Warning: Spoilers ahead for Netflix’s „Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.“
„It was my first time singing on camera, which was really scary,“ Purser told INSIDER. „I don’t know why, but I take my singing voice a lot more personally than I do my acting.“
Purser’s character Sierra writes the song after her crush Jamey finds out she had been pretending to be another girl, Veronica, during their entire courtship. In one night, she’s outed as catfisher to Jamey and sabotoges her friendship with Veronica by hacking her Instagram account.
These dramas were all brought upon Sierra by her own mistakes, and the song „Sunflower“ is essentially her mea culpa.
Much like Sierra’s fears about singing for her genius-writer father, Purser felt the pressure when it came to recording the song.
„If somebody doesn’t like the way that you sing, it’s sort of like a rejection of me as as person, which is a bit dramatic, but yeah, I was very nervous about sounding good,“ Purser said. „I was working with these really incredibly talented people who have been in this business for a while, but luckily everybody was so supportive.“
Earlier in the movie, Sierra’s dad tells her that letting someone read your writing for the first time is a very scary and intimate moment. This comes full circle when Sierra decides to show her father how passionate she is about singing (instead of writing, like him).
„I think it is a very horrible moment for here where she’s addressing these insecurities that she’s pushed down or tried to ignore,“ Purser said. „I think a lot of us have moments like that where we have to open up about things that are difficult for us.“
„Sunflower“ also operates as a message to Jamey — the boy Sierra had catfished. When she describes herself as a sunflower, and says „if I was a rose, maybe you’d pick me,“ it’s a callback to their conversation where Jamey (thinking Sierra was Veronica) describes her as a rose.
The song was co-written by rising pop star Troye Sivan, whose singles „My, My, My“ and „Bloom“ have dominated music charts in 2018.
„We talked very briefly over FaceTime when I was recording [the song],“ Purser said. „That was cool. He just seemed super excited about the project — we were so lucky to have him on board.“
The other writing credits for „Sunflower“ include Brett McLaughlin, Bram Inscore, Lindsey Beer, and Allie X.
You can listen to Purser’s movie-version of „Sunflower“ here. For more on Purser’s role and experience filming the rom-com alongside star Noah Centineo, read INSIDER’s full interview here.
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Source: Business insider