Trevor Daniel on working with Selena Gomez and getting more personal in his future songs
In an unpredictable year that has seen the music industry take a big hit due to the pandemic, artistes have begun to rely on social media to continue interacting with fans and present new songs. However, there is one phenomenon that has picked up steam over the last couple of years, especially in 2020, ever since the world went into lockdown mode. Influenced by the popularity of the video-based social media platform TikTok, this trend sees song samples that are featured in the platform’s short-form videos becoming viral sensations in their own right. So much so that it is having a ripple effect on the popularity of their original composers, who are now finding these songs of theirs sharing space with traditional international superhits in global music charts.
Trevor Daniel happens to be one of the beneficiaries of this trend, who, after a relatively mundane couple of years since the launch of his debut EP Homesick (2018), has now struck gold in 2020 with the revitalised ascension of his song Falling into the hall of digital fame, thanks to TikTok. The track was released as the lead single of Homesick but garnered a lukewarm response back then. However, this year, after being used as an audio sample for a number of TikTok videos and becoming a viral sensation since then, it has not only received universal acclaim for its intense lyrics and unwavering vocals but also broken into the Billboard Hot 100, making it Trevor’s first entry into the hallowed list. Furthermore, it is now the 12th most-streamed song on Spotify in India for the last two months. This slow rush of fame for the song thus prompted him to include it in his latest album Nicotine, which was released in March this year by renowned record label Interscope Records.
Having grown up being influenced by artistes like Kanye West and Kid Cudi, the 25-year-old, who hails from Houston, says that he has always been interested in music, whether it be through listening to songs, going to shows or simply jamming with friends. “I like to go in and create melodies and write once I land on something I like. At present, my songwriting process is not too different from normal. But my future songs are going to be more personal than previous ones,” he elaborates, stating that he is continuing to expand the limits of his vocal capacities.
“I would say my musical style has evolved in the sense of learning the capabilities of my voice,” he points out while sharing one incident in the studio where Finneas O’Connell, Billie Eilish’s brother and primary collaborator, pushed Trevor to test his limits while recording Past Life. “I had a hard time hitting a note. Finneas pushed me to hit it, and when I finally managed it, it helped me realise how much more I can learn and experiment further with my style.”
This intent to try out new ideas seems to have helped him while making the music video for the duet version of Past Life with Selena Gomez. Featuring the two singing the song over a video call, this trap-infused pop track and its visuals perfectly sum up Trevor’s rise as a social media music icon. “Because of the pandemic, we wanted to find a creative way to give the fans a visual while keeping everyone’s safety in mind, and that is what led us to this format. The experience was definitely different, but I did enjoy the process that went behind making it.”
Fresh from the acclaim that he has got for the Selena collab, Trevor is not looking to slow down at all and is already working on another album. “During the lockdown, besides making music, I have been working out, and also building up my comic book collection,” he says, admitting that the first thing he would want to do once things get back to normal is start touring. “I love all my fans in India, and I cannot wait to perform there!” he adds, while expressing caution that festivals and live shows will be different once they are back in the reckoning. “I expect not to be able to jump in the crowd but I am staying optimistic and hoping that I am wrong in that!” he says.
Watch Falling and Past Life below: