A TikTok Trend Made A 22-Year-Old, Arlington-Raised Indie-Pop Musician’s 2019 Song “Loverboy” The Most Viral Song On Social Media. How’s He Handling It?
Aaron Paredes didn’t expect to be in this position right now.
He’s been wholly committed to turning his passion for music into a lifelong career in the industry these last few years, sure. Under his A-Wall moniker, the 22-year-old Texas native — born in El Paso and raised in Arlington, where he attended Seguin High School — has been steadily making moves in that direction by continuously shaping his own brand of alluring indie pop and honing his craft alongside an encouraging network of likeminded peers he was able to find within the flourishing North Texas music scene. Mostly, though, his main focus of late has been to soak up game and keep working hard toward growing as an artist.
“Since high school, I’ve just been putting out music, and exploring more and more of the Dallas scene,” A-Wall says this week when reached by phone. “I’m out there, like, every day — just going to shows and stuff.”
What he never foresaw, though, was having a song he released a few years back — one he’s extremely proud of, granted — seemingly blow up overnight. Not at this point in his young career, anyway. And certainly not in this way, through a platform he historically hasn’t paid much mind.
But that’s just the surprising and welcome reality he currently finds himself in.
Over the last few weeks, if you’ve logged onto the social media platform TikTok — like, at all — then you’ve almost certainly heard his 2019-released song “Loverboy” all over your For You Page. The song has been unavoidable in that setting for a month or so at this point, having been serendipitously linked to a popular trend in which users upload wholesome clips celebrating the things that having them feeling happy in any given moment.
A-Wall isn’t exactly sure how his song came to be synonymous with the trend. He knows the first part of the audio it uses — the “Yo, bro! Who got you smiling like that?!?!” bit — came from another sound that was making rounds on the app for a while. “Loverboy” was separately starting to gain a little traction on the app around the same time. But then someone combined the two sounds into one.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Or at least modern virality.
The explosive rise of “Loverboy” is the latest — and perhaps greatest — example of a Dallas musician earning widespread attention through TikTok’s popularity. After the trend that uses his audio became a certified smash on that app, A-Wall has watched on in awe as his track has gained additional traction elsewhere as well. Just this week, “Loverboy” surged past the 23.5 million stream mark on Spotify, and gained additional placements in editorial playlists all across that streaming giant’s platform — including, at one point last week, the No. 1 overall slot on its Viral 50 playlist that tracks songs that are blowing up across social media.
With all that going on, we figured we’d reach out to A-Wall to get a sense out of how he’s handling all that he and his song are experiencing at the moment — and how he hopes to harness all this attention in the weeks and months to come.
Here’s what he had to say.
So, I’d be remiss if my first question wasn’t, “Yo, bro, who got you smiling like that?!?!” How are you doing these days? Your song has obviously fully blown up on TikTok at this point. But how are you dealing with that? How’s that going? How did it even start?
[Laughs.] It’s crazy! Like, I always get that question of like, “Oh, how does it feel?” And it really doesn’t feel real to me right now — because it’s just exploding more and more every day, and every minute almost. I guess someone had made an edit of the original TikTok where there was that sample of someone saying “Yo, bro, who got you smiling like that?” and they merged it with the “Loverboy” song. And that just caught on like wildfire and became its own trend on TikTok. The song itself is doing OK on TikTok by itself at that point and had its own sound, but when when that person did that… like, that’s what really blew it up.
So the song was already making the rounds on TikTok and then someone just randomly combined them?
That’s amazing! What’s the timeline on that? When did all that happen?
Like, a few weeks ago? Probably like two weeks ago is when it all started, like, going super crazy.
I saw you post on TikTok yourself that you try to watch all of the videos that use that sound. That’s got to be an impossible task at this point, right? How many videos are there using it now?
Man. The last time I checked, it was past 100,000 TikToks using that song, specifically.
And that’s not even the views of each one, right? That’s 100,000 individual videos?
Yeah, 100,000 different videos using that — and I’m sure it’s way more now. I just haven’t gotten a chance to look at that numbers this week.
@lordawalltvTHANK Y’ALL FOR GETTING MY SONG “LOVERBOY” TRENDING ON TIKTOK <3 ##Smiling ##Loverboy ##KillTheLights ##fypシ♬ original sound – Yo
That’s wild — but also kind of like the goal, right? TikTok has turned into this great music discovery platform. And it seems to have worked out that way for “Loverboy,” which has since earned various Spotify playlist placements and been ranked No. 1 on that streaming service’s own viral chart. Did the TikTok buzz immediately start translating to plays elsewhere? How did that work?
So, “Loverboy” definitely had never been playlisted seriously on Spotify or anything like that whenever it was initially released. But now, as people have gone back to listen to this song or whatever they’re doing right now, Spotify has definitely been like noticing. They’ve been placing it in a whole bunch of their editorials right now. Now, I think it’s in, like, 15 different editorial playlists?
I can’t even imagine what it must’ve been like to see your song listed at No. 1 on their Viral 50 chart.
