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Dove Cameron on Creative Freedom and Bringing Her Vision to Life With “Boyfriend”

The actress and musician is creating on her terms with the video for her recent single "Boyfriend"

Dove Cameron, photo by Kristen Jan Wong/Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    Artists might say it all the time, but when Dove Cameron released her song “Boyfriend,” she really didn’t expect it to go viral — really. “When [it] started blowing up, my brain broke in half,” she recalls. “I was kind of panicked — this wasn’t supposed to happen!”

    The track has now been streamed over 100 million times on Spotify, and the audio has been used a casual half a million more times in TikTok videos. It was a shock to the system for Cameron. While the Emmy winner has built her career through musically-tinged projects (from Disney Channel to Hairspray Live! on NBC to Apple TV’s Schmigadoon!), “Boyfriend,” and the current era in which exists, is a time in which she’s had more creative control than ever before.

    It’s liberating, and it’s also enormous. “It feels like a small town mom-and-pop shop, and suddenly someone was like, ‘Conglomerate?'” she says.

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    “Boyfriend” is catchy, steamy, and sensuous — anyone on TikTok that thinks they haven’t come across it by now would probably be wrong, thanks to pervasive remixes and creative uses for the track. The hook, “I could be a better boyfriend than him,” is delivered to a woman, by Cameron, who identifies as queer herself. For her, the song is more than the bop it exists as upon a quick listen.

    “It’s emotional to have a queer song infiltrate the general public and also be on top 40 radio,” she says. (The day she sat down with Consequence, specifically, the track was at #13 on Spotify’s Global chart.) “Growing up queer, I never saw this happening… there were no songs for me to look at and be like, ‘That applies to me.'”

    Today, March 31st, Cameron finally shares the highly anticipated music video for the song. She calls it a little grimy, specifying that she pulled inspiration from many of her favorite movies (look out for a reference or two to The Matrix), while intentionally navigating away from the male gaze.

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    Overall, it was a more emotional project than some might expect, but there’s no doubt after a warm conversation with Cameron, deliberate and thoughtful with her words, that there was intention ingrained into every step of the process.

    “The reason you want something to work is to then grant yourself the creative freedom to find yourself in the rooms where you can be the person calling the shots,” she explains, recalling a recent conversation with her mother in which she found herself in tears. “I think as a creative, your dreams are to get to see your visions come to life, and you get to be the one who gets to really fledge them out.”

    Watch the full video interview with Dove Cameron above, and check out the music video for “Boyfriend” below.

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