Dove Cameron’s ‘boyfriend’ has the former Disney star riding high
Sometimes I feel like I’m missing a pop culture chip because I never had the Disney channel growing up. Once, many years ago, I interviewed for a pretty big job at a major pop music website. I wanted this job so badly that for the edit test I 100% researched and simulated a lifetime of knowledge about Demi Lovato, whom I had never seen on camp rock or sonny with a chancejust like I had never seen Miley Cyrus on Hannah Montana or Selena Gomez on The Wizards of Waverly Place. (I ended up getting the job, so my 24-hour crash course finally paid off.) All that to say, I still feel overwhelmed whenever I go to chat about a Disney or from an old Disney. star crossing over into mainstream conversation, simply due to the background story i grew up not having.
On that note, let’s talk about Dove Cameron! If you’re like me and are desperately in the know about all things Disney Channel, then 26-year-old Cameron might be a newer name on your radar. Right now, Cameron is exploding via a song called “Boyfriend”, which just reached number 1 on BillboardEmerging Artists Chart. “Boyfriend” also sits at No. 34 on the Hot 100 after peaking last week at No. 31. It has nearly 7 million streams in the US and 1,500 downloads in its first week of tracking, according to Billboard and Luminate. Looking at Spotify, “Boyfriend” has over 180 million streams, and it also went viral on TikTok, where it was used in over 580,000 videos in the weeks following its release.
“Boyfriend” is a notable achievement on several levels: It’s an openly queer pop song by an openly queer pop artist, who tells a same-sex lover that she “could be a better boyfriend” than her current man via smoky, Billie Voice to the Eilish. “I think I’ll steal you from him,” the chorus continues. “I could be such a gentleman / Besides, all my clothes would fit.” The black music video for the song features Cameron seducing and making out with a beautiful woman in a club and phone booth, and it’s not pimping, male gaze, or homosexuality. . It’s all very authentic (while simultaneously transporting you to a fantasy dimension), and that’s probably the vibe that fans are picking up.
“Boyfriend,” in every way, is a mainstay of Disney content in the traditional sense. Historically, Disney stars are signed to Disney-owned Hollywood Records and release chaste, teen-pop records before eventually making the leap to more adult pop stardom. A clear diversion, however, is Olivia Rodrigo, who signed with Interscope Records and Geffen Records in 2020 and jumped straight ahead teeny-bopping on the debut album. Sour. Similarly, Cameron signed to Columbia’s Disruptor Records label in 2018.
So many things leading up to Cameron signing to Columbia were pretty Disney: From 2012, Cameron – who is from Bainbridge Island, Wash. – was cast in Disney Channel comedy Partswhich was later renamed Liv and Maddie. The plot of the show hybridizes Hannah Montana and The parent trap, with Cameron portraying identical twins where one is a successful Hollywood actress and the other is not. The show ran for four seasons starting in 2013.
That same year, Cameron released a cover of Imagine Dragons’ “On Top Of The World”, which became his first entry on the Billboard Kid Digital Songs chart, peaking at #17. Later in 2013, she released a song called “Better In Stereo” via Walt Disney Records, and it eventually became her first #1 hit on the Billboard Kid chart. Another number 1 children’s single, “Count Me In”, followed in 2014.
What’s interesting about this time is that while Cameron was filming the Disney machine, in 2015 she appeared in her first non-Disney role – a teen action comedy called barely deadly, which also starred Hailee Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba and Sophie Turner. (Side note: Who knew A24 was making teen movies? How amazing is that?) It was a pattern that would continue for years to come, with Cameron keeping one foot in the Disney world and the other in the Hollywood landscape. wider.
In the middle of his race Liv and MaddieCameron had a starring role in a major Disney Channel movie franchise called descent (not to be confused with the 2011 film George Clooney). She has also contributed songs to his soundtracks, which have consistently charted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart, including a debut album for 2015’s debut “Rotten To The Core” and “If Only” by this first descent The soundtrack peaked at #38 and #94 respectively on the Hot 100. Cameron also did a cover of Christina Aguilera‘s “Genie In A Bottle” for a related short titled Cruel world in 2016. descent — about the teenage years of famous Disney villains like Maleficent and Cruella de Vil — was so successful that it spawned sequels in 2017 and 2019 as well as a CGI animated short series.
In the mid-2010s, at the height of her Disney era, Cameron formed a band with then-boyfriend Ryan McCartan called The Girl And The Dreamcatcher, but they only released one EP. , that of 2016. negativesbefore separating.
Disney stuff aside, Cameron has popped up everywhere, appearing on NBC Hair spray live! (2016), a Hollywood Bowl production of Mama Mia! in 2017, the Netflix film Pellet (2017), and even played Cher Horowitz in a stage adaptation of clueless. In a Disney-adjacent move, Cameron had a recurring role on the fifth season of Agents of SHIELD and voiced Gwen Stacy in the animation Ultimate Spider-Man Vs. Sinister 6. She also voiced an Angry Bird and appeared in – oh, let’s see – Shameless, The mentalist, RuPaul’s Drag RaceAppleTV Schmidadon!and will play Bubbles in the next Powerpuff Girls Restarting the TV.
With so many screen credits, it was easy to lose track of the handful of songs Cameron has released since his two-song EP. Bloodshot / Waste in 2019. But suddenly, with the release of “Boyfriend,” she gained a foothold in the pop mainstream to go along with her well-established acting career.
Something Cameron said in a recent interview resonates with me, and I think it offers some insight into why she was successful, at least with “Boyfriend.” “… I was not creating [‘Boyfriend’] for someone else. It was me and my producer buddy Evan, very intimate, shoes off, you know. And so when I was like, ‘plus, all my clothes would fit me,’ we were just trying all these cheeky little lines and things that I was casually saying in conversation. I think the reason they seem so comical and almost like a little wink is because that’s the kind of conversation you have with your friends, right? They were never really meant to be heard by anyone, which is why it really changed my creative process. Things you write just to make yourself happy will eventually resonate with a larger group of people, which is the opposite of how most people, myself included, create.
It might sound too simple, but I think writing for yourself, instead of having an audience in mind, can act like a special sauce. At the very least, it means you’re sure of yourself, which really helps when confidence falls into the utter chaos that is pop stardom. Between his writing philosophy and the catchy, seductive “Boyfriend,” I think Cameron is onto something.