'Descendants 3' Star Sarah Jeffery Feels 'So Grateful' For 'Queen of Mean' Hot 100 Debut

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Disney Channel/David Bukach
Sarah Jeffrey in Descendants 3.

When she was a child, Sarah Jeffery once auditioned for a local theater production with a performance of the Hot 100 High School Musical 2 hit “Fabulous.” Years later, Jeffery never imagined she’d have a chart-making hit of her own from a Disney Channel franchise.

Jeffery's “Queen of Mean,” from the Disney musical Descendants 3, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last week, bowing at No. 67 following the film's Aug. 2 premiere. Meanwhile, the music video continues to amass views on YouTube, currently clocking in at over 65 million -- currently more than the clip for Ariana Grande and Social House's "Boyfriend," which was released the same week.

“I didn't expect ['Queen of Mean'] to gain so much popularity so quickly," Jeffery tells Billboard. "You don't really know how people are going to react to it, if it's going to land, and it's just impossible to predict. But I'm so grateful that this thing that I worked really hard on and was so excited about is getting recognition."

Descendants 3 featured Jeffery's return to the popular franchise, which follows the children of classic Disney heroes and villains, after playing Princess Audrey --the daughter of Aurora and Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty -- in the 2015 original. "Queen of Mean" marks Audrey's transition from good to bad, as she seeks revenge after failing to secure her family's legacy as the next queen of Auradon, the fictional land where the Descendants franchise takes place.

"Queen of Mean" is also the actress and singer's first solo track of the franchise. "When I heard it for the first time, I got emotional," says Jeffery. "I was like, 'Wow, this is so beautiful,' and I'm genuinely so grateful and excited that a song like that was written for me."

Jeffery attributes the song's popularity to its subject matter: "I feel like people can relate to it because it's this song about never being seen and being forgotten about, and wanting to change that," she explains. Written by Adam Schmalhoz (Selena Gomez), Thomas Sturges (Nevermind), Tim James (Miley Cyrus, Zedd) and Antonina Armato (Jonas Brothers), "Queen of Mean" isn't the first Descendants song to make the Hot 100 chart. "Rotten to the Core," performed by the Descendants cast peaked at no. 38 in 2015. Additionally, all three soundtracks have also appeared within the top 10 on the Billboard 200.

While getting a song on the Hot 100 was never a specific aspiration of Jeffery's, the 23-year-old -- who played the daughter of Jennifer Lopez's character on Shades of Blue, and is now starring in The CW's reboot of Charmed -- admits the success of "Queen of Mean" is inspiring her to return to the studio.

"Music has always been something that I knew that I would eventually want to pursue," says Jeffery, who took up dance, singing and acting as childhood hobbies. "I've been really busy with things on the acting side, so [music] hit the backburner for a minute, but I feel like this is a perfect segue into doing my own music."

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