Unsigned British Singer Emma Blackery in 'Complete Shock' After Apple iPhone X Presentation Uses 'Magnetised' Single Artwork

Emma Blackery, 2017
Ian Collins

Emma Blackery

Tuesday evening (Sept. 12)  was like any other for unsigned British pop singer Emma Blackery: snuggle in and watch the latest episode of Rick & Morty and -- oh yeah, become an instant international thing thanks to Apple using one of her songs at its product reveal event in Cupertino, California. 

Blackery -- whose YouTube channel has amassed more than 1.4 million subscribers over the past five years -- had no idea that the artwork from her song "Magnetised" would be used in the demo for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X alongside the image from Lorde's "Green Light," as well as ones for singles by Daye Jack and Sofi Tukker. 

"It's been a weird 24 hours," the 25 year-old Basildon, England, native tells Billboard about the rush of attention she's received since the surprise Apple nod. "My friend Hannah, who I've known for quite a while, texted me with a screenshot saying 'Apple Keynote?' It was a picture of [Apple Senior VP] Eddie Cue with my artwork in the background. I jumped up and down and freaked out." As she should have. 

After playing in local bands since she turned 18, the singer went solo in 2012 and started uploading original tunes to her YouTube channel, along with comedy skits and other ephemera that have landed her plenty of followers, but not nearly the level of attention she got instantly on Tuesday. Blackery says she was given no heads up that Apple would be using her artwork in that way, even though the company had employed it before in previous marketing campaigns. "It was a real weird moment," she says. "We were definitely not asked or told it was going to happen. It was such a complete shock." 

Blackery's initial breathless tweetstorm about the news says it all:

Also, Paris Hilton started following her, so that's pretty cool.

And she's open to any offers.

Manager Mark Walker says he knew Apple was going to use the Magnetised EP art for in-store displays and had seen screenshots from fans, but the keynote placement could not have come at a better time for his client. "She's had a fantastic year... she toured last year and sold out 800 tickets in London, then released the EP in May, did a 2,000 cap in Shepherd's Bush Empire and is playing a show at Wembley Arena next month," he says. 

In the wake of the Apple keynote, he says things have "exploded" in the past 24 hours, with an Evening Standard profile, a Radio 1 Newsbeat interview with Blackbery that has been in rotation all day Wednesday (Sept. 13), as well as request for an interview from TMZ and a sudden rush of meetings next week with labels he's spoken to in the past who and who suddently have a renewed interest. The timing is especially right for Blackery, considering her non-fiction advice book for teens, Feel Good 101, just came out last week in the UK and is expected to crash the Sunday Times best seller chart this weekend. 

Blackery says she's been building to this point since her early teens, when she realized that music was all she ever wanted to do with her life. After teaching herself guitar in her bedroom, Blackery issued her debut EP, Human Behaviour, in 2012, followed by a string of follow-up short players that showcased her punky pop sound: Distance (2013), Perfect (2013) and Sucks to be You (2015). She hit the road with reunited pop-punk band Busted in 2015, then pulled together the six songs that make up the acoustic pop-leaning Magnetised, which dropped in May.

Feeling "very tossed into it" by the burst of attention, professional wrestling fan Blackery says it's been exciting to see her idol Hilton and WWE star wrestler Titus O'Neil follow her on Twitter, along with a ton of other new and long-time fans who've been offering congratulations and promising to check out her music. "Right now  my priority is making the music as good as it can be and making myself as proud of my music as possible," she says of plans to begin work next week on her debut full-length album with a variety of producers who Walker says he's not yet ready to reveal. "If that entails having a label or a larger budget to recording something great, so be it. That's what matters to me, the music." 


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