From TikTok to top of the charts – it’s no mean feat breaking through in today’s crowded music industry, but right now this young singer-songwriter is doing just that.
A year after its release, his moody hip-pop song went viral on short-form mobile video platform TikTok. Falling, which to date has garnered hundreds of millions of streams, has propelled the Houston native artist to a global audience almost overnight. We sat down with Trevor Daniel and asked how he feels about the unbridled success he has had with his hit.
indieBerlin: How does it feel to see your own song being number one in the world?
Trevor: Weird. It’s super weird ‘cause I wasn’t paying attention to it and then people started using it on TikTok. I remember my friend came over and she told me, “Hey your song is blowing up on TikTok!”. I downloaded (the app) again and it [the song Falling] was in every five videos, and I was like ‘holy shit’. Now I am on it [TikTok] all the time again!
iB: Now that you have much more attention drawn to your music, do you feel more pressure or feel like changing your sound?
Trevor: No, it’s easier now for some reason. I think the pressure was (about) getting people to hear it, for me at least. ‘Cause making the music is easy to me – that’s all I like to do anyway you know, that’s the easy part. The hard part was just getting the attention – and luckily that just happened, it just worked! I don’t really feel any pressure, it’s easier now.
iB: For how long have you been producing and writing music?
Trevor: I guess I got started officially in 2010, but I’ve always made music throughout my life, I played drums growing up for example. It’s been ten years now – I wasn’t good when I first started though!
iB: You talked about your song blowing up on TikTok, how do you feel about social media being the new trendsetter for music?
Trevor: It’s sick! I mean, we know it’s just people gravitating towards it and using it. Like that thing with TikTok happened super randomly, I didn’t even really think about it, like I didn’t have a push or anything and then my friend just told me, “Dude, look at TikTok”. I mean, shout out to TikTok! (laughs).
iB: Your sound is very specific, combining hip hop and pop, kind of reminiscent of Post Malone in his early career, how did you come up with it?
Trevor: It’s just stuff that I grew up listening to. I listened to a lot of Hip-Hop, punk music and trance stuff. So, I think it’s a mixture of all of that.
iB: Do you have any specific bands or music, that your parents listened to for example, that really inspired you?
Trevor: Yeah, I was talking about this yesterday with a friend. So, there is this trance CD I found at my parent’s room. DJ Icey Essential Mix is what it’s called, and it just had all these trance songs and like the melodies in it that I think really inspired me. And I listened to a lot of random stuff growing up, all kind of different genres.
I just want to keep going with it. That’s pretty much my goal, just to keep going and keep making music.
iB: Your song was already number one in the world; do you have another precise goal that you absolutely want to achieve?
Trevor: I want to do it again. Multiple times. Now I’m just keeping it going and following up. Showing people, I can make music – it’s not just one song that I got lucky with. But I don’t think people feel that way – I’m sure some people on the Internet do, but you know...
I just want to do it again, it’s fun to hear how people know the lyrics, and like there is this video I got tagged in: there was a bunch of kids, probably like 150, and they were all singing it [the song Falling] and doing this dance thing to it. I guess their teacher taught them, and it was just cool to see it.
It’s fun like going to shows, and everybody knowing the words and singing together. Yeah, and then I want to win a Grammy. I just want to keep going with it. That’s pretty much my goal, just to keep going and keep making music.
iB: If you could collaborate with anyone in music, who would it be?
Trevor: Right now? It changes all the time, it depends on what time of the day it is, like how I am feeling. Right now, probably Dua Lipa!
iB: Lastly, what is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given as a musician?
Trevor: Not overthinking. Overthinking is the worst. Ever since I’ve gotten better at not overthinking things, things have just happened naturally. I am not trying to control everything, and it just feels better. Everything just falls into its place anyway, so if I am trying to control it and thinking about it too much, I am just driving myself crazy, so it’s kind of pointless. That’s definitely the most important lesson that I’ve learned. Sounds weird, but that’s it.
Ever since I’ve gotten better at not overthinking things, things have just happened naturally
Interview: Louise Naudot, Lotta Tolpo
A freelance journalist and photographer based in Berlin.