At this time last year, Tai Verdes was working at a Verizon store in Los Angeles. Now, he’s one of the most popular musicians on Spotify and just sold out his first tour.
“With quarantine, everything was shut down,” the 25-year-old said. “Music was one of the only things that I could continue working on.”
After seven unsuccessful tryouts for competitions such as “American Idol” and “The Voice,” Verdes continued to practice singing in his car for an hour and a half each day. After six months of the daily ritual, he got his big break when he posted “Stuck in the Middle” on TikTok last August.
The video, which showed him singing along to his soon-to-be hit in his car with the caption “if this gets 1000 likes I’ll put this song out,” went viral, helping Verdes accumulate some 1.7 million followers on the platform. The track has since been streamed more than 67 million times on Spotify, where he now has over 6.5 million monthly listeners, and Verdes has been signed to Arista Records.
“The only reason I’m doing the thing that I’m doing is because I think life is too long, and everyone’s trying to trick you that life is short,” the 25-year-old said. “But life is long, and that can get depressing if you’re doing things that you don’t like every single day.”
Born Tyler Colon, Verdes grew up playing the piano, guitar, and ukulele in Southern California. He went on to Babson College, where he was on the basketball team and had NBA aspirations, but eventually dropped out to pursue his music dreams.
“Stuck in the Middle” was inspired by being in relationship limbo with a girl he was seeing, and it struck a chord with fans.
“There’s a saying where it’s like, ‘The more vulnerable you get, the more you realize that everybody is the same,’ so I think that’s what’s really connecting,” he said. “When I talk about something so specific that happened literally just to me and then I get hundreds of DMs that the same thing happened to other people, it really makes you realize how human everybody is.”
His second release in October 2020, “Drugs,” and, his track, “A-O-K” are amongst his most played songs on Spotify with 39 million and 30 million streams, respectively. His songs have been featured on top hits playlists on Spotify, TikTok’s top emerging artists list, and his tunes have even made their way onto the radio.
Later this summer, Verdes will open for Chelsea Cutler and Quinn XCII on tour, before striking out on his own with the Tai Verdes tour in November. He’ll play Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on Nov. 18 and the Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side on the 19th, but good luck scoring tickets. The tour sold out in just one day.
Aside from preparing to go on the road, Verdes is also planning out his upcoming albums.
He already has names and cover colors in mind for his next three records, and wants to “create his own world,” like Billie Eilish or Tyler, the Creator.
“I just want my vision that I had since a year and a half ago to come true,” he said.