If you downloaded Tik Tok during quarantine, you aren’t alone. According to Oberlo, “TikTok has 800 million active users worldwide.” Among those 800 million active users are dancers, artists, comedians and many other creators.
One creator in particular has seen how Tik Tok can impact a music career.
Emily Deahl is a pop singer from South Carolina currently making a name for herself in Nashville. She used some unconventional methods to promote her most recent single, “My Baby Hates Me,” and documented her adventures on Tik Tok.
“The craziest thing I’ve done so far is call my ex. I cannot believe I did that,” Deahl said. “The funny thing is he wasn’t actually ever even my ex, he didn’t want to date me which is kind of what the song is about. But he was very nice when I called him which I wasn’t expecting.”
Some of Deahl’s other over the top promotional strategies included calling random numbers and asking people to listen to her song, dancing to her song in restaurants and even playing it over the loudspeaker at the grocery store chain, Publix.
“There have been a lot of moments over the last month that have got my heart racing. Definitely a lot of nerve-wracking things that you have to just boldly, confidently go out and do,” said Deahl.
For the most part, the people of Nashville react to her positively. “Nashville is very friendly to musicians. We’re in the right town,” she said.
Deahl currently has 139.5 thousand followers on Tik Tok, a platform she said completely changed her career. She started out making parody songs and quickly realized the power of the app. After a few of her videos blew up, she learned how the app’s algorithm worked and began to see her Spotify numbers go up.
She had the idea to promote “My Baby Hates Me,” in such outrageous ways because those around her thought her goals were outrageous. “I wanted to be on the Top 100 on iTunes and everyone was telling me, ‘that’s kind of far fetched, you know you’re not really there yet.’”
Tik Tok users loved the outrageous content. She now has people noticing her on the street and recognizing her from Tik Tok. “There’s so much excitement now around my next release which I’ve just never experienced before,” Deahl said. “I’ve never had excitement around my music the way that I have now.”
The promotion of “My Baby Hates,” which had a music video released on Aug 28, was not Deahl’s first time going viral on Tik Tok. The behind-the-scenes footage of her recording the music video for her song “Ohs,” gained attention for it’s out-of-the-box production style.
What made the video so special? It was shot backward, on an iPhone on a busy street in Nashville. Deahl said she got the idea for the music video after watching a video of herself dancing in reverse. Deahl does all of her videos on her own because she wants a music video for every single one of her songs. Not only did Deahl record the video on her iPhone, but she also choreographed the dance backward, learned the lyrics of her song backward and timed out the cycle of the traffic lights on the street. After watching the first draft of the video, Deahl said she knew she had something special.
Before moving to Nashville, Deahl had gained some experience in the entertainment industry. At the age of 17, she moved to LA to pursue dance. Realizing she would never be satisfied with a career of dance alone, she got connected with a voice teacher who taught her all of the fundamentals of singing. Once she realized that she wanted to make her own music, she began to work on her identity as an artist. She said she has been on a journey the past 10 years to figure out who she is as an artist, and she finally feels like for the first time, she is figuring that out.
As far as her sound goes, Deahl would describe it as a little bit of minimal bedroom pop mixed with a mainstream yet vintage vibe. Her background in theater really shines in her theatrical yet minimalistic production style.
“I’m always trying to tell a story, and I think that story is always told through movement, through words, through song, through video; it’s just kind of the whole package for me,” said Deahl.
Deahl’s style has not always been so defined; her sound has evolved a lot. While living in LA, her sound was strictly pop. She then had the opportunity to go on tour where she became a pop star in China. However, that didn’t fulfil her, so she moved to Charleston, South Carolina where she worked on a singer-songwriter sound. From there, her sound evolved into what it is now. Deahl said, “At the end of the day, it’s just fun pop music.”
When she first started out, she measured her success against the successes of others.
“I’m not successful until after I play the Super Bowl. I’m not successful until I play Madison Square Garden. There are these very comparative goals I set for myself that sort of killed all the joy in my life, because you’re never going to ever be happy if those are the goals you set for your success.”
One of Deahl’s immediate goals is to release an album in 2021. She hopes to use her platform to bring some good into the world and share her knowledge with other hungry artists like herself.
“You can start creating. You can start putting yourself out there.”
She said she redefines success everyday.
Deahl said she wants to use her platform for good by spreading kindness, spreading love, fighting for things she believes in and never losing sight of that. For more Emily Deahl, check out her Instagram, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook and of course, Tik Tok.
Edited by Zoë Skvarka