Emily Roberts sets an example for the #FreeBritney movement with her song “Britney 2007”. In the interview, the singer-songwriter explains what she thinks of Britney Spears’ guardianship.
The dispute over the guardianship of Britney Spears (39) never ends. The #FreeBritney movement is also gaining momentum, big stars like Christina Aguilera (30), Mariah Carey (51) and Justin Timberlake (40) are calling for freedom for Britney Spears. Even in Germany, fans support the pop star, including the singer-songwriter Emily Roberts (28) from Berlin. With her new song “Britney 2007” she sets an example for the #FreeBritney movement. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, Roberts tells what she thinks of guardianship and what she wants for the future of the pop star.
Britney Spears is a childhood idol to you. What do you love about her so much?
Emily Roberts: She’s definitely a childhood idol! I’ve always watched with big eyes what a crazy stage show Britney Spears put on. She was just a classic pop star who smiled at me from magazine covers. She has always inspired me.
In your single you remember 2007 when Britney Spears shaved off her hair, among other things. Today the year is considered to be her biggest crash. But what inspired you about the situation?
Roberts: Some see it as a crash, for me a completely understandable reaction these days, if you look at what the then 26-year-old had already experienced at that time. As a classic child star, her career in the Spotlight even started before the Mickey Mouse Club. In 2007 she had already released five albums, was in a very public war of roses over her divorce and had two young children. Paparazzi followed her every step of the way. Who else should keep a cool head?
Big stars like Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake have expressed their support. Why is it so important to you to make a statement with your song as well?
Roberts: I started writing this song over a year ago and, to be honest, I wasn’t very aware of what was going on with Britney right now. At that time I was stressed and annoyed, had the feeling that a lot of people want to tell me who I should be instead of letting me be. Then I thought of Britney Spears, who in 2007 just stopped trying after years in the spotlight, after decades in which she could never please everyone. Zack, hair off. No longer correspond to the classic ideal of beauty. I liked your kind of rebellion.
It was only after I started the song and wrote it from my own perspective that I got a deeper insight into the #FreeBritney movement. Shocked and angry about this injustice, I finished writing the song. The last part before the chorus is dedicated to Britney: “I’m not a puppet on a string hanging from a stronger hand”. (German: “I’m not a puppet on a string that hangs from a stronger hand”, editor’s note.)
One thing that successful women are often blamed for is just being a puppet. Especially in the documentary “Framing Britney Spears” it becomes clear how much she determined her own art, conceived her stage shows and even selected the dancers herself. It is sexist to deny a woman these competencies. I hear such accusations all the time, even in 2021 and I’m fed up with it. Even if Helene Fischer does not write all the songs herself, she is the driving force that draws millions of people into arenas and entertains them deliciously every evening.
What does freedom mean to you?
Roberts: For me as a solo artist in particular, freedom is a priceless commodity. My self-determination and my creative freedom are an essential part of my identity. I’ve never been the type of person who likes to be dictated to. This makes me so grateful to be able to be a musician and to be able to decide freely every day what I do and what I want to work on.
What is your opinion on guardianship?
Roberts: In Britney’s case, I think guardianship is more of a business model than protection, I find it absurd and frankly sexist. If someone like Britney is able to make millions and provide herself and dozens of others with her brand and company, then it is totally unfair that she is not given the right to make any decisions for herself.
When someone is able to work to the extent that Britney has done for the past decade, they are perfectly able to run their own business. If she’s really not doing well, she shouldn’t be expected to perform for other people or make that kind of money. At this point it is clear that it is only being used.
How did you react to Britney Spears’ testimony in court?
Roberts: I was so excited to see what would happen in court. After such a long period of silent observation and guardianship that Britney left uncommented so far, fans didn’t know what she was going to testify in court that day. You could already imagine that it would be intense, but what she then told everything was just shocking and made me incredibly sad. The ways in which her personal freedom has been stolen are inhuman. Denying an adult woman the right to have a new child cannot be justified.
Did you learn anything from Britney Spears for your own life and career?
Roberts: Your own team, the people who are closest to you are the most important good you have. It is often not easy to recognize who really has the best interests, as the entertainment industry is full of profit-hungry people. I’m very lucky to have a great team around me that also makes sure that I take breaks when everything gets too much. You protect my private life and respect me as an artist.
What do you wish for the future of Britney Spears?
Roberts: I wish for Britney Spears that she can do what she wants. Just like any other person. If she wants to have a child and marry again, then she should be allowed to do so. If she wants to get back on stage, then she should be allowed to do that too, but if she wanted to end her career entirely, that would be okay too. Britney Spears gave us music and moments that are immortal. She doesn’t owe anyone anything.
Her song “In This Together” was the title song of the show “I’m a Star – Get Me Out of Here!” In 2020. How did that happen? Are you a jungle camp fan?
Roberts: My label Sony Music called me one day and told me that my song had the chance to be the theme song from the jungle camp. I couldn’t believe it at first. I mean, the show has six million viewers every night. When it actually worked, I was exhausted and knew: This is where the largest part of my career up to that point is going to start. When I was younger, I and my family would watch every season in front of the TV at home. It was always as disgusting as it was entertaining, but that’s what defines the whole show.
What else do you have planned for the current year?
Roberts: A lot is going to happen for me this year. My album is out on September 3rd and I’m really excited. I love the record so much and am happy to finally share the songs with the world. Before that there will be at least two singles and I’ll be playing gigs again. Finally. I really missed that!