🎓class of 2020
top brews: TikTok musicians
You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥 internet culture served piping hot. This week: we serve up our top picks for the biggest rising stars of the year and how they secured their place in the hall of High Tea fame. Meet your class of 2020: music edition.
Drink up 🐸☕
On June 22nd, @mothicamusic – an unsigned musician with less than 50K TikTok followers – uploaded a 15 second video captioned: “listening to masters of my album…this one’s about getting addicted to anything”. Something about the authenticity of this unrehearsed, intimate moment captured the attention of TikTok’s finest, propelling it to instant hit. The video has since been viewed more than 5 million times. 👀
Leveraging her unexpected and newfound TikTok virality, Mothica rushed to release VICES, moving its date forward with no album artwork in sight – but a David Dobrik co-sign instead. The bet paid off. In its first four days, VICES hit 1 million plays on Spotify and had climbed to No.2 on the iTunes Pop Chart – she even made a shrine, in screenshot form, to immortalize the moment when her song overtook Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles. Two months later, after telling her growing TikTok fanbase that she was ploughing on without a label for the release of her debut album, Blue Hour, Mothica landed a #1. ICYMI: no PR budget, no label, just the power of TikTok. We’re all eyes on Mothica for what she’s got coming in 2021. Til then, stream Blue Hour for clear skin!
📈 TikTok followers: 432K
📸 Instagram followers: 78K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 869K
🎶 Known for: VICES [9M Spotify plays]
Who remembers TikTok circa the early days of quarantine? You know, that bizarre time when we were all making whipped iced coffee, getting drunk in our rooms and calling it a ‘Zoom BYOB’ and sweating our way through Chloe Ting workouts. It was a dark time. Except, for the bops brought to us by BENNE (Supalonely) and Fousheé (Deep End). But wait…who’s Fousheé? Great question.
“For the most part, TikTok went above and beyond in fighting for me to get my flowers.”
Deep End Freestyle went viral at the end of March and has since soundtracked 523K+ TikTok videos. The undeniable ear worm samples Fousheé on its hook but was originally uploaded to TikTok without crediting her. Yikes. We’re pleased to report that the TikTok community swiftly mobilized and got Fousheé (@kungfou) her overdue creds, for one of our favorite songs of the year.
📈 TikTok followers: 317K
📸 Instagram followers: 38K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 4.7M
🎶 Known for: Deep End Freestyle [105M Spotify plays]
3. Abigail Barlow
Listen, y’all know Abigail (@abigailbarloww). Not least because we wrote about her cataclysmic ascent to the TikTok hall of fame in 🦋 beats for dais(y) in August. Since the success of her single Heartbreak Hotel, which debuted at #44 in the #DigitalSongSales Billboard chart thanks to her loyal (and growing) TikTok following, Abigail has been sure to never leave a moment of her song-writing process undocumented. Now a pal of Meghan Trainor (if it hadn’t been for that meddling COVID-19 can you imagine what we could have been blessed with 🤯 ), she shares sneak peaks to her fans of their feedback in the comments, and actually *listens* to what they have to say.
“Sound familiar? i posted this song i wrote and tiktok loved it / i planned to release it on October 1st…But i heard u guys loud and clear about production / i had it reproduced because i wasn’t happy with how it sounded either / i want it to be perfect before i release it so im postponing the drop until mid October”
Is this ‘building in public’ at its finest? We think so, and it’s working wonders (peep Meghan T) 👇
📈 TikTok followers: 1.5M
📸 Instagram followers: 45K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 350K
🎶 Known for: Heartbreak Hotel [4.9M Spotify plays]
Love him or loathe him, Tiagz (@iamtiagz) is a force to be reckoned with on TikTok, as the name behind hits such as My Heart Went Oops (3.4M videos), They Call Me Tiago (3.1M videos) and Muffins In The Freezer (2.9M videos). Tiagz is a master at his craft when it comes to addressing trends on a platform known for tastemaking, and jumping on them fast with his trademark “tiagz” moniker – though half of TikTok is still convinced he’s actually saying “tits”.
The secret sauce to his success is an intricate knowledge of how the platform functions; what works, what doesn’t and how to harness the power of its community. Following on from the success of his first hit in October 2019 (a remix of Kylie Jenner’s Rise and Shine, what else?!), it was ‘My Heart Went Ooops’ – a remix of Doris Day’s 1951 hit – that cemented Tiagz in the TikTok zeitgeist. Of course, a lil dance at Dunkin’ Donuts from the platform’s biggest creator, Charli D’Amelio, was just the endorsement Tiagz needed.
"I'm going to make a trap song with it. I'm going to twist it, and it's going to be super cool. I called it 'My Heart Went Oops' because I knew that people when they were going to search for the sound were going to search 'my heart went oops.' It was a strategy so that people could find it."
Since then, Sony/ATV signed Tiagz to a worldwide co-publishing deal and CELINE Homme picked up ‘They Call Me Tiago’ for one hell of a makeover, soundtracking the launch to their SS21 collection. Despite the M to the B drama (as Brits, we don’t talk about it), we have to stan this creative powerhouse.
📈 TikTok followers: 2.3M
📸 Instagram followers: 47K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 2.5M
🎶 Known for: They Call Me Tiago [51.3M Spotify plays]
5. Avenue Beat
We can’t go any further without mentioning our beloved Avenue Beat (@avenuebeat), who you’ll remember we covered in 🎶 TikTok on the clock back in July. Since then, their certified bop (f2020, for those asking) has been used in over 160K videos and earned them over 9.5M views from their viral #f2020challenge. With Zs using the track to ‘expose their 2020s’, (some are an absolute trip fyi) the group successfully captured the zoomer zeitgeist, and as such are now an official quarantine staple.
📈 TikTok followers: 525.8K
📸 Instagram followers: 99.8K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 2M
🎶 Known for: F2020 [24.2M Spotify plays]
Name-dropped by Emma Chamberlain just last week (@ 31:50 fyi), Adelaide’s Peach (@peachprc) and her hyper-pop charged sound has been on our radar for a hot minute. Despite only officially releasing two songs (Colourblind and Blondes, both certified bangers), Peach has steadily built a community on TikTok that’s fast approaching seven figures in size. Vocal about her own experiences with mental health, toxic relationships and SW, Peach has cultivated an online space that resonates, in part, for its authenticity and vulnerability. Aka, she’s a dote and we love her.
Her bubblegum aesthetics and hot pink brows, set against a backdrop of y2k CDs and soundtracked to lyrics that pack a punch, are the making of Gen Z’s next big thing. If you’re a fan of Charli XCX, 100gecs and Kim Petras, then trust us when we say that Peach is for you. With the promise of new music coming soon (receipts on IG 🤞), she’s a High Tea one to watch for 2021. 🐸☕️
📈 TikTok followers: 885K
📸 Instagram followers: 100K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 153K
🎶 Known for: Blondes [2.5M Spotify plays]
Okay, here’s one bop that lives in our mind RENT FREE. Don’t all good things these days come from TikTok trends? Yep, we thought so. Unlike the scam that is 5 Minute Crafts, here’s something that actually works; a productivity hack in the form of a hypnotic lullaby by up-and-comer Kinneret.
The track in question, No Wind Resistance!, started doing the rounds when several TikToks (claiming the mysterious powers of this song on a one hour loop) blew up. The song has featured in 201K+ TikToks, with its top video boasting more than 20 million views. There have been several NWR! compilations uploaded to YouTube, including a 10 hour loop with over 110K views. Are we…all okay? Still, whether this TikTok hex worked for you or nah, Kinneret has staying power that far outlives the shelf life of your 15 minutes on TikTok. Watch this space.
📈 TikTok followers: 136K
📸 Instagram followers: 10K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 1.6M
🎶 Known for: No Wind Resistance! [11.6M Spotify Plays]
8. Lizzy McAlpine
Oh Lizzy, where do we start? Your songwriting breaks out hearts over and over again and still, we come back for more. Lizzy (@lizzymcalpine) blew up on TikTok in June (only her 3rd ever post, not bad) after sharing a snippet of an original, which has since become known as “the 1975 song”. The caption reads “shoutout to my ex who ruined the 1975 for me…hope u see this and feel bad”. Well, considering the TikTok has 7.8M views, we’re almost certain that they have.
Despite Lizzy’s TikTok bio reading “i’m never releasing the 1975 song”, at least we have 'Give Me A Minute’ (her first full-length album, released in August), full of folk-pop lullabies to get us through the rest of this year. Listen to Pancakes For Dinner and get ready to feel *some things*.
📈 TikTok followers: 252K
📸 Instagram followers: 137K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 689K
🎶 Known for: Pancakes for Dinner [2M Spotify Plays]
9. Claire Rosinkranz
5, 6, 7, 8. Claire Rosinkranz (@clairerosinkranz) is in the it-takes-8-years-to-be-an-overnight-success camp after her song Backyard Boy went viral (2.8M videos, to be precise) without her even knowing. Now there’s a TikTok screenplay if we’ve ever heard one. Singing since the age of 8, Claire released the clip of her track at the beginning of June and had to be hounded by pals to check it out. Finally when she checked a month later, the track was at a cool 300K TikToks and counting. Wait…did we mention she’s only 16? Billie tings right here. Now she’s collaborating with Jeremy Zucker on a new version of Backyard Boy and has her own Snapchat filter for the unofficial covid anthem (we’re making this a thing, it’s a thing 💅) of the year.
📈 TikTok followers: 203.6K
📸 Instagram followers: 75.1K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 4.7M
🎶 Known for: Backyard Boy [42.6M Spotify Plays]
10. Curtis Roach
We wouldn’t be able to (almost) close out 2020 without an honorable mention for Curtis Roach (@curtisroach). Bored in the house (and im in the house bored), is one of those songs for the history books. Never has a bop encapsulated the mood of an entire generation at the start of quarantine as Curtis Roach. And you know who else thought so — Tyga. Yep the TikTok marketing maestro himself, who let’s not forget was the first artist to partner with popular creator Bella Poarch (m to the 🐝) before Biebs, quickly sunk his paws into a collab with Curtis at the start of March, acting as a well deserved co-sign and catapulting the track to 7.2M views on YouTube.
His latest feature on Top Down by Gabriel Duran is also a bit of a cheeky banger, if we do say so ourselves. Which is lucky…because we’re going to be bored in the house all winter, too.
📈 TikTok followers: 1.9M
📸 Instagram followers: 71K
🌎 Spotify monthly listeners: 952K
🎶 Known for: Bored In The House [35.4M Spotify Plays]
Okay you made it. Now you can get back to voting bc we only have 2 weeks left to change this shit.