By Paul Hourican, Head of Music Operations UK for TikTok
Nathan Evans, the 26-year-old Scottish postie turned signed music artist with Polydor Records, has crowned an already incredible week by entering the the UK Official Singles Chart with the remix 'Wellerman' with 220Kid and Billen Ted.
We wanted to take this moment to congratulate Nathan on his incredible achievement, and to thank him for lifting our spirits these past weeks. We are all proud to have played a part in this remarkable journey and are excited to see where his creative talent will take him.
Nathan's story is an example of how a person's life can be completely transformed by the power of TikTok to empower young talented creators and unlock their potential. A humble video that someone makes in their home can suddenly be skyrocketed to global fame.
It's been fantastic to see how Nathan has been able to use TikTok to bring his voice and creative talent to millions of people around the world, inspiring a whole new generation to sing a #seashanty on TikTok and join in #ShantyTok.
Watching the creativity, the collaboration and how the TikTok duets feature has been used to such great effect, with harmony after harmony reaching some 3.4 billion views of Sea Shanty videos, has been nothing short of awe inspiring.
When we saw his cover of the "The Wellerman” starting to go viral (now at 9.8m views), we reached out to offer him our support and to help him through this whirlwind of new found fame and attention. Getting him verified, putting him in touch with our artist partnership team and working with his new management to help him on his musical journey.
His story is just the latest big example of how TikTok can power music discovery and convert views and creations into artistic success, be it legions of new fans, the resurrection of an old musical genre or chart success.
Last year, after trending on TikTok, over 10 songs took the top spot on the official UK charts and more than 70 artists globally signed major label deals.
It is not just Nathan who has seen success with the Sea Shanty trend. The four-man shanty band The Longest Johns (who's 2018 track of 'The Wellerman' is what Nathan based his cover on) entered the Official Top 40 at #33 last week, and created their own duets with Nathan too.
Even the traditional Sheringham Shantymen in Norfolk (formed in 1988) have given their seal of approval - saying this will "do nothing but good for our genre of music".
Now, in the latest twist in the Shanty story, four of the original collaborators on the viral duet chains - Jonny Stewart, Bobby Waters, Aaron Sloan, and Luke Taylor - have come together to make a charity single of “Wellerman” to raise money for the UK-based Marine Conservation Society. Dubbing themselves “The Wellermen,” they recruited another star of ShantyTok, Sam Pope, to sing the solo.
I am so proud that we played a part in Nathan's story and our other TikTok creators too. The world has fallen in love with sea shanties, and I can't wait to see what else 2021 brings for the music industry and for TikTok.
For Nathan and so many other artists, it starts on TikTok.