It was so crazy! I did not think it would get there — but somehow it did! And I was like, “Holy shit!”
When did that happen?
Reaching No. 1? That was, like, last Monday or something.
And, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re just an independent artist from Arlington, Texas. So that’s got to be a wild thing to even see.
Yeah, it’s insane, like. I don’t know how to process it.
The song came out in 2019, right? I know you’ve put out some new stuff since then. So what’s that sensation like? I imagine you — in some ways, at least promotionally — had maybe moved on from it to some degree. Is that fair to say?
Yeah. I mean, it’s been my top song for a while now. When I first put out that song, I knew that it was going to be the lead single for that album at that time. But I just hadn’t yet met all these people, these great people, in the Dallas scene that could help me make these visions that I have come to life. Now that I have, it’s kind of like a nostalgic feeling going back to it and, like, leaning a little bit into this so we can capitalize off of the success of the song. So we’re working on its music video, and it’s like, “Wow, this is everything that I wanted to do during this time!” But now that I’ve met these videographers — people from Chroma, like Marvin and Andres, who has been working crazy on some of the visuals for it, and then even just Jon, my manager — it’s just been great meeting these great people that can take visions that I had and bring them to life now.
I’ve seen you linking up with people like Chroma and just, like, that whole set — people like Luna Luna, Pretty Boy Aaron, BRUHNICE and that whole scene — over the last year or so. It must be cool and reassuring in a lot of ways to know that you’ve established these relationships before “Loverboy” even started to blow up in the last couple of weeks — because you know it’s all legit. They’re not just coming around because of the virality of the song of anything.
Oh, yeah. Those guys are my homies for life. The collab album I made with Chroma really, really changed my perspective on music and marketing. Those guys are crazy when it comes to all that. I’m going to continue working with them even after all this, for sure. And then Pretty Boy Aaron, I met him early on. I met Luna Luna early on, too. They’re all just super great, super talented people.
It seems like there’s a whole set of artists here in North Texas that have TikTok as is part of their growth model. I don’t know if you can ever hope for the success, though, that you’ve had with “Loverboy” these last couple of weeks, which is incredible. Is TikTok always something that you were looking at as a potential way to get your music out there?
No, actually! Not really. I kind of ignored TikTok up until this whole thing. But now that I’ve had these conversations about it and stuff… you can’t ignore it. It’s a beast of its own, In today’s day and age, where songs are Grammy-nominated from just blowing up on TikTok, you definitely have to lean into it and find your way to make it something that you enjoy — and not just like you’re doing it because you have to do it.
How do you try to spin this into into more? What are you working on now? I imagine there’s got to be such an impetus to try to strike while the proverbial iron as hot. Is that something you feel pressure on?
So, before all the season happened, I I was working on this album that I’m getting ready to release called Autopilot, and whenever like this started taking off, we were just like, “OK, let’s delay it a little bit and lean on this ‘Loverboy’ stuff and maybe find a way to tie it all into Autopilot.” The hope is that people who are finding my music now can see that I have new stuff coming up. So, that’s basically what we’re doing with this music video that I have coming out for “Loverboy.” At the end of it, I’ll be teasing this new song, which is super exciting — especially for the fans that had been waiting and have been here before all this. They know. I’ve been that new album for the past couple of months.
What kind of time-frame are you looking at for the video?
The video should be done here in a week or two, actually. We went all hands on deck to crank this out while this moment is still climbing and reaching its peak. We’re at this point where we just need to get people to realize who I am and what I look like, and trying to get them to follow me on social media as well, besides just listening to the song. So I think that the music video is going to help big time with that and help connect my face to the song. That’s that’s our main goal with this music video — and then, at the end of it, to serve the fans have been waiting for the new stuff to give them a sneak peek of the new stuff.
@lordawalltvReply to @billydagoatxx STILL? BRUH THIS IS SO INSANE! THANK Y’ALL! ##loverboy ##fypシ ##foryoupage ##trendingsong ##viral ##indie ##alt ##spotifyplaylist ##fyp♬ Loverboy – A-Wall
“Loverboy” is obviously popping off like crazy on TikTok and Spotify, but have you noticed if it’s affecting all of your other songs, too? Is a rising tide lifting all ships?
Yeah, basically! I jumped from around 500,000 monthly listeners to now around two million monthly listeners. “Loverboy” is about to hit 22 million plays. The song that I’m watching right now to pop off too is “Whatcha Say” with Chroma that we’ve made last year. It’s doing way better than “Loverboy” did in its initial lifespan, and I can’t wait for that to pop off. I would just be so excited and so happy to see a song that me and Chroma worked on pop like that, especially for Chroma, where it’d blow up for them too.
It sounds like you’re really appreciative of this moment and not taking it for granted.
Yeah. I’m so thankful for all this. I did not expect for any of this to happen, and it’s just amazing to see all the reactions to the song, all the edits to the song and all the people messaging me from across the world about it. It’s just a really great feeling. But I think I’m also ready to show people what else I can do.
Cover photo by Marvin Martinez.