In the past year and a half, with limited live shows and appearances, artists have found a new way to get their music out there: TikTok. Few new artists have harnessed the power of the video platform the way Tai Verdes has. With each new track, he finds more and more success through the platform, his songs making the rounds in viral videos with the latest being “A-O-K.”
IndustryMe had the opportunity to chat with Tai about his music, his inspirations, and his advice for others trying to make their music known.
You recently collaborated with 24kG for a reimagining of “A-O-K,” which was already a fan favourite from your album. How’d that collab come about?
He hit me up on Instagram in my DMs and just told me he really fucked with what I was doing. Then, a couple of weeks later, his team said he was interested in a collab. Once he got into the studio, we hit it off immediately and have kept working together since. When someone is a friend and is super talented, usually you make dope shit together.
You’re no stranger to being a part of the TikTok phenomenon. Like your previous singles, “A-O-K” has been used in quite a few videos on the platform. How does that feel?
It’s crazy how creative people are. Sometimes I just scroll through and see how many different ways people are using my song and incorporating it into their life/content/and just fun times with their friends and family. That’s a special thing to be a part of.
The pandemic forced artists to get creative in promoting themselves and their music, with TikTok being one major way to do that. Do you have any advice for other artists on how to use it to get their music out there?
Nobody really wants to be shown new music. If someone random I didn’t know at all came up to me today and asked me to listen to a mixtape, I’d throw it away. I think figuring out how to tell your story in whatever unique way you want to market yourself is super important. Whatever your story is – tell it. Don’t just settle with making the music.
When picking a single, whether it’s “A-O-K” or “Drugs,” do you now find yourself thinking about whether or not it’s a track that could go viral on TikTok?
Nope. I make music for myself. Then, once it’s done, I figure out a way to market it to other people.
Back in August, you made your late-night debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live. What was that experience like?
It’s weird seeing the behind the scenes of something I’ve watched my entire life. It was dope. I can’t wait to keep going and trying new things every day.
How would you compare performing on a show like that to performing on tour?
I do the same thing. Do my best to pass out on stage. If I don’t feel like passing out at least once when I’m up there, I’m doing it wrong.
Who are your musical inspirations or influences?
I love Kanye, Chance, and Kid Cudi, but I really listen to everything from classical music to musicals to whatever.
Were your plans always to be in the music industry? Did you ever see yourself doing something else?
I really thought I was going to be in the NBA first. I played with Donovan Mitchell in high school and some other NBA players too. I definitely wasn’t good enough. Then, I moved to LA and tried everything that interested me. Acting, modeling, podcasting, stand-up, social media marketing, etc. In the end, I went back to what I did as a kid, which was music. I had played 13 years of piano growing up, four years of uke, and three years of guitar. I would stay up super late to play songs I liked on the radio, and, in 2020, I decided to sing every day for an hour and a half and really dive right into being an artist and producer.
If you could collaborate with anyone for a song, who would it be?
I’d rather become friends with other artists first. I think that’s how the best shit gets made. *cough*Hopefully Billie Eilish wants to be friends*cough*
What can we expect from you in 2021 and beyond?
Dope ass shit.