With the pandemic-battered state of Broadway over the past 18 months, only one Rialto cast recording could muster a nomination in the Grammys’ music theater album category. That left room for voters to be more adventurous, opening the door to a nomination for concept albums including “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” by Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear that went viral thanks to TikTok.
Inspired by the poetic dialogue and fantastical world of the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” Barlow says she began writing songs from the main character’s perspective. The first tease, “Daphne’s Song,” was posted to TikTok after the series debuted. A simple piano ballad, the song explores Daphne’s emotions when she begins to fall for Simon amid their faux romance.
What began as an escape from a difficult year soon catapulted the duo into a viral sensation: “Daphne’s Song” has racked up more than 2.3 million views, while the follow-up, “Burn for You,” has more than 5.3 million views.
What made TikTok their platform of choice? Bear says, “TikTok has a unique algorithm that allows anyone with a passion to organically grow their audience from the ground up.”
Unlike with a studio-recorded album, Barlow and Bear used the platform to fully enable fans to be a part of the creative process. “Abigail and I have seen the power of TikTok for years, and decided to invite fans to watch our writing sessions in real time and give their suggestions on the creation of the ‘Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,’ ” Bear says. Barlow adds: “The immense success of this project was definitely in the fans’ hands. They made this project soar by supporting two young women with a crazy dream and watching their journey every step of the way.” More than 15 songs were put together for the album. (Separately, Kris Bowers is up for score soundtrack for his work on the Netflix series.)Barlow marvels at how far their humble effort has come. “From the inception to the full-length album release, to a nomination for best musical theater album, our TikTok platform has allowed us to find our voices and inspire other young artists to do the same.”
The Grammys take place on Jan. 31, 2022, and will be broadcast live from Cypto.com Arena by CBS.