As TikTok has gained in popularity, so too have the many young, aspiring artists on the platform. And while plenty have gone on to achieve their dreams in music and beyond, it’s not always as straightforward as it seems. It was only the other day, for example, that we told you about Fousheé‏ – a singer whose song “Deep End” went uncredited for months on the app. And today, we bring you the story of Nessa Barrett – an artist who recently had the (un)fortunate privilege of being both built and broken by TikTok.



Despite amassing over 10 million followers on TikTok alone, Nessa Barrett is no stranger to online haters. Following the release of her debut single “Pain,” Nessa quickly found her social media flooded with messages from fans of Madison Beer, accusing her of stealing from the YouTube star’s song “Selfish.” The comparisons weren’t entirely baseless – both tracks feature big, belty vocals and sweeping productions, while the videos share an almost painfully similar rainy aesthetic.



But while there are some clear parallels, to accuse Nessa of thieving from Madison is to deny the talent of both individuals. At just 17 years old, Barrett presents herself as an artist of great emotional depth on “Pain.” Written during a particularly fragile period, when she was dealing with a mixture of heartache and online bullying, “Pain” is a candid, heartrending piano ballad, with Nessa’s shattered vocals taking on an extra sense of gravitas in the wake of the Madison Beer drama.

“I wrote it during a really vulnerable time,” says Barrett of “Pain,” which she penned alongside Leo Mellace and Nate Cyphert after moving to Los Angeles from Absecon. “I was dealing with a lot, like heartbreak, hate on social media, loss of friendships. I wanted to express how I was feeling with my song, because a lot of people can’t really see how I truly feel through a 15-second TikTok video.”

While we appreciate the frustrations of certain fan bases, We Are: The Guard will always encourage our readers to lead with love, not hate. Plus, why limit yourself to supporting only one artist, when you can have the best of both worlds? Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be over here crying in the rain to a playlist consisting exclusively of Madison Beer’s “Selfish” and Nessa Barrett’s “Pain.”

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Jess Grant is a frustrated writer hailing from London, England. When she isn't tasked with disentangling her thoughts from her brain and putting them on paper, Jess can generally be found listening to The Beatles, or cooking vegetarian food.