Photo: Amy Le
Viral success works in mysterious ways. As of late, it has taken form in the shape of wildly popular micro video sharing platform TikTok. And it seems Tai Verdes has cracked the code. Verdes works at Verizon, but now, instead of helping pick up dropped calls, he's also dropping catchy tunes and picking up calls from record labels.
On June 24, Verdes teased his indie pop tune, "Stuck in the Middle" on TikTok, announcing that he would release the full song if his post reached a thousand likes. On June 1, he dropped it, and it went viral. Four weeks later, the song hit #1 on the Spotify U.S. Viral Charts. Cue just over two months later and the song now has over 2.7 million streams on Spotify alone.
If this gets 1000 likes I'll put this song out.♬ original sound - tylerverdes
Verdes did not strike the tipping point the way you might think. "Stuck in the Middle" did not explode because it was linked to a popular dance or trend. It exploded because people enjoy the song. Verdes says this is part of how he defines success. As he told Must See T.V., success to him means "being able to press play on my Tai Verdes page and enjoying every single song."
Verdes discovered the instrumental for "Stuck in the Middle" scouring through YouTube in the late hours of the night. The song starts with an infectious bass hook as the four on the floor drums queue the entrance of the verse. Verdes then begins to tell a story of being stuck somewhere between lovers and friends, verbatim recounting "things girls have said to me," as he told Rolling Stone. Playfully narrating the experience of being in the in between stage and pairing his narration with an undeniably catchy melody, Verdes created a song with which people can both bob their heads and resonate.
Verdes continued vlogging his journey via TikTok, explaining cover art concepts, making a fan-contributed lyric video, and even revealing plans for an upcoming music video. In the past, Verdes has been a part of multiple singing shows, such as American Idol and The Voice; however, now with over 150k followers on TikTok, and active fans, Verdes is carving his own path to the stage.
When asked why he makes music, Verdes referenced The Rocker, a film that made him realize the best feeling in the world is being able to blast your own song in the car and genuinely enjoy jamming to it down the highway. His pursuit of music reflects the dream of landing on an endless highway where that feeling is eternal.
Though viral success is often mysterious, Tai Verdes' encounter with it seems quite clear. Through the release of "Stuck in the Middle," he is one step closer to the top.
Listen to "Stuck in the Middle" below: