Guest Post by Emily Blake on Next Big Sound
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the charts lately, you may have noticed two names that are not like the others.
Alongside top-performing artists — like The Chainsmokers, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd — names like Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall stick out like a rainbow-colored wig. The teenaged duo from Detroit managed to hit №5 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Juju On That Beat,” the latest in a long lineage of viral dance songs stemming from predecessors like “Crank That” and “Chicken Noodle Soup.” But just because they’ve been around a while doesn’t make them any less effective: To date, “Juju On That Beat” has racked up over 28 million views on YouTube, and currently sits at #2 on the Pandora Top Spins Chart, too, seeing over 5 million weekly Spins.
While these songs and the artists behind them, can often peter out as soon as the next craze comes along — remember “Milly Rock”? — they can also, in some cases, lead to lasting success. Soulja Boy, for example, managed to launch his own clothing line, take on a couple of minor acting roles and sign a stable of artists to his Stacks On Deck Entertainment Group years after the release of “Crank That.”
But what’s the key to a successful viral dance challenge? To find out, we talked to Atlanta trio Taylor Girlz, who have not one but two songs out now that are getting kids everywhere to dance along: “Steal Her Man” and “Wedgie In My Bootie.”
And while a song called “Wedgie In My Bootie” may sound like a joke, Taylor Girlz are among the top-performing up-and-coming artists on Pandora. Composed of sisters Ti Taylor, Daysha Taylor and Tiny Taylor, the group debuted two weeks ago on the Pandora Trendsetters Chart, which tracks up-and-coming artists with the highest number of Artist Station Adds. And it’s a good place to be: Previous chart leaders include buzzy rapper Lil Yachty and rising Brooklyn MC Young M.A.
Both “Steal Her Man” and “Wedgie In My Bootie” were produced by Bolo Da Producer, the man behind last summer’s viral sensation “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).” “Steal Her Man,” which was released commercially on Nov. 4, has racked up over 20 million views on YouTube and peaked at №1 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. And “Wedgie,” which is set for a commercial release on Dec. 9, is climbing, with 2.6 million views on YouTube to date.
We talked to Taylor Girlz and Bolo Da Producer about the story behind “Steal Her Man,” and what it takes to launch a successful viral dance challenge.
Don’t invite your parents to the party
Ti Taylor says she and her sisters didn’t even plan on “Steal Her Man” becoming a dance challenge. As she puts it, “That’s what the kids made it.”
In an interview with Vulture earlier this year, Zay Hilfigerrr said he was surprised, too, when “Juju On That Beat” became the chart-topping craze it is today. “I made the song during summer 2014, but it wasn’t even a real song then,” he said. “I was just with my friends playing around, you know.”
Bolo says that it’s his role as the producer to preserve that feeling of happenstance and childlike integrity.
“The thing that I noticed about all of the successful ones, is that none of them sound like someone older wrote it,” he says. “It sounds like a kid came up with the idea and was 100% a part of the idea, excluding all the ‘old heads’ … I would have never thought to say the things they say. And the way they say it makes other kids want to move to it.”
And for Bolo, that means keeping the production to a minimum.
“I want to keep the sounds very young, and that means making them sound very edgy, with a layer of rawness to it,” Bolo says of his work on “Steal Her Man” and “Watch Me.” “A lot of kids’ ears are tuned to that more raw sound because a lot of the dance records that are coming out now are not mixed at all.”
Taylor Girlz have seen a steady increase in Instagram followers after launching the “Steal Her Man” Challenge.
Engage with your fans directly, and often
“Don’t listen to what people tell you about over saturating your social media,” Bolo says. “Show people that you really care about it and post as much content as possible.”
Taylor Girlz point to Instagram, Musical.ly and Triller as their favorite platforms to engage with fans. Over the past 30 days, they’ve averaged right around eight posts per day on Instagram. And it’s translated to increased engagement, too: Over the past 7 days, Taylor Girlz have averaged 3,887 likes per day.
This article original appeared on Forbes.com on Dec. 7.