Music Updates

Tai Verdes Saw All This Coming: Viral Singer-Songwriter Talks ‘A-O-K’ Success & His 5-Year Plan

But while countless artists have found early success on TikTok to be unrepeatable, Verdes has already eclipsed his breakthrough hit with this year’s affirmative “A-O-K,” from debut album TV. The song has matched the viral performance of “Middle,” while also scoring radio airplay — it’s reached No. 21 on Billboard‘s Pop Songs listing — resulting in it becoming Verdes’ first Billboard Hot 100 hit, where it climbs to a new peak of No. 67 this week. It’s nothing that the self-assured, goal-oriented performer didn’t already have visualized, though: “I have a video on TikTok that says like, ‘I wanna get on Billboard by the end of the summer,'” Verdes recalls.

Below, Billboard talks with the newly minted hitmaker about his debuts both on the charts and onstage, and how he already has his career planned out until the mid-2020s.

How have you gotten ready for first live gig? Have you had rehearsals? Have you put together a band? Do you have any sort of vocal training? 

Man, you’re a good guesser! All three of those things.  Yo, I just wanted to make sure I was the worst person on stage [when I perform]. I wanted professionals around me, playing my songs in a way that brings them to life. You know? And once I got that done, all I gotta do is basically jump and scream so hard that I pass out, and we good. In the show. 

Any big surprises or planned moments for your own show tomorrow?

Mmm… I think I got some moments for everybody. I’m really just excited to see the physical representation of what I’ve been working on for this entire last year and a half. Because everything has been kind of imaginary. All these numbers — who really counts Spotify streams, right? But I do know that I can count the amount of people that have hit me up on Instagram or in any DM and said like, “Hey, ‘A-O-K’ has made a difference in my day,” or like, “This song has brought me out of this moment.” You know? So I just really appreciate that, and I wanna see it happen — like, the physical representation of that.

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