Published on September 10th, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
EXCLUSIVE: Silento on his new single “Wild,” his classic “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” and what’s coming up
In early 2015, Silentó burst onto the scene with his debut single “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).” Within a week of posting on Silentó’s YouTube channel, “Watch Me” had over 2.5 million views, which was mind-blowing for an independent artist. All of the major labels were then interested in Silentó, then still a high school student, and he quickly inked a deal with Capitol Records. Ultimately, “Watch Me” would go on to be five times platinum in the U.S. alone, notch over 1.3 million views on YouTube and earn honors from the Soul Train Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, BET Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and the MTV VMAs.
“Wild” is the latest single from Silentó, as premiered by AwesomenessTV. To learn more about the past, present and future of Silentó, I spoke with the 19-year old songwriter and producer from Atlanta, who can be followed on Twitter via @TheRealSilento.
What do you wish more people knew about Silentó?
Silentó: I wish everyone knew that during the time “Watch Me” became a huge success that, I continued my education at Redan High School in pursuit of a high school diploma.
What made you want to get into the music world? Did a particular artist or recording inspire you?
Silentó: What had me interested about getting into the business was a simple fact that I had relatives who could sing and loved dancing daily. Also, just living in Atlanta where rap and the hip-hop atmosphere is huge had me so motivated to become a star, particularly a young star. Someone who the kids would love.
A particular artist did inspire me and that artist just so happens to be the “King Of Pop,” the late Michael Jackson. I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform at his back-to-school giveaway in Gary, Indiana. The highlight for me was my wardrobe room was the very same where he slept.
How did you know that you could release music independently? I read that you first used Tunecore to release music. Is that true?
Silentó: I learned that I could release music independently when I had an idea while in school. My classmates challenged me to make a realistic song. So I started to go to the studio for about six months or so and I begged my producer to let me record “Watch Me,” which no one believed in it. But I did rely on my faith. I went to school singing it everyday singing and dancing to it. Next, I uploaded it to Instagram and before knew it had 100 comments, then to 1,000 plays the first night, then onto 10,000 plays, the next day it was climbing. I refreshed my phone in class to check my progress in amazement.
I used a platform known to the music business as TuneCore to release my single in the beginning so that I could keep track of the song on a larger scale. Signing up through TuneCore actually worked out very well for me. I also made some other moves and partnered up with some different companies and that’s when all the dances videos came about.
When did you first notice “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” was a hit? Was it when you heard it on the radio? Or performed at a festival?
Silentó: Well, I knew “Watch Me” was a hit when I uploaded it to Soundcloud and the song received 1,000 plays, and at the time I didn’t even have 1,000 followers on any of my social media outlets. So this was a big indication that this was something big. I went home that night and prayed about it that night thanking God for blessing me.
I predicted that Streetz 94.5 was going to play my song first. Turned out I was right, they actually played it. I heard it for the first time in the car on my way to a charity event. Then I turned another station V103 and they was playing it as well. It was an unreal feeling inside to see my dreams unfolding.
Your latest single is “Wild.” Who did you work on that song with?
Silentó: On my latest song, which is titled “Wild,” I teamed up with producer Kid Classic of Icon Studios, Antoine Ollie, and Carlouse Welch, collectively working together to make ensure every sound and melody sounded right. So this time I was thinking it’s time to get “Wild,” they “watched me whip they watched me nae nae,” so I wanted my fans to get “Wild” together with me. So to all my fans, let’s get “Wild” right now.
Did you feel pressured to create another dance song? Or to match your prior successes with “Wild?”
Silentó: It wasn’t more so any pressure on creating another dance song. The pressure for me was I wanted to give my fans some new content. I felt like I was letting them down.
When will you be releasing your next full-length album?
Silentó: I will release my next full-length album next year in 2018. That’s when my new body of work will be ready.
Where do you usually do most of your writing? In the studio? At home? On the road?
Silentó: I do a lot of my writing a little bit of everywhere. If I have an idea, I just quickly write it down or in my iPhone. I write whenever a creative thought pops into my head.
Is there a professional accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Silentó: The most professional accomplishments I have received is being the 21st person on VEVO to eclipse over one billion views on YouTube, being the first debut artist to gain 100,000,000 streams in a month, and going Diamond, which means selling 15 million records worldwide.
When you’re not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Silentó: Since I was in high school I didn’t get to release any new music. So what I’ve been doing in my free time is going to the different hospitals, seeing the kids who don’t have the opportunity to attend a concert live, so I bring one to them instead. Helping out different charities and nonprofits organizations as a way of giving back to the community.
Finally, Silentó, any last words for the kids?
Silentó: To all my fans I just want to say that I love you guys for all your support. Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do, stay confident. I am teenager and nobody believed in my dream the way I did, and look how far I’ve gone so far. It was hard but I kept the faith in myself knowing that positive things would happen if I just kept going. As long as you believe you will achieve. And always keep God first because that’s who did it for me.