Tayler Holder has already conquered TikTok.
In a short amount of time, the social media star has become one of the top influencers on the app with nearly 20 million followers. The success of his content creation, coupled with his combined reach of more than 28 million across all his channels, has allowed the Texas native to make forays into the worlds of acting, with roles in a pair of Brat TV digital series, and modeling. And now he has his sights set on a music career.
Holder released his first original single, the sultry R&B slowburn "100 Rounds," in February, and quickly followed it up with May's equally steamy "I'll Be Alright." With his raspy, sensual vocals front and center in both, the material just might position Holder to follow in the footsteps of Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, two other music superstars who got their start on social media. The fans seem to agree, with "100 Rounds" already past the 1 million view mark on YouTube and "I'll Be Alright" not too far behind.
Before Holder's music career takes all the way off, E! News got him on the phone to talk all about his transition into this new arena. Check out our conversation below!
E! News: I'm wondering as you make this jump from being so well-known on TikTok into the music world, what is behind this transition? What led you to pursue this? Has it always been a dream of yours?
Tayler Holder: Yes. I mean, music has definitely always been a main focus to me. It's always been something that I've been wanting to do growing up my whole life, but I never really had the right resources and knowledge to do it myself as a kid growing up in Texas. Moving out to LA and getting more into social media and [the] internet industry, it had helped me branch out and meet different connections and producers and songwriters that helped [me] get more into the music industry and start making my own music.
E! News: So when you got on TikTok, was music always kind of the goal?
TH: Yeah, yeah. So I actually was doing music before I got on TikTok. TikTok just happened to take off tremendously and just blew up out of nowhere. And I just rode with that for a while. I was working on music behind the scenes and I would tease a little bit, that I'm going to drop some stuff. But, you know, I took a while [and] really, really figured out what music I want to make and my sound. [I'm] finally putting stuff out and I don't think there was any more perfect timing than now.
E! News: So what was it that made you realize that now was the right time to start releasing your material? Was there something that led you to believe, OK, now is the moment?
TH: Over the last year, year and a half, whenever I started popping, I was like, OK, I'm on the thing. I got it. I got to put it out now because I'm getting so much attention. Right? And I had an amazing team around me that was telling me, 'Just trust me, just trust the process. Let's put a good plan behind it, a good, good team behind it.' We got a really, really amazing team behind us and then a good release plan. Everything with the first song that was really released, and with my new song as well, it went so amazing, so smoothly and I'm so happy for it.
E! News: Were you always gravitating to an R&B sound when you began writing? Or was it something that you connected to recently?
TH: Growing up my whole life, R&B was my favorite genre that I listened to. It's definitely something that I just connected with really well, and I do a mix of, like, R&B and ballads. I like storytelling in the song and stuff like that, as you can see in the new track, 'I'll Be Alright.' And '100 Rounds' is more on that R& B side. Definitely R&B is something that I've connected with very, very well in the last few years. And that's definitely something I want to keep pursuing heavily.
E! News: You mentioned that we could possibly see you exploring more genres. So are you going to be looking to expand or can we expect to see R&B being your lane for now?
TH: Definitely R&B is going to be my lane for now. Who knows, I might do some random stuff down the road. You know, I'm a big Jesus guy and I actually wrote a worship song. I don't know if it's coming out to the public, but if it does, that'd be amazing.
E! News: So gospel music could be something that we could see you embracing in the future?
TH: It might be something fun I do. I might, you know, put it out there.
E! News: Who would be some of your idols? Who inspires you in the music industry?
TH: There's so many of them, but I would say, of course, Bieber and Shawn Mendes. The Weeknd and Bryson Tiller. Kehlani is very, very dope.
E! News: Unlike a lot of people who are starting a music career, you've already experienced a significant level of stardom. How has your social media stardom prepared you for a career in music?
TH: It's always evolving and always changing. You know, being in the public eye has made stuff very, very hard and also taught me a lot at the same time. You know, I'm still new in the music industry, so there's a lot that I have to learn, but I have a pretty good head on my shoulders and a lot of self-knowledge that I think is gonna take me very far.
E! News: You're releasing your music independent of any label. I wanted to know what was behind this decision.
TH: I thought that I could do it myself as well. I'm not completely opposed to a label. I'm just waiting on, if anything, the right deal. I'm a team person. I love anyone that wants to help me and I want everyone to win. I just haven't got that right deal yet. I'm just so doing stuff independent and I got a good, good team behind me, and we're just rolling with that for now.
E! News: What was the most surprising thing about recording in the studio for you?
TH: The studio is probably the place I go to, like, really let everything out. And if anything, it doesn't even seem like work to me...Whenever I finally have time to just sit alone with me or just [be] in the studio and [be] creative, I just really find myself and find stuff out that I don't think I knew about myself.
E! News: What has it been like for you seeing the fan reaction already coming in on the first two songs?
TH: It's been so amazing and way better than I ever would have thought. I was super, super nervous releasing music and stuff like that because, you know, I do have a very big passion for it and I want to be taken serious. And the most important thing to me is, you know, what if people hate it? And that took a long time for me, building up that confidence and stuff like that. I knew I made great music, but, of course, I wanted everyone to love it. [I] eventually [understood] that not everyone's going to love everything you do. And you just got to be true to yourself and put out what you want.
E! News: You mentioned that you wanted to be taken seriously. So what would you say to those out there who may be skeptical of an influencer transitioning into music?
TH: I don't know why it is, but I think TikTokers are looked down upon. I don't know why, but we're not taken seriously at all in the industry. Whether that may be acting or music or whatever. But, I don't know. I just want people to know that music is my passion. And that I worked very hard at it and it's something that I want to do for the rest of my life.
E! News: Is a full-length album something that is on your mind?
TH: An album is something that me and my team have talked about. It's not something that's going to come out anytime soon, maybe a project like an EP or something. But I'm not 100 percent on anything yet. Just going to keep pumping out singles and seeing how people connect and relate to them, and then we're going to go from there.
E! News: Who would be your dream collaboration and why?
TH: Oh my gosh, that one's a hard one. I'm not even gonna lie because I had so many dream collaborations, to be honest with you. Probably Drake or Bieber. I mean, I've listened to them my whole life and I think that I really, really respect their talent and what they've done with everything. I think that they've structured everything very, very well. And just like, honestly, just to get, um, information from them and just talk and have genuine conversations with them.
I have a few cool collabs coming up, but I can't really speak on it too much. They're in the works and hopefully you guys get to see those tunes.
"100 Rounds" and "I'll Be Alright" are available to stream now.