemlocke Springs

Udu didn’t expect anyone to even listen to “girlfriend,” much less for it to achieve such overwhelming success. She shared in an interview with People that she would previously post a song onto her SoundCloud, then ”remove it literally one minute later." Making secret music became a habit for seven years.

When she finally decided to keep her songs up, she released a song called “gimme all ur luv,” which also caught celebrity attention from the likes of Bella Hadid and Grimes. No easy task, given the huge amount of content from aspiring artists on the platform.

@babybella777

The sandwich mentioned :

♬ gimme all ur luv - Hemlocke Springs

Though it wasn’t part of the plan, Udu is embracing her seemingly destined career as an artist. She shared with People that she has since finished out a “hellish” final semester at Dartmouth, but fully switched gears for the time being. She has signed with a record label, is working on an album and hopes to perform live one day. "I've been practicing in my room with a hairbrush," she quipped.

Hemlocke Springs, of course, isn’t the only artist to find unexpected fame on TikTok. Though the platform making music more accessible has some potential drawbacks—especially when the need for constant output and hacking the algorithm supersedes quality—it has undeniably helped people express themselves in ways that might defer from the traditional or mainstream. I mean, would this music or “goblin metal” or musical mashups of cat noises have been as widely embraced only a few years ago? I think not. And it’s a good thing that we are celebrating uniqueness. Clearly, it means a lot to a lot of people.

Also, if you’ve been looking for a sign that you should actually pursue your own weird passions—be it music or art or some kind of avant-garde gardening—this is it.

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Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

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He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

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