Lauren Muir didn’t set out to be a YouTube star.
When the Cary High School sophomore filmed her take on Adele’s wildly popular “Hello,” subbing the original lyrics about love and loss with new ones about the woes of exams and sleep deprivation, she hoped her musically inclined friends, and maybe her school administrators, would enjoy it.
But as the YouTube hits and retweets started climbing Wednesday, less than two days after she posted it, Muir started contemplating how unusual Internet fame can be.
“I didn’t think this many people would watch, who I didn’t know,” said Muir, 15, Wednesday afternoon. “It’s hard to tell if I’m embarrassed, or if I have pride. It’s weird to think about.”
The song and accompanying video, “Hello From Cary High,” by “Distressed Student No. 4” was written and directed by Muir with her father, Steve, doing the camera work.
In the video, Lauren Muir sticks with the same mood that Adele evokes in her record-setting video: sepia tones with scenes of angst and contemplation. She incorporates similar details, too, from the fur-trimmed jacket and heavy eyelashes to the appearance of a flip phone, a novelty that generated plenty of chatter when Adele debuted her video in the fall.
But, Muir said, she didn’t want it to be a shot-for-shot recreation.
“I wanted to put my own twist on it,” she said. “It’s meaningful, even though the lyrics prove it’s not as meaningful as you might think.”
Muir, a longtime Cary resident, has been singing since she was a toddler. She’s in choral groups and is a member of Cary High’s acapella group, Green Eggs and Jam. She’s written songs before, but never filmed a music video like this.
She recently was talking to her mother, Michelle, about how she wanted to sing “Hello” at the “Cary’s Got Talent” talent show at her school this spring, but worried it would be overplayed by then. Her mother suggested she put her own spin on the lyrics.
Within days, she had her song. She drew particular inspiration New Year’s Day when she woke up early and was still feeling groggy from the previous night. Adele’s “Hello from the other side” becomes “Hello from Cary High” and “Hello from sleep deprived.”
She sang the song in the early hours of Saturday and came up with a shot list to give her father, who does marketing at SAS Institute in Cary. On Sunday morning, they filmed scenes in front of her high school and the town’s water tower, along with glances of Muir fretting over notes at the dining room table.
She posted it Monday night. The video took off as administrators and Wake County Public Schools tweeted out a link to coincide with exam week.
“The more times I watch it, the more times I critique myself,” she said. “I try to cut myself some slack.”
Muir loves music and performing but hasn’t decided yet if being a musician is a practical career option. The video project has shown her that she might consider film production.
For now, she dreams of Adele, a musician she admires, watching the video.
“That would be the coolest thing that could happen,” she said. “She inspired it. I wouldn’t have had this many people see it, knowing about Cary High School.”
Banov: 919-460-2605; @JessicaBanov