Speaking to a lot of artists about TikTok, it seems like there are some misconceptions. A lot of people think, “Oh, I need to make dance videos or pay influencers to go viral.” Looking through your page, it seems like a lot of what you do is just talking to fans.
Hell yeah. If you need to pay influencers to make a video to your song, that’s basically saying that you yourself could not make a viral video on TikTok. Anyone can have a viral video on TikTok. People with zero followers and people with a million followers can have viral videos. That’s the whole point of TikTok. That’s how people get big on it, because anyone can see your video. If you need to pay these influencers to do it, it’s basically just saying, “Damn. I cannot make cool enough content. I can’t be myself with people enough to where they will actually want to fuck with my music.” It’s definitely a misconception.
It’s funny because with one of my older songs, “Live How I Want”—this just probably four months ago—I didn’t really have any followers. So I actually paid five people on TikTok, pretty big creators, to use the song. That song didn’t really do anything, didn’t go anywhere.
Fast-forward two or three months after that, I posted a video of me singing a chorus to my song “Demons and Monsters” and that video went instantly viral. Right after that, I posted a video of me talking to some of my fans with the song in the back and that video went viral too.
So yeah, you can pay these people to blow up your song, but then you just have a song that’s popping—maybe, if it does well—and then that’s it. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want just the song. I wanted to be more than that. I didn’t really care if “Dancing in My Room” or “Demons and Monster” blew up. I just wanted to be a lot bigger as a person and help people as an artist. If you have one song or maybe five songs going crazy, and it’s just the songs, that’s dope, and maybe you can help a lot of people with the music, but I wanted to help people as a person.
To do that I needed to really blow my person up and who I am as an artist. I think that’s what most artists should try to do, because again, any song can blow up today with apps like TikTok. It’s so easy to blow up a song these days, but if you want to have longevity in music, you really need to get people to like you as an artist.
True, we’ve seen so many artists that just have one huge song that goes viral and then three months later, nobody cares.
Yeah. Instead of selling your music to people, you need to sell you as a person and give them a taste of who you are so that they actually get excited for what’s coming next and not just about what’s out now.
From watching you on TikTok, it seems like you’re really comfortable being yourself. Did you ever struggle to try to be something you weren’t?
Slightly. When I was in grade eight or grade nine, I would buy really expensive clothes that I didn’t like, just to portray the vision that I had money or that I was cool or something like that, but that was only a thing for a couple months. I got over that super quick when I realized that I just didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought. And then I just started wearing what I wanted. I think everyone in some part of their life had a time where they were trying to impress other people by not being themselves. I definitely went through that, but it made me a lot more comfortable with who I am and made me a lot more comfortable with not only being myself on the internet, but also being myself in person.
A lot of your music sounds DIY, but are you starting to enjoy getting into studios and working with other people now? I saw you were in the studio with Kenny Beats.
That was two days ago. It was awesome. Yeah so I’m currently staying with John Cunningham, and we made some cool stuff. The other day I had this session with Kenny Beats because my co-manager is friends with his day-to-day or manager or something like that. So Kenny ended up really fucking with my music and he wanted to hang out. We hung out and then within 20 minutes of being there we had already made two songs. We both work super, super fast.
I don’t think it matters necessarily if it’s a bedroom or studio, it’s just who’s in that studio. If you’re in a studio with someone who really understands the vibe and you work in a similar pattern, it almost feels like you’re still in the bedroom. I don’t think I’m ever going to start doing sessions every day at random studios, but definitely if there’s someone that I really can connect with or feel alive with, then sure. I’ll go hang out at their home studio or wherever they are.
Your music is raw and not fully polished or overproduced. Is that something you want to keep, even when you are in studios and working with people like Kenny Beats?
Yeah. I’ve actually never edited a song or had anyone edit my songs. So I don’t really know how a song’s done when they’re edited. When I got to Kenny’s house, I remember I took one vocal take and there was Auto-Tune on it, and I stepped out of the booth and I was like, “Take that shit off.” He was like, “OK bro, I got you.” So we just recorded it, raw vocals, and I’m definitely going to keep that sound for now. Eventually if I drop an album, I’m going to have a couple of songs in there that are polished and edited, but for the meantime, definitely going to keep my raw sound.
Like a lot of young artists, you don’t really fit into a genre, but listening back to some of your old music and then some of your music now, it seems like you’re getting a little more melodic and there’s not as much straightforward rap. Do you think that’s something that you’re going to stick with or do you always like to go back and forth and do whatever you feel?
I think my favorite type music is that melodic stuff, but I also really love straightforward rap, so I don’t really know. I think I’ll definitely be dropping a lot more of the melodic stuff, but again, if I dropped an album, I’d be shocked if there weren’t a couple rap songs on there.
Seeing a song like “Demons and Monsters” or “Dancing in My Room” connect with so many people, does it make you want to do more songs like that or does that positive reception not really come into play?
No. I don’t really care about any of that stuff, because like I said, any song today can blow up and if I can make “Demons and Monsters” blow up and “Dancing in My Room” blow up, which are totally polar opposite, I can drop something completely different and make it blow up too. When I see a song like “Dancing in My Room” go crazy like it is, the only thing I take from that is that I want to drop something that’s completely opposite and make it go even more viral.