Naïka used to be intimidated by TikTok.
As a singer with a lifetime of musical experience, she was comfortable sharing her music with strangers — but somehow, the app felt different.
“Everyone was telling me to post on TikTok, but I was a little bit shy and reluctant because I feel like all the content I see on TikTok is so good,” she told In The Know.
“It’s crazy because basically, it changed my life,” she said.
It all started with a remix. On September 4, Naïka posted her version of “Don’t Rush,” a TikTok-famous song by the U.K.-based hip-hop duo Young T & Bugsey.
The track, released in late 2019, has gotten some A-list remixes over the last year — including one featuring DaBaby. So, Naïka figured she’d give her own version a try.
“If I had a verse in Don’t Rush,” the singer captioned her video.
The TikTok, which features Naïka singing her own half-English, half-French lyrics over the song, was an instant hit. The video practically went viral overnight, drawing nearly 7 million views and leaving Naïka very understandably freaked out.
“I posted it and I just woke up the next morning to a text from my manager that said, ‘Wake up! You went viral!’ And I was like, ‘There’s no way,’” she told In The Know.
“It’s just so interesting to have people listen now because I’ve been putting out music and [now] having people engaged and wanting to hear more is just surreal to me.”
Things only got more surreal when Young T and Bugsey, the song’s creators, messaged Naïka about making her remix official. The singer was so excited that she shared another TikTok thanking her fans — of course, that went viral too.
Naïka, who has Haitian and French roots but currently lives in Los Angeles, says she’s been “in love” with pop music since she was 6 or 7. She describes her style as “world pop” — a sound inspired by a childhood of moving around the world.
Her dad’s job brought their family to Africa, France and the South Pacific. When she was 16, she came back to the U.S. with plenty of styles to draw on.
She’s been working at music for a few years now, a process she describes as “very vulnerable.” For her, hearing from platinum record-making artists like Young T & Bugsey goes a long, long way.
“They messaged me and let me know that they really liked the verse and they were very, very supportive overall,” she explained.
That support went further than a few compliments. The duo released Naïka’s remix of “Don’t Rush” with a lyric video on September 28.
Naïka stressed how grateful she is for the entire experience, especially the millions of TikTok users who went deeper into her music. For those looking to listen to more, her debut EP, “Lost in Paradise, Pt. 1” is out now.
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If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on how the pandemic has changed our music listening habits.
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