Viral 'Ellen' Star Sophia Grace Reinvents Herself in New Rap Video: 'I'm a Different Person Now'

Seven years after going viral on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Sophia Grace has come into her own as an emcee

Sophia Grace Brownlee first rose to fame for her pitch-perfect renditions of Nicki Minaj rhymes delivered on YouTube alongside her cousin, Rosie. Now, seven years after going viral on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Brownlee has come into her own as an emcee. With a new video for her song “Can’t Sleep” she’s determined to jettison her child star past.

To be sure, there isn’t a tiara to be seen in the new visuals, which begin with a spoken word introduction from the 15-year-old.

“People saying they want me to be the same as I was before,” she says in the voiceover. “It annoys me because I’m not that person anymore and they always ask me to go back to how I was, but I’m different and that’s not who I am. So I want to show people I’m a different person now and I’ve changed, but that’s okay because everyone changes.”

2012 Teen Choice Awards - Backstage & Audience
Sophia Grace Brownlee with Ellen DeGeneres in 2011. Kevin Mazur/TCA 2012/WireImage

Sophia Grace Brownlee with Ellen DeGeneres in 2011.

Her defiant declaration of independence continues throughout the track, with lines like, “I’ve been on a leash, now I’m taking control. I’ve been under pressure, but that’s just how it goes.”

Clad in a yellow puffer, stretchy athletic pants, sneakers and hoop earrings, she seems content to leave her tutu-wearing image in the dust. “They don’t really know me, standing on my own feet, don’t give a damn what you think.”

In April, Brownlee sat down with Benedict Cumberbatch to take on some of the biggest challenges facing teenagers. Cumberbatch had a hard topic to start off as he gave Brownlee advice on dealing with bullies.

“As hard as it may seem, you have to meet it with love,” he said. “You have to try and empathize with hate. Not hate yourself, but you have to understand why people often want to damage other people is because they’re damaged themselves. And if you could just turn that mirror around a little bit on them, then it might quell it slightly.”

The father of two sons — Christopher Carlton, 3½, and Hal Auden, 22 months, with a third child on the way — also had some powerful words for young boys on dating girls.

“Respect, just respect. Equality,” Cumberbatch said. “The central tenants of feminism: a place at the table and equality. Include and don’t exclude and learn what you can.”

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