Tai Verdes discusses the release of his smash chart-topping hit ‘A-OK’, the new collaborative version featuring 2kgoldn, and how he sees his music as as season-long TV show with his debut album.
Living in this big blue world / with my head up in outer space / I know I’ll be A-O, A-O-K!
It’s been quite the musical journey for Tai Verdes (real name Tyler Colon), the happy-go-lucky musician behind his massive hits such as ‘Stuck In The Middle’, ‘DRUGS’, and more recently, the chart-topping ‘A-OK’.
Today, the 25 year-old artist enjoys millions of streams and legions of fans thanks to his sucesss within TikTok.
Like any great artist, perseverance is key. Before the fame arrived, Tai tried his luck on singing competitions such as The Voice and American Idol.
Facing multiple rejections from such shows only pushed Tai further to keep trying new ventures in the entertainment industry. In 2017, he became a contestant on MTV’s Are You The One? reality show, winning a hefty $50,000.
It was this moment that helped Tai continue to pursue his dreams of music. Fast forward to 2020, COVID-19. The singer decided to focus on creating songs, one of which was ‘Stuck In The Middle’.
The playful song, which dealt with mixed messages made between two lovers and/or friends, was an instant hit through TikTok, earning over 77 million streams on Spotify to this day.
In May, Tai Verdes would produce his biggest hit so far. Simply titled ‘A-OK’, the track’s simple message of being happy no matter what life throws at you became such a vibe with fans. It’s instant earwormy lyrics proved to be an incredible mood booster, lifting people’s spirits up in an otherwise gloomy world.
With the release of his debut album, TV, Tai sings about his life in the past four years with each song representing an episode in season-long television show.
We caught up with the singer to have a chat on his ever-growing rise to superstardom.
AsiaLive365: Hey Tai! This is Nicky from AsiaLive365, how’s it going? Everything A-OK?
Tai Verdes: Everything is A-OK!
AL365: First off, I’d like to say that ‘A-OK’ is one of the most uplifting jams I’ve heard during this year. Its good vibes hook you in with its catchy lyrics, and is something that many people need to hear during this lockdown period. Did the COVID-19 situation help shape the making of the track in any way?
TV: Nope, I just made that to make me feel better. All my songs are made for that reason, it’s not really made for other people’s consumption.
AL365: You’ve just dropped a brand new version of ‘A-OK’ with rapper 24kgoldn. What was the decision behind creating another take of the track?
TV: Because the guy’s cool man. When you have cool and talented people around you, you put them on songs that you really like, and you make something cool. I’m not the biggest fan of remixes in general, but when you have someone that you’re actually always with that you want to collaborate with, why not?
AL365: How did you guys get into contact?
TV: Well, actually, he reached out to me on Instagram and asked me, ‘Bro, why you’re always in a mood!’ You know what I’m saying? We went to the studio and started producing stuff with him.
AL365: You’ve said you weren’t a fan of remixes but, apart from ‘A-OK’, you’ve made second versions of songs before including ‘Stuck in the Middle’ and ‘feeling this bad’. Do you always feel like you could do something more with your existing songs?
TV: No, I don’t think that. I think every song is perfect the way it is, but when you find someone that is a collaboration that you might fulfill something for you in some avenue, then why would really buy sell something for you in some Avenue then why not do it? Because you never want to leave any stone unturned, you could make something cool.
AL365: Now when it comes to your career, part of it has to do with TikTok. Songs such as ‘Stuck In The Middle’ and ‘DRUGS’ were going viral there. Tell us about the moment when you found out you’re becoming an Internet sensation.
TV: I didn’t really know that I was gonna become an Internet sensation. The word is kind of weird anyway (laughs). It was very slow, it was gradual. I was like clawing for every single like and comment because I was just making things that I like in the way that I wanted to make content.
Because of the song ‘Stuck in the Middle’, that’s what really kind of gave me the platform in general, as the guy with the song that you hear on top of TikTok. But TikTok really isn’t anything but the radio. People think that it’s different but it’s the same, and once they figured out, they realize that they need to be using it more.
AL365: The release of your debut album, TV, stands for your name. You’ve also mentioned before that the idea of the album is to sing about your life like it’s a TV show. A few years ago, you were also in a reality TV show. How did that experience play a part into kickstarting your music career?
TV: The whole thing shaped my music career. I just tried a lot of stuff that I was interested in, and then I got into the point where I realized that the process of making music was my favorite thing. The process of it, not the end product of what happened after that, but I really just like making music and writing songs. So the best part for me is putting the artistry on top of that as well. A reason why my album is called TV is because every single song on the album in chronological order are episodes in a season of TV. You see a diary of my life from the last four years such as dropping out of college, experimenting with some substances, and then meeting a girl, thinking you’re gonna have kids, only to end up breaking up. And the season finale is realizing that none of your problems are as big as the next day, as the sun coming up in the morning AKA being A-OK.
AL365: Cool, what would you say is your best episode in the album?
TV: Best episode? I’d say the whole thing. Do you think there’s a best episode of The Office? It’s just like this is a show that you watch. One of my favorites though is ‘i deserve 2 b alone’ because that’s the hardest one that I’ve worked on. I’ve worked on that for the longest. I deserve to be a long artist one that I worked on I worked on our own for the longest.
AL365: I would say an underrated track would be ‘fake prophet’. There’s a sense of honesty with your insecurities. I also thought ‘mama told me imma be’ is pretty raw and stripped-back compared to the rest of the tracks. It’s also pretty sweet that it’s about your mother. Like you said, the album is like a TV show.
TV: Yeah, exactly. Sometimes there’s an episode where they go to the beach or sometimes there’s an episode where it’s a different boss. I think that the best part about making the album for me was that people know that I’m writing from my perspective, but they also know that I’m not liable to say the same in every one of my songs, they all sound a little different.
AL365: In the past, you were on a constant journey to make it into music. What advice would you give for people who don’t know how or where to start?
TV: I’d say use YouTube, dummy! That’s what I would say. Everything that you need to know is on the Internet, and anyone who has an excuse for not getting into something artist-related is just not trying hard enough to look for the information. Because the other people that are doing it, make content to help you know what to do. So if you like somebody’s work, you can probably find a way of how they’ve made something in an article or a YouTube video. You can really find anything that you like.
AL365: Great, what’s the next episode and/or season? What’s in the pipeline?
TV: Man, I got the next three albums planned out. I got the album cover colors, I got the titles picked out, I know exactly what’s gonna happen. People are gonna realize that I’ve a problem (laughs).
AL365: The show must go on!
TV: The show must go on!
AL365: You just finished up a show, did you?
TV: Yeah, I just finished up a show. I’m touring with Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler.
AL365: How does it feel to perform in front of a live audience?
TV: You know what, I’m too old to be shy. I’m 25, and as performer, I don’t have three years to get better at this. So when I go on stage, I tell myself to just have fun. People will have fun watching you have fun. That’s why when I went to Lollapalooza and performed in front of over 35,000 people, I wasn’t nervous because if I have fun they would have fun with me.
AL365: What would you have done if your music didn’t take off?
TV: I’d still make it because I love it. There’s a reason why I’m here, I made a couple of songs that people really like.