In 'rEaL WOrLD', Tai Verdes says: "I will never ever, fucking ever, give up. Ever." And he wasn't kidding.
A year after releasing his conceptual debut album 'TV', Verdes has returned to announce his sophomore album, 'HDTV', due for release later this year. If his TikTok teasers are anything to go by, 'HDTV' promises to be a continuation of ‘TV’s ebullient pop sound.
It was this infectious style that originally launched Verdes' star in 2020 when his debut single 'Stuck In The Middle' began trending on TikTok. Now, two years on, the track has amassed more than 120 million streams and remains a firm favourite of TikTok users, amongst a plethora of Verdes' other singles. This includes the upbeat 'A-OK', the fifth single from 'TV' and quintessentially uplifting pop.
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Verdes explains that although this sunny sound came naturally to him, many wrongly assume the remainder of his discography is as happy: "I'm a positive person, I do have very positive thinking. I'm not the happiest person, though. I'm not the Black Dr Phil. I'm just making stuff that I enjoy, because happiness is an emotion and positivity is a choice." Remaining positive is made easier by the fact that Verdes truly loves thriving as a creative - "The best part about this is I just get to make shit, and I love it."
Speaking about his rise to fame, Verdes acknowledges the importance of the social media platform for his career. New to TikTok and three months deep into the COVID-19 pandemic, he began an offhand promotional strategy which quickly became a catalyst for success. "I didn't realise what TikTok was really until I started using it heavily. It's changed the shape of music in an interesting way."
Yet Verdes is unsurprised by this triumph. Omitting a spirited air of self-assurance, he chuckles looking back on his labour: "I'd love to see people who put in as much time as me." Wholeheartedly believing in himself, the singer-songwriter made the effort and was soon able to reap the rewards. Now he's more than willing to share frank advice for those starting out. "You think that you can just be the Beatles? You think you could just be Doja Cat? No! A lot of people are making excuses, like, stop making excuses and just make cool shit, dog."
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And make "cool shit" he has, including most recently '3 Outfits'. Evidenced by his carefree attitude and smooth bassline, Verdes' latest single is cheeky and funky - a welcome tease to tide over his eager audience until the release of 'HDTV'. The second album of his self-proclaimed "quadrilogy", Verdes speaks solemnly on his projects having ruminated considerably over each aspect of his artistry.
'HDTV' is further introspection for an artist that adores the conceptual. "'HDTV' is red to represent love, and it's a high definition look into the two types of relationships: the ones that are fleeting and more physical and then the ones that are made to last. It follows my experience, and how I've gone through that, and how I feel when I'm in those situations." This meticulous approach is translated into a polished production style reminiscent of the buoyancy of Aminé and the charming spirit of Khalid.
For Verdes, one's musical persona is a business - "being an artist is making the decisions as a CEO all the time" - but the California native maintains he measures the success of his artistic ventures purely by his own achievements. "I know numbers is a part of success and allows you to have greater opportunity and whatever. But the success of being able to say that you put out the songs or you got these music videos out, that's my success."
Verdes plans to continue defining his own success, and promises to stick around for a while. "The dream is 10 years. The dream is five albums. The dream is 10 albums. I don't know how big it's gonna get. But I think the dream is just to make a lot of shit."
Tai Verdes is playing the long game, and we’re looking forward to seeing him score again.
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Words: Gem Stokes
Photo Credit: Austin Cieszko
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