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Why Trevor Daniel is catching Gen Z ears

Mixing trap-infused beats with emo sensibilities and R&B inflections, Trevor Daniel has every ingredient to make his success last well beyond TikTok.

So, we’re all stuck indoors for the foreseeable future thanks to this whole worldwide pandemic thing, and you might be wondering where to get your next fresh music fix from. Allow me to humbly suggest 25 year old American singer songwriter Trevor Daniel.

If you don’t know who Trevor Daniel is, you’ll probably at least know of his TikTok hit track ‘Falling’, which currently has over five hundred million plays on Spotify since it dropped in 2018. Its sudden explosion in popularity was seemingly out of nowhere, popping up all over TikTok and Instagram in the latter half of 2019.

Since then, Trevor has dropped two new projects, a six track EP titled Restless and his first full album, Nicotine. Both flex an impressive array of production skills, weaving between slick pop punk acoustics and trap drum beats with surprisingly refreshing results.

Think Lil Peep’s lyricism with Twenty One Pilots’ clean aesthetic and you’re not that far off. He boasts over thirty million monthly listeners at the time of writing and his latest album has already gotten hundreds of thousands of spins on Spotify. He’s a testament to Gen Z’s ability to pick and choose the next big thing without the need for a record label, and proves that careers really can take off thanks to TikTok.

His music bangs too, which always helps.

What’s allowed him to gain so many fans so quickly?

For one, his SoundCloud origins and underground buzz pre 2018 gives him the kind of credibility that his contemporaries – Juice WRLD, ROLE MODEL, and powfu, to name a few – all enjoyed during their rise to the top of Spotify’s playlist recommendations.

He’s also proved himself to have an eclectic palette of talent, producing and performing all of his own work from the ground up. His style leans on the best of multiple popular genres, pooling from emo trap aesthetics while remaining firmly within the R&B sphere. He’s designed for Gen Z ears, a generation who’re pushing a resurgence of emo and sad, introspective pop.

Nicotine is perhaps the best example of how successful this style can be. At ten tracks long it’s not a demanding listen, and you’ll gauge the vibe pretty much from the get go.

The album’s a concise collection of polished, calculated break up songs, the type you could probably blast when you’re a bit drunk and fed up. Expect plenty of heavy drums, smooth vocals over plucky guitars, and catchy hooks that beg to be remixed and danced to. There’s a lot of TikTok potential here and it’s entirely possible that we’ll see another Trevor track littered across our feeds in the coming months.

If you’re in need of some bangers to tide you over during this intense period of isolation, then give his track ‘Past Life’ a listen below. Anyone who’s into emo or pop punk will enjoy what’s on offer here.

Carving out a path for other Gen Z musicians

While Trevor obviously isn’t going to be the example everybody follows, his huge rise over the last two years should be enough to demonstrate how much of an influence social media – particularly TikTok – has on our charts and popular music.

Curtis Roach’s ‘Bored in the House’ is another such example of an artist finding new ears via viral memes and video content, and other Gen Z producers and artists should take note. Marketing yourself online, making your work available everywhere, and having an engaging aesthetic is everything. We’re all used to a sea of choice and instant access to any music we want – making your style clear and obvious should be a priority to help you stand out.

Trevor’s work ticks all these boxes. He’s marketed himself well, and has taken advantage of all the opportunities that online marketing has given him. Expect him to remain a well-known name for 2020 and beyond.