Photo: Lydia Kenney
TikTok is the music industry’s new goldmine when it comes to discovering new music and artists. It is music democratization at its finest, a new era of A&R heralded by viral trends like no other. The video-sharing platform is providing an avenue for unsigned artists to gain recognition for all of the hard work they have invested in their craft without any of the gatekeeping. An artist who can attest to this is emo-rap sensation Arizona Zervas.
Zervas—also referred to as AZ—is Maryland-born and grew up with an ardent passion for music. When he was in high school, he first began releasing music that quickly took the internet by storm and landed him a well-respected spot in the underground music scene. From there, the rapper, singer, and songwriter began to release a plethora of new music, his 2016 debut single being “Don’t Hit My Line."
His impeccable flow and trap-adjacent beats gathered him a cult following and over a million streams per single. However, that cult following would soon turn into an avalanche following the release of "ROXANNE,” a soon-to-be veritable Tik Tok anthem.
ROXANNE OUT NOW ON ALL PLATFORMS!♬ ROXANNE - Arizona Zervas
To date, over 2.3 million TikToks have been created using “ROXANNE,” and the attention quickly hopped from TikTok to Spotify. The song eventually took the throne as the number one song on Spotify’s United States Top 50 chart and rose to the fourth spot on the Billboard US chart, making him the first unsigned artist to top the Spotify charts since 2017 and sparking a bidding war amongst major labels. Zervas would inevitably find a home at Columbia Records, making him the second viral signing by the label, preceded by the one and only Lil Nas X.
Zervas wears all of his candid emotions and desires on his sleeve, all of which appear in his instantaneously infectious music. The young artist embodies youth culture in every single one of his tracks, emphasizing everyday desires and tribulations, from romantic attachments to material possessions. Zervas’ music keeps the rotation going, the party jumping, and the introspection circling. In case the world didn’t know, AZ is up next.