Gen Z loves the work of Tiko, an electro-pop creator just breaking through the online mold.
Viral sensation Tiko keeps growing his roster – from YouTube to TikTok to the airwaves. The young personality returned recently with UPSIDE DOWN, a carefully curated record that tilts down tempo-wise and shifts his style, and now today is following that up with a holiday song for you all to embrace the season. “The Naughty List” is a fun tune that is less spacey and atmospheric and more classic than other releases, but caters to his young fans that are growing up with him like everything else he does. We chatted quickly Tiko, also known as his birth name Jayden Tiko, to talk about where he is at this point in his journey.
This album plays into a range of vocal abilities and stylings we haven’t quite heard from you yet. Why was now a good time, in your eyes, to debut your voice – the Jayden voice?
I’m going to start posting a lot more content as Jayden, and I thought, “Why not go ahead and start making songs in my real voice?” I’ve gotten countless requests for music in my real voice, and now it’s finally time I can share some!
Similarly, because we are so intrigued with your inflections and tone, how do you know whether a song is more suited for the higher-pitched, electronic-tinged voice or the stripped down, more natural voice? You balance out the two wonderfully on these 14 songs, so we’re curious.
I like to think about it from a listener’s perspective and what times feel right for the voices to switch. For example, on my song “FLY,” I didn’t shape the song as is typically done where an artist may be featured on a single verse; I wanted more of a duet between Tiko and Jayden going back and forth.
Being young and successful has always come with its pros and cons, but now to be young and successful and online is on another level. What keeps you grounded? And what keeps you inspired to do all that you’re doing?
Growing up in a small town, I’ve always been happy with what I’ve had. Now with my music and YouTube success, I have more freedom to do the things I love and can even continue doing it as a career. The main motivation for continuing to make content are my fans and knowing I’ll put a smile on even just one fan’s face is enough to make it all worth it.
UPSIDE DOWN feels a lot more open-minded, but a lot more intentional than your debut. Did you have more creative freedom? Were you listening to different music yourself? Tell us a bit about the writing and recording process that led to this release being what it is today.
The first few songs I made for the album were “TESSELLATION,” “Tongue Twisted,” and “Honey.” Then I went on several trips, explored the world, and my mind was opened up to all sorts of new ideas. It also helped listening to more music and hearing what’s going viral in the world today. I feel that I’ve had a lot of creative freedom with all my music however, UPSIDE DOWN was different because I was able to express myself in a way I haven’t been able to do previously through Tiko. Bringing myself into my content will hopefully help many of my fans connect with me as a person.
We think what people are gravitating towards on this record and with your music as a whole is how you seem to maintain a groove throughout. These songs are grounded in its groove – feeling acts as the base for each song, especially “Heartless” and “Honey.” It’s pop, rock, indie, electronic, and has a nostalgic sound for being so fresh. How would you define your vibe as an artist – as a true musician outside of the streaming, content creating world?
I try my best to make sure all my songs have unique styles and melodies. The vibe of my music is different for every song, but the overarching goal is to make the listener feel happy and good about themselves. I specifically write the melodies I do because they make people feel happier. Sometimes, I’ll rewrite entire songs just because my friends don’t think it’s enough.
What are you hoping your fans and follows, as well as music lovers and our readers alike, take away from this sophomore LP of yours?
I hope you all enjoy the music! Sit back, relax, and get lost listening to the new album! My other hope is for my listeners to see more of me as Jayden. I want to build out my Jayden brand and start posting a lot more content as well as making a lot more music as Jayden!
Going off of that question, is there one song – or maybe two – that you think wholly define where you are right now as an artist and as Tiko in the UPSIDE DOWN era? (We’re leaning towards “Right in Front of Me” or single release “FLICKER,” but there are quite a few to choose from!)
Yes! “Right in Front of Me” and “FLY” are some of my best. I love how those turned out and “FLY” is my personal favorite when it comes to the Jayden/Tiko duets! There’s a lot more that I think also defines me, but those two are some of the best.
Musically, or otherwise, what’s next for Jayden / Tiko?
Lots of videos with Jayden! And everyone can expect a lot of new music! I will be pushing my IRL channel as well as Jayden on the streaming platforms a lot more over the next few months. In the future, I plan to move to LA to create even more videos!
CHECK OUT TIKO’S LIFE BY FOLLOWING HIM ON INSTAGRAM! HIS NEW SINGLE, “THE NAUGHTY LIST,” IS OUT NOW!