Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” centers around the iconic doll (Margot Robbie) trying to find her human owner in the real world in hopes that it will stop her from further malfunctioning. While Ken (Ryan Gosling) plays a big part in the film, his goal is much simpler: to get noticed by Barbie. After failing to do so several times, Ken sings his frustrations out in a ballad called “I’m Just Ken” during the film’s climax. The song is all about feeling like he’ll never be good enough for Barbie with lyrics like, “Doesn’t seem to matter what I do. I’m always number two.”
Since some actors don’t actually provide their own vocals in movies, you may have left the theater wondering whether Gosling actually sings in “Barbie.” Let’s dive into it.
Does Ryan Gosling Actually Sing in “Barbie”?
Yes, that’s really Gosling singing “I’m Just Ken” in the film. He’s even credited as one of the many artists on “Barbie: The Album,” alongside other major stars like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and Lizzo. While he’s primarily known as an actor, Gosling also has a lengthy background in music.
As a child, Gosling performed on “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club” during the 1990s alongside other stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake. After rising to fame with films like “The Notebook” and “Half Nelson,” Gosling began playing in the indie rock band Dead Man’s Bones with his friend Zach Shields. Apart from “Barbie,” Gosling also contributed his own vocals on the “Blue Valentine” and “La La Land.”
What Was the Inspiration Behind “I’m Just Ken”?
The soundtrack’s executive producer, Mark Ronson, opened up about creating the iconic track in a July 11 interview with Vanity Fair. The star said he first got the idea for the song after failing to buy a single Ken doll while shopping. “You cannot find a Ken doll for love nor money in any Toys ‘R’ Us, because nobody gives a shit about buying a Ken doll,” he said. After reading the “Barbie” script, Ronson immediately began penning a track for Ken about his unrequited love for Barbie. “I instantly had this idea for this lyric: ‘I’m just Ken. Anywhere else I’d be a 10.’ It just seemed funny. It felt a little bit emo, like, this poor guy. He’s so hot, but can’t get the time of day,” Ronson said.
While the lyrics are from Ken’s point of view, Ronson admitted he didn’t think Gosling would actually be the one to sing the track. So, when the actor personally volunteered to perform it in the film, Ronson was happily surprised. “He really got [that] it had to walk this line of not being funny or parody,” Ronson said about working with Gosling. “But obviously, the song is also kind of ridiculous at times. So he was really amazing, and when he really did start hitting the big notes, I was like, this dude is a vocal powerhouse!”
Videos of Ryan Gosling Singing
If you want to take a deep dive into Gosling’s musical performances, I’ve got you covered. Here are some of his best music moments over the years.
“You Always Hurt the One You Love” From “Blue Valentine”
“In The Room Where You Sleep” by Dead Man’s Bones
“A Lovely Night” From “La La Land”
“City of Stars” From “La La Land”
“I’m Just Ken” From “Barbie”
Catch Gosling as Ken in “Barbie” in theaters